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Government Provolone

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Conservatives seemingly never run out of ideas for trying to deprive and humiliate poor people. (Thank you to Scott S. for the link!) Check out this list of dairy items poor Wisconsinites may or may not be able to buy:

  • No fresh Mozzarella for the plebes.
  • No sharp cheddar, either. Everybody knows one taste of sharp cheddar leads to revolution.
  • I didn’t know American cheese came not individually wrapped. No fancy fake cheese, huh? SUCK IT, POORS!
  • No crumbles. So that means no great convenience ingredients like crumbled Feta or Bleu. I’m starting to get the impression that Wisconsin lawmakers simply don’t want poor people to put anything tasty in their mouths.

I’m just genuinely baffled by this list. I mean, it really looks as though these guys went out of their way to be cruel to poor people.

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  • Cn. Naevius

    Surely disallowing kosher cheese would be ruled unconstitutional? (Though I don’t actually understand what “unless printed on check” means, so maybe that makes a difference.) Obviously the whole thing is morally repellent, but that part seems both pointless and impossible to enforce.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      “Unless printed on check” presumably means that, unless you’re registered as keeping Kosher, you can’t get Kosher cheese.

      • Nick

        As long as you show up at the store wearing your state-issued yellow Star of David armband, I’m sure you won’t have any hassles.

        • Halloween Jack

          Say what you will about national socialism, at least it’s an ethos reliable voting bloc.

          • Linnaeus

            No, the real fascism is having to assist poor people at all.

            • AlanInSF

              The best part of the regulations (feature, not bug!) is that it will make everyone else in the store really mad at the poor people as the checkout line comes to a halt for Cheese Check.

      • Johnny Sack

        You have to register as Jewish…seriously? I bet you some of these Republicans also think that Obama is a Nazi. These people are tone deaf to irony.

        I mean, I could understand registering as keeping kosher if your food is being prepared for you (like say for a prisoner) that makes perfect sense. But this…

        • Hogan

          I wonder if they require proof of circumcision.

          • cpinva

            “I wonder if they require proof of circumcision.”

            I would happily register as a jew, perform the required “proof” of circumcision, with one caveat: I will do it while standing on top of the cash register. oh, I also must insist that ONLY female cashiers are required to do a close-up inspection. I think that’s very reasonable of me.

            “These people are tone deaf to irony.”

            I don’t think “irony” is what you’re going for here, more like multiple cognitive dissonance. these are the same people convinced that Obama is an inept, Kenyan born, anti-colonialist *(i’ll get to that in a moment) who is, at the very same time, a ruthless tyrant, out to get their guns and put them all into FEMA concentration/re-education camps.

            they get so many different messages from beck, jones, Limbaugh, FOX, et al, their heads do a daily Linda Blair.

            *I am always confused by this accusation. the nation’s founding fathers were, technically speaking, “anti-colonialists”. I’m never quite sure if this is a good or bad thing.

  • Not allowed: reduced sodium, reduced cholesterol, lactose-free.

    Scumbags.

    • McAllen

      The no lactose-free is really something. I guess the lactose intolerant poors get to deal with the runs.

      • DrDick

        Suffering builds character and everybody knows that a lack of character is what causes poverty!

        • sparks

          I can imagine someone getting fired from their job because they can’t afford to be lactose-free all month and end up in the bathroom too often shows a distinct lack of character.

          Shit in your britches, losers.

    • Bitter Scribe

      But reduced-fat is OK, because they saw a really fat person using food stamps in the grocery store last week.

      They are the bags that scum uses for its scum.

      • Johnny Sack

        Even scum itself wouldn’t subject its scum to Republicans.

      • cpinva

        “I didn’t know American cheese came not individually wrapped.”

        shhhhhhhhhhhhhh! don’t tell anyone, but they actually (and, no doubt, accidentally.) did something positive here. individually wrapped “cheese” slices aren’t real cheese. if you read the fine print on the package, you discover that what you’re eating is a “cheese food product”. “What the hell is that?” you ask. good question. it turns out that a “cheese food product” has to have something like 30% or so real cheese in it, god only knows what the other 70% is. I always have a difficult time distinguishing the “cheese” from the wrap. for all I know, there is no difference between the two.

        • efgoldman

          I always have a difficult time distinguishing the “cheese” from the wrap.

          The wrap doesn’t get runny in an omelet.

  • elm

    I wonder how much of this is governed by what is typically produced in Wisconsin and what is made elsewhere. Perhaps Swiss cheese and sharp cheddar tend to be Vermont products while Mild cheddar, provolone, and jack cheeses are from Wisconsin.

