The Daily Gamecock

Healthy eating not feasible for food stamp users

Gov. Haley’s solution ignorant, simplistic


Gov. Nikki Haley can talk the talk, but in an effort to curb obesity in South Carolina by prohibiting the purchase of “junk food” with food stamps, she has legs too shaky to walk the walk.

State Rep. Bakari Sellers asked Haley and the head of the State Department of Social Services to attempt to eat healthy on the $35 per week currently provided to those qualifying for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a federal food stamp program used in South Carolina. Sellers points out, “Struggling South Carolinians aren’t eating unhealthy because they want to,” but rather the increased expenses of a healthy diet are out of the poor’s reach.

Sellers’ point is valid. A bottle of juice costs roughly four times the price of soda. A single tomato in the grocery store is the same price as a frozen pizza. Haley’s proposal is another example of treating the symptom and ignoring the disease. Healthy alternatives are too much for the price-sensitive.

Instead of acknowledging this or even proving it wrong by taking Sellers up on his challenge, Haley’s press secretary issued a statement saying Sellers was missing an opportunity to fight obesity with Haley. On the contrary, Sellers has proposed a more effective plan to reduce obesity: legislation banning high-sugar and high-fat foods from school lunches and vending machines.

Whether our officials will turn the issue into the familiar partisan bickering is still to be seen. But no matter which way the debate swings, we’ve got another governmental figure doing unto others what she won’t do unto herself.