😛 Welcome to THEJNSREPORT’S: The Irony of Inequity: Food Stamps
We’ll begin with an observation I found quite alarming the other day while visiting the Bronx. It’s not to say that I didn’t notice this before but just that it really took me aback the other day while shopping for a loaf of bread.
I briefly perused the bread aisle at a local FoodTown Supermarket looking for whole wheat bread. After reading several brands ingredient labels I settled on two whole wheat loaves I assumed wrongly were $2.99 each.
Boy was I in for a rude awakening when the cashier casually swiped the bread across the scanner and quoted me over $10 & change for the two loaves. I gagged momentarily and said uh…HELL NO!!!
When did a loaf of bread become so damn expensive? In any case I refuse to pay so much just for bread. I put both loaves back and got another brand that was $2.99.
This experience got me to talking with family and friends about the unreasonably high prices of not just bread, but of every day basic food staples in poorer communities versus that of “middle class” to affluent neighborhoods. It’s ironic that where the standard of living is poorest the cost of feeding a family or oneself is higher than those who can actually afford to pay a little more.
My theory is there are a couple of factors at work in this. For the purpose of this post I’ll focus on the first and probably the most obvious factor…Food Stamps. Much like subsidies for apartments i.e section 8, Food Stamps have encouraged Supermarkets and Grocers to jack up the price of food because the mentality is…”The government is paying for it so let’s get that coin”.
The problem with that is for those of us who aren’t on Food Stamps we are left to fend for ourselves against these artificially high prices that wouldn’t be in existence (barring inflation) if not for greed.
In middle class to affluent neighborhoods around the city I’ve seen the cost much lower for the same food items than in poorer communities. A perfect example is Trader Joes. Healthy, higher quality foods are half the price of the junk and comparable items in local supermarket chains like FoodTown, Pathmark, or KeyFood etc. Even the unhealthy food items are more expensive in poor communities.
Why do we accept this state of affairs and how can we change it? I’m starting to read up on the origins of the Food Stamp Program to get a better understanding of why things are the way they are today. I encourage you to do the same.