    If so, then rather than ysimply being pointlessly cruel, it is instead cruel in order to subsidize the Wisonsin dairy industry. Modestly more justifiable, I suppose, though we shouldn’t be propping up industry on the backs of the poor.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      kinda looks to me as if they have two goals: 1) is the usual punish the poor folks and 2) is stick it to the “hippies” growing the organic food (they can somewhat defend that as the organic food is a bit more expensive). i have to laugh at the latter, because a couple of the more committed organic farmers in my area are also pretty committed republicans

      the kosher thing is just bizarre though

      • Warren Terra

        the kosher thing is just bizarre though

        I eagerly look forward to some wingnut realizing the program bans Kosher cheese (except by special arrangement) but has no similar restriction on Halal cheese.

        • Johnny Sack

          Don’t give them any ideas

          • burnspbesq

            I imagine you can get all the kosher cheese you want, as long as it’s wrapped in bacon. ANYTHING wrapped in bacon is Real Amurikan Food.

      • DrDick

        This contrasts significantly from the situation here. SNAP is accepted at our farmers markets which are all fresh and local, much of it organic (even meat and cheese). Both markets here just started a new program that gives SNAP users a 2 for 1 deal.

    • SiggMKE

      We’ve got sharp cheddar, if it’s cheese, we’ve got it. More that they’re just being tools.

    • Bitter Scribe

      If you have milk, rennet and the right kinds of flavorings and seasonings, you can make any kind of cheese you want.

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        Is “brick cheese” made from real bricks?

        • efgoldman

          Is “brick cheese” made from real bricks?

          No, but Swiss cheese is made from ground up Swiss.

          • And blue cheese is made form ground-up smurfs.

            • ThrottleJockey

              And Muenster is made from ground up vampires.

              • efgoldman

                And Muenster is made from ground up vampires.

                There used to be a guy named Jack Colby that lived on my street. I wonder what happened to him?

            • tsam

              Johnson and Johnson puts “NO MORE TEARS” right on the bottle of BABY SHAMPOO.

              Sociopaths.

              • They didn’t claim NO MORE SPINDLING or NO MORE MUTILATING did they?

    • UncleEbeneezer

      Wingnuts know that those people can’t be trusted with “sharp” objects.

    • Karate Bearfighter

      My take: sharp cheddar is generally seen around here as a higher-end product, more suitable for semi-fancy appetizers than meals.

      The Republicans have some really conflicting desires here. On the one hand, they want to ban anything seen as too fancy, because the poors shouldn’t be enjoying tasty food from SNAP. On the other hand, they want to ban anything seen as junk food, because obviously the poors are so morally deficient that they can’t control themselves and need to be prevented from becoming obese. That’s how you end up with a bill that bans the use of SNAP benefits for both bleu cheese and cheese whiz.

      • tribble

        Here all bricks of cheddar have the same price, regardless of sharpness (unless you’re buying a specialty product). That makes this seem extra spiteful.

        It’s funny how legislators are all so sure they know the best way to manage limited SNAP funds, yet they inevitably fail to succeed when taking the SNAP challenge.

        • efgoldman

          That makes this seem extra spiteful.

          “Seem??”

      • ThrottleJockey

        How’re you supposed to make mac & cheese without Cheese Whiz? That’s just mean.

        • Malaclypse

          Oh dear merciful Cthulhu, you make mac and cheese with real cheese, not Whiz. Colby jack makes a damn fine mac and cheese.

          • MAJeff

            I made some with bacon and blue cheese the other night.

            • ThrottleJockey

              Sounds pretty good. I’ve heard of bacon before. Never heard of using blue.

          • ThrottleJockey

            This will be some of the finest Mac & Cheese you ever have, friend. Take 2 small jars of Cheese Whiz, heat it. Blend a 1/3rd onion into a cup of heavy whipping cream. Pour the melted Cheese Whiz mixture into a mixing bowl, add a stick of butter, and the onion blended whipping cream. Add in 2 bags of shredded Mozzarella.

            Add cooked macaroni to mixture (less macaroni = cheesier sauce). Mix reasonably well (it will be thick and it will take a while but you want uniformity). Put mixture in baking sheet. Top off with a good shredded parmesan or asiago cheese and Frenchy’s fried onions (or Italian bread crumbs). Sprinkle a little garlic salt over the top. Bake in the oven for roughly 45min or until golden brown. If you don’t love it, send the recipe back to me for a full refund. Don’t forget to send the leftovers when you do. :-) (Old roomie told me it was even better on Day 3 than on Day 1).

            My mother would kill me if she knew I just posted her family secret on an internet board, dammit.

            • Pat

              Her secret is safe with us, TJ!

          • DrDick

            Cheddar, especially sharp, is better

            • Lee Rudolph

              Worst alternative second half of “Reflections on Ice Breaking” ever.

          • tsam

            Colby Jack is the most noble of the cheeses.

      • Johnny Sack

        I don’t think bleu cheese is terribly healthy for you. It’s something like 100 calories an ounce and high in sodium and saturated fat. That said, it’s delicious and satiating-which is good when you don’t have a lot of food. And it’s a decision that someone should make on their own.

        • tsam

          Not to mention it tastes like BUTT.

    • I’d guess not merely Wisconsin production but industrial-scale production. The fancier cheeses and free-range eggs come from farmers with no political power.

      • But the humiliation is the most important, or they wouldn’t have those restrictions on packaging.

      • jmauro

        This. Large company won’t put up with this crap and would have it thrown out long before it got to the stage of printing a poster.

    • wherewhich

      Seeing as Wisconsin considers itself famous for its sharp Cheddar cheese, and since a great deal of Wisconsin-made products are forbidden (either by this list or by not being the lowest-priced), I can pretty much guarantee this has nothing to do with supporting local farmer/dairy/industry.

    • stryx

      It seems like there are two other issues here. First, it’s a description of of the anodyne diets of wisconsin republicans that such strangely common foods are described as too high-end for the state to be paying for; it takes the thrill out of buying extra sharp cheddar if any 90 yr old grandma disabled mother of three suddenly widowed 43 year old every graduate student shiftless taker can just go and buy it too.

      Which reminds me of the second point, which is that this seems like an example of

      “someone would only guarantee that the black, gay, Hispanic, liberal, whatever, in the next box over doesn’t even have a curtain rod, or a sparrow to put on it.”

  • cleek

    no brown eggs?

    WTF?

    there is essentially no difference between white and brown eggs.

    i also like how they disallow low-cholesterol cheese and eggs. that’s some forward thinkin, Lou.

    • Aimai

      Egg color is actually very culturally embedded. People think that the “normal” color for eggs is whatever they had growing up and see the “other” color as somehow more expensive or cheaper or something. So I can well imagine someone raised on white eggs seeing brown ones as some kind of exotic and therefore expensive egg that is a luxury item (and, indeed, you can see differential pricing of the two eggs in some stores for the same reason).

      • ribber

        that’s odd, I grew up in upstate NY where white eggs were the normal and brown eggs had to run a tenacious radio jingle to get people to buy them. Everyone sing: “Brown eggs are local eggs, and local eggs are fresh!”

      • yet_another_lawyer

        I must be doing it wrong. I grew up with white eggs and absent a significant price difference only buy brown eggs now, for a reason that I view as entirely pragmatic: In the event I screw up while cracking the egg and some of the shell gets into the pan, then the brown egg shell stands out from the egg white, whereas a white egg shell blends in. Given that there’s no other difference, then it seems to me that this slight advantage makes brown eggs a straight upgrade. Your link indicates that brown eggs are more expensive, but between sales and coupons I am not sure that is actually always the case…

      • ThrottleJockey

        I was raised on white eggs and always thought brown eggs were inferior…until about 5 years ago I bought some on a lark…and stuck with it because it had more environmentally friendly packaging.

      • Aimai

        I grew up where brown eggs were, in fact,local eggs and white eggs appeared only for special occasions, like easter, when you wanted to dye them.

        • muddy

          I believe the ones that produce brown eggs tend to be the more cold-hardy birds.

      • Johnny Sack

        My parents never differentiated between brown and white eggs so I guess I never learned to. Whatever was cheaper.

        I know a lot of people who think that brown eggs are for some reason healthier, or that brown indicates that the egg is “organic” or something. And I assume that this tends to raise the price of brown eggs, at least where I’ve lived, which in turn reinforces that belief. If it’s more expensive, it must be because it’s better, not just because more people want it.

        The only time I ever have a preference is for hardboiled eggs. My eyesight sucks, so it’s nice to have the shell contrast with the egg white as I peel.

    • Turangalila

      Growing up the eggs from A&P or ShopRite were white, while the ones we sometimes got from my grandmother’s chicken coop were brown, and much, much better. I suppose that’s unique to me but I suspect it’s why I buy brown eggs.

      Also I’ve generally associated white with Wonderbread, mayonnaise, and other foods that don’t actually taste like anything.

      • ThrottleJockey

        Darker the egg, sweeter the omelette?

        • It’s always darkest just before you get your sunny side up.

          • efgoldman

            It’s always darkest just before you get your sunny side up.

            Unless you go over easy.

  • Derelict

    There’s an “idea” in our land that food stamps (in whatever form) allow the holder to walk into the supermarket and have anything in the store for free. So, first of the month rolls around and you want lobsters, steaks, and truffle sauce tonight? No problem! This gets reinforced by videos such as the idiot in California living off his friends and using food stamps to actually buy lobsters.

    And all of that leads to laws like this. The objective is to stop the supposed “abuse” of food stamps. However, for most people on food stamps, just getting enough food to survive from one week to the next is a challenge.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Since food stamps are for a set amount of money, I fail to see how any use of them for food items constitutes “abuse.” These regulations are, of course, actually about shaming and controlling the lives of the poor. Food stamps are a fairly mild form of income redistribution, which wingnuts hate. But make them into a badge or incident of moocherdom, a way of creating a caste system, and suddenly they seem like a great idea to the insane billionaires and their ressentiment-driven supporters.

      • Derelict

        Since food stamps are for a set amount of money, I fail to see how any use of them for food items constitutes “abuse.”

        You’re confusing reality with what’s in the public (and conservative) mind. The vast majority of people have no idea how food stamps (or any other welfare program) work. To Joe Sixpack, it’s all just one huge money spigot that poor people place their buckets under and collect from. Thus the still-popular T-bones and Cadillacs meme.

        Unfortunately, there are just enough examples of people actually doing bad things with food stamps that these exceptions become the rule in the conservative mind. And so they see a need to impose ever-more-stringent restrictions.

        • weirdnoise

          The idea that there are Welfare Queens collecting assistance under a dozen fake identities started with Saint Reagan. (Something like that might even have happened once in the history of the world.) So in the conservative mind, these sorts of restrictions are necessary for the same reason Voter ID laws are necessary — to keep certain imaginary people from getting away with stuff.

      • gmack

        For some, the desire to shame the poor motivates support for programs like this, but in my view the notion of “controlling the lives of the poor” is more important. There are two dominant images of the poor: they are dangerous, conniving, and manipulative, or they are pathetic, hapless, and incapable of functioning adequately in society. Either way, regulating what they can eat makes sense. The assumption is that poor people are too incompetent to eat properly without governmental supervision.* In addition, especially if we make the benefits too burdensome or too low, we can also expect widespread efforts at evasion, which then can justify the need for increases in surveillance to cut down on cheating (“waste, fraud, and abuse”).

        *By the way, this claim isn’t an interpretation; lots of people make this argument explicitly, and regulating diet has long been a part of the provision of welfare.

    • Joshua

      Even if that were true, I don’t see why it matters. Food stamps are a fixed amount. You don’t get a bonus stipend for using it on lobster and caviar. If you spend your food stamp money on lobster and caviar, then that’s what you’re eating all month.

      • carolannie

        No dear, that means if you buy lobster and caviar with your month’s worth of food stamps, you get to starve for 25 days. Food stamps don’t really cover a month’s worth of food at the subsistence level, so dumpster diving is encouraged.

        • Nobdy

          I’m pretty sure he meant “That’s what you’re eating all month” as in “All you’re eating this month is a small amount of lobster and caviar.”

          • Warren Terra

            Yeah, I don’t think it was “Oh noes, the monotony of these endless lobster tails and caviar tins!”

          • Moondog

            Oh, English.

      • Aimai

        Because the argument, or assumption, is that if you could afford to be choosy and take a high cost item instead of ten pounds of potatoes then you aren’t really in need–you have another source of income. Its basically the same argument as the one underlying drug testing for poor people who get government assistance. If you had enough money to buy drugs (it says) you shouldn’t take government money for food but should be forced to spend your drug money on food. Similarly if you had enough money for regular food that you can afford luxury items with your food stamps we should cut your foodstamp money and force you to subsist entirely on that “other money.”

        Its horrible and dumb, but that is the logic.

        • gmack

          There’s another logic in addition to this one, which is that the poor are too incompetent to make rational choices (if they weren’t incompetent, they’d have already gotten themselves out of poverty!). The dominant image of the welfare poor is not just that they are not really poor (i.e., that they are frauds who have other sources of income); another image is that they are hapless and incapable of making rational choices, planning for the future, etc. One can appeal to either image depending on circumstance.

          • MAJeff

            This reminds me of that famous Scalzi post.

            “Being poor is knowing how much everything costs.” The constant assumption that folks on assistance cannot be trusted to budget adequately is really undercut by their actual spending patterns. It’s not that poor folks all spend their money irresponsibly, it’s that they don’t have enough money.

    • ThrottleJockey

      Some of it is to stop actual abuse, but some of it is just plain mean spirited. In the Kansas re-write recently you saw this. There were some unobjectionable items like saying welfare money couldn’t be spent on cruises or strip clubs. OK, no problem with that (not that people on TANF really do that, but whatever its not unreasonable to shut down that ‘loop hole’). But then there was the mean stuff, like money couldn’t be used to go swimming. Really? Its 99degrees outside and the poors–who probably don’t even have A/C–can’t go swim? Isn’t swimming just a good, healthy clean form of exercise. Is that immoral? So there are twin impulses, but unfortunately we have a rise of the “those who don’t work shall not eat” type GOPers who really just wish the poors would shuffle off and die someplace. Preferably alone, and in a corner. And can they dispose of their body after they do so.

      • AGM

        I don’t really understand this argument. Policy should stand up to some sort of cost-benefit analysis. Making a blacklist or whitelist of businesses where people are allowed to use benefit cards is costing someone money somewhere.

        If Kansas decided to spend money on a tiger patrol to handle tiger related emergencies, people would rightly derided it as ridiculous waste. But spending money to prevent poor people from taking cruises is fine because they shouldn’t be going on cruises anyway

        • ThrottleJockey

          If forced to spend money at A&P instead of ‘Get Your Freak On’ Strip Club then the boost to the economy is the same, no? You’re just redistributing it from the strip club owner to the grocery owner.

          I don’t, as a matter of policy, think welfare funds should be spent on strip clubs or cruises, so I think that’s ok. But there’s no net effect on the economy. Its just redistribution.

          • xq

            No, because you need to build a bureaucracy to enforce the rules, and businesses need to spend to design systems to accommodate them, and that has real economic costs. Just giving people money and letting them spend it as they choose is more efficient.

            • ThrottleJockey

              Of course that’s more efficient…but spending welfare money on strip clubs and casinos? Really?

              • xq

                I was disagreeing with your specific claim that “Its just redistribution.” It’s not. There’s a net cost. which I think was AGMs point. Even if you would prefer that welfare recipients not spend on strip clubs, you need to weigh that against the cost of regulating extreme cases.

                That said, I don’t see why there is any societal or state interest in whether welfare is spent on strip clubs in the first place. Let people choose to spend their money as they wish.

                • efgoldman

                  Let people choose to spend their money as they wish.

                  Let them eat silicone!

        • The Temporary Name

          I don’t really understand this argument. Policy should stand up to some sort of cost-benefit analysis. Making a blacklist or whitelist of businesses where people are allowed to use benefit cards is costing someone money somewhere.

          I once worked at a place that spent more money litigating its violations of our collective agreement than it could ever have cost to simply abide by them.

          It would seem to me that these prohibitions will wind up to be a similar money-loser: endless haggling, some legal, over whether Smalltown, WI has access to the product you need to buy for, say, medical reasons.

      • gmack

        There were some unobjectionable items like saying welfare money couldn’t be spent on cruises or strip clubs. OK, no problem with that (not that people on TANF really do that, but whatever its not unreasonable to shut down that ‘loop hole’)

        I’m going to reject this argument entirely. Though almost all of us regularly ignore this fact, nearly every American citizen receives direct governmental benefits, either in the form of direct cash, in-kind services, or distributions via the tax code. Only poor people, however, are subjected to forms of surveillance about how they spend the subsidy. I’ve yet to hear a good argument about why this is fair.

  • brendalu

    Plenty of sharp cheddar in Wisconsin, I assure you.

    What’s not easy to find, though, is 16 oz blocks. As far as I can tell the standard anymore is 8 oz blocks or 2 lbs and up. So there’s that extra unnecessary hassle. Also, especially for people with kids, no individually wrapped string cheese? WTF.

    More punish the poors bullshit by people who probably haven’t been in a grocery store in years.

    • Also, especially for people with kids, no individually wrapped string cheese?

      Right? It’s all just so bizarre and mean-spirited.

      • matt w

        I keep getting reminded of the immortal words of Kimberly Szaflarski.

        • stryx

          Why do find massive rivers of blood so funny?

          • OliversArmy

            Because before they dry up they are banana peel grade slippery. *yakety sax*

      • AlanInSF

        Slicing and wrapping your own Processed Cheese Product builds character.

      • ColBatGuano

        Can you even get string cheese in bulk form?

        • rea

          It’s called rope cheese, then.

          • Warren Terra

            Depends on which dimension you expand. How long is a piece of string?

            • String cheese theory is not even wrong.

              • rhino

                Let’s not cause an incident…

    • Jeff R.

      Sharp and extra sharp cheddars are always more expensive than milder varieties. Sharpness is a function of how long the cheese is aged: a year or more for sharp compared to 2 or 3 months for mild. So of course it’s going to cost a dairy more to have inventory sit around for a year.

      • matt w

        This is not true. I just searched for cheddar cheese at the Pick’n’Save I used to shop at in Milwaukee. Regular Mild, Medium, and Sharp Cheddar Cheese are all listed at $3.00 and on sale for $2.50.

        Try it yourself; it’s the East Pointe location, and choose Dairy department, Cheese aisle, Cheddar product.

        So it’s not about forcing people to buy less expensive products. It’s just assholery.

        • matt w

          Admittedly these are eight-ounce blocks, which are verboten.

          • wca

            I bought some 16 ounce blocks of sharp cheddar just two days ago. Same price as all the other varieties of cheddar in the dairy case at my local grocery.

            I was going to buy the forbidden two-pound blocks, but for once the 16 ounce blocks were on sale at a cheaper price than the forbidden blocks.

            • ThrottleJockey

              Then you guys are lucky. I always buy sharp. And its nearly always more expensive than the milder varieties. IT does cost the dairy considerably more to make…but there may be regional variations in how much of the cost individual retailers pass on to consumers. Some places go with the simple pricing rule, effectively raising the price on mild cheese and lowering it on sharp.

              • sparks

                In northern CA it is that way. Extra sharp costs $.50 more per 16 oz, block. They’ve just started making sharp more expensive as well, but when on sale it’s the same as the mild.

    • ralphdibny

      My wife and I were on WIC about ten years ago, and the rules were just as byzantine. Apple juice, but only cans, and only some weird size that we could never find. Some cheeses and some cereals, but not others, for no reason we could discern. And an insane amount of both peanut butter and tuna. So this isn’t just a Wisconsin thing–every state does this, and has for a long time. But people who’ve never used govt. assistance have no idea how difficult they make it. After the fifth grocery trip where the cashier sent us back to replace an item we weren’t allowed to buy (we both were in graduate school at the time, btw) my wife was in tears, saying “this isn’t worth it.”

      • matt w

        As JL linked below, this law extends the restrictions that apply to WIC (supplementary food assistance for women and children) to SNAP. So even if the restrictions have some justification for WIC, in that the family is meant to have other means of buying food and WIC is specifically targeted at getting food for developing children, it’s incredibly cruel to apply it to SNAP, which could be a family’s entire food budget.

        They are literally treating people on assistance like children.

  • It ain’t just crazy cheese restrictions — the Wisconsin GOP also doesn’t want poor people eating beans, salsa, ketchup, pasta sauce, spices or seasonings, nuts, soup, pickles, or red or yellow potatoes.

    Cruelty and epic mean-spiritedness are the primary motivators behind the modern Republican party.

    • cdevine

      No beans? No expensive protein, no cheap protein. Oy.

      Our local butcher, which provides locally raised meat, can take food stamps, and I think a number of the farmers’ market vendors can as well. But then this is NY.

      • Aimai

        No beans or red or yellow potatoes? How does that even make sense? What kind of potatoes are legit? Do they mean “no expensive fingerlings?” Is that even an option?

        • Hogan

          Russet only.

          The beans thing is especially weird–I keep hearing that dried beans are the solution to poverty, food deserts, and diverticulitis.

          • brugroffil

            Why, that’s how all of Sean Hannity’s poor friends survive, by eating big pots of rice and beans!

            http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2012/04/sean-hannitys-poor-friends-eat-rice-and-beans.html

          • elm

            I think it’s just canned beans that are verboten. Dried beans are fine.

            • Hogan

              Canned beans are allowed. Dried beans are allowed only in 16-oz. packages (not in bulk).

          • ThrottleJockey

            Ahhh, yes, I scratched my head at the potatoes thing too, then I remembered an article from a few weeks back saying that a lot of nutrition activists blame our obesity on our consumption of potatoes. They don’t think we should subsidize consumption of them. This wasn’t the article I read, but it gets to the heart of the matter:

            Whether or not pregnant women should be allowed to buy potatoes using WIC vouchers has been a political controversy for several years…In 2006, the IOM decided that potatoes aren’t healthful enough to be considered a crucial food for pregnant and postpartum women, a decision that lobbyists for the potato industry immediately began trying to undo.

            SO I suppose there is a method (of sorts) to their madness.

            Of course the only thing worse than being obese is, you know, starving to death.

            • matt w

              Again, those are WIC guidelines, specifically for nutritious food for children; the bill extends them to SNAP which is not just for pregnant women and children.

              • ThrottleJockey

                Just because there’s a method to their madness, doesn’t mean they’re not still mad.

        • That sounds like industrial production too. Simplot potatoes, nothing that comes from a garden.

      • witlesschum

        In Michigan, we’ve got a program where food stamps count double at participating farmers’ markets.

        • DrDick

          Same here.

    • Joshua

      Yet Wisconsites keep voting for them.

    • wca

      Wisconsin GOP also doesn’t want poor people eating ketchup

      Loomis became a Republican and moved to Wisconsin?

    • Bitter Scribe

      They don’t mind you eating ketchup, as long as you count it as a vegetable.

  • JL

    This comment, written by a former recipient of SNAP and WIC, explains, in detail, what is going on here and exactly how the people pushing this bill are clueless assholes.

    The tl;dr is that they’re trying to put the similar food restrictions on SNAP (which is meant to cover someone’s food needs) to those on WIC (which is meant to be a supplement to the regular food budget, specifically aimed at young kids). But really you should just go read the whole comment.

    • Nobdy

      It’s a very reasonable comment. Wisconsin should hire her to help design the SNAP program and let Mr. Bumble from Oliver Twist go back to being a literary character.

    • sparks

      When I was thinking about the mean-spiritedness, I also remembered how much of a PITA it was to reprogram the lists on point of sale (some of the stores I go to have very vintage equipment). So I imagine small stores and chains aren’t going to be happy, either.

      • Robert M.

        Yeah, “Kwik Trip” is a company that runs convenience stores in (at least) Minnesota and Wisconsin, and the ThinkProgress article lists them as one of 14 businesses and organizations that are lobbying against the bill.

        • Moondog

          Wonder if the outfits that reprogram point of sale equipment have a bigger lobbying effort.

    • matt w

      I was tired of being the one member of our social group who never contributed and always had to rely on the charity of everyone else

      This is exactly what Republicans are concerned about. If you’re poor you shouldn’t have a social group, and if you do you should be damn well aware that you’re relying on charity.

  • Nobdy

    This is where I part ways with the politics of this blog. I work hard. I pay taxes. A lot of taxes. What I don’t do is pay taxes so a bunch of soak-the-rich poor people can sit around, NOT WORKING, and enjoying extra sharp cheddar, or a mild cheddar in an 8-ounce block. When I see some poor person with an 8-ounce block of cheese, paying for it with MY MONEY, I think “Who are you who has so much time you can buy cheese in such small quantities. You’re going to have to be back at the store spending MY MONEY in two days! You should be looking for work or peeing in a cup to be drug tested. You shouldn’t have TIME to be buying small quantities of cheese!”

    DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON SMOKED GOUDA! IF YOU WANTED GOUDA YOU SHOULD HAVE MADE BETTER LIFE CHOICES! THE ONLY THING THAT KEEPS ME FROM DOING HEROIN ALL DAY AND SITTING AROUND IN MY OWN FILTH IS THE RIGHT TO BUY SMOKED GOUDA WITH MY OWN MONEY I WORKED FOR!

    You make it legal to buy smoked gouda with food stamps and I’m quitting my job tomorrow!

    In all seriousness, I don’t even know how you get to the decision to police people’s cheese choices. If you gave me a million dollars to design a food program I wouldn’t think to try and control the sizes of cheese people bought (I could imagine restricting purchases of something like American cheese in a misguided effort to promote healthful eating.) It’s a baffling decision if you come at it from any other angle than “Let’s be pointlessly cruel to people who are already almost by definition suffering.”

    • Aimai

      Sure, who would bother to grind the faces of the poor for a million dollars? But start talking a couple of mil and a lifetime sinecure as a third tier legislator? And I’m right there and I’ll police any damn thing the Koch brothers tell me to.

      • Halloween Jack

        This, in fact, seems to be precisely Sean Duffy‘s career goal.

        • matt w

          Nah, he’s already said the $174K in our tax money that he gets for doing what the Koch brothers tell him isn’t enough for him.

          • Halloween Jack

            He hasn’t said that in a while, though. I think that he’s come around to realizing what his career potential really is, and if he’s pulling an Aaron Schock and padding out his expense reimbursements, he’s more discreet about it.

            • matt w

              Well, he hasn’t said it in a while because it was drummed into his head that it made him look like an absolute asshole. I’m sure he still wants a big payday–there’s gotta be a revolving door for him somewhere.

              • Aimai

                Hope he gets stuck in it. A special form of hell.

                • matt w

                  I can think of at least three other revolving things I’d rather he get stuck in. (The first one is a flushing toilet.)

    • Lee Rudolph

      Clearly we need piss-tests to determine if a would-be welfare moocher has smooked gouda in the last month!

      • You misspelled “smecked.”

      • It’s the libtards who are always demanding you should take your gouda orally because smoking it is bad for the lungs.

    • wengler

      Back to the mines with you! My gouda isn’t going to pay for itself.

    • wherewhich

      I created an account here just to thank you for this comment and maybe bill you for the coffee stains on my monitor.

  • Warren Terra

    The prohibition on shredded cheese is just weird. For example: want to make your kids a home-made pizza, incredibly cheaply? Better grate your own darn cheese from a block; no shredded cheese in a bag for you, even though it’s probably the same damn price.

    Also: you can frequently save at least 15% by buying a two pound package instead of a one-pound package – but not in this program, you can’t.

    • Nobdy

      Poor people are notoriously bad planners. You let them have that much cheese at one time they’re going to horribly mismanage it. Probably fritter it away on unnecessary omelets. What we need is to have them deposit their cheese in a fund run by a private Cheddar manager who can decide when they are permitted to withdraw the cheese and for what purpose. They can pay a reasonable fee ($200 a month) from their food budget to have the company help them manage their cheese properly, and everyone benefits.

      Privatized cheese management is the only way I’m letting some impoverished person have 2 pounds at one time (in a single package.)

      • matt w

        Better than omeleting it away on unnecessary fritters.

      • Moondog

        Sounds good so long as the cheese withdrawal fee is not too high.

      • Ahuitzotl

        Please stop giving the Joch Brothers ideas: they aren’t that bright, on their own.

    • Nick

      For example: want to make your kids a home-made pizza, incredibly cheaply? Better grate your own darn cheese from a block;

      A 16-ounce block. Says so right there in the rules!

    • ringtail

      Exactly, these rules are just bizarre. Surely the lawmakers in Wisconsin aren’t such elitists that they’ve never been to a typical grocery store? How can they be unaware that almost everything on the banned list is available at your average grocery store in a reasonably priced store-brand? It seems more likely they’re just trying to take the dignity away from people poorer/different than them.

    • Malaclypse

      Look, you’re missing something important here – kids like pizza, and making a pizza with/for your kid is both easy and fun. If we allow this sort of nonsense, we’re not making poor people feel like they are horrible parents, and we’re letting poor kids have fun. If we allow this sort of frippery, we’re on a slippery slope to allowing people dignity.

      • ThrottleJockey

        There’s a law against poor people having fun. Its written right there into the Constitution.

        • Ahuitzotl

          Wait. That wasnt a parody?

        • Warren Terra

          (to be clear: from the person at your link, not from you):

          As a kid, I didn’t go to nail salons or eat filet mignon, even though I knew people on food stamps who did.

          Oh, bullpucky.

          Because I am a cheapskate have a keen eye for bargains, I often shop at the Kroger Food-4-Less, a clean and well-stocked, large supermarket decidedly targeted at the low end of the income spectrum, with a lot of customers on food assistance. Every time I check out, there is an excellent chance the person in front of me will use a food-program card, or vouchers of some sort. You know what people shopping there don’t buy, whether on their own dime or especially if they’ve been reduced to seeking outside help? Expensive cuts of meat, by which I mean anything priced at more than a couple of dollars a pound. I on’t see anyone at such a store buying anything that’s particularly pricey (liquor and tobacco excepted – but relief programs don’t cover those anyway).

          I’m not saying it’s impossible some poor family has scrimped and planned and used their benefits to buy filet mignon or lobster, for some special occasion. But if they did, it was a great rarity, at a real cost to themselves, and required a level of planning and sacrifice to make work that we should probably admire; the benefits are stingy, and the recipients are extremely aware that once they’ve been used up there will be no more help getting groceries until the next month.

  • carolannie

    The anti-Christians who do this are pushing a jihad against the poor

    • witlesschum

      Less of an absurd argument than the Hobby Lobby decision.

    • rm

      I think you mean Antichrist-ians.

    • Origami Isopod
  • Malaclypse

    We really need to stop outsourcing government to the Onion.

  • malraux

    Aside from all the other absurdities mentioned, I like the arbitrary distinction between cheese in the dairy section and cheese in the deli section. Somehow if you carry a cheese to the deli area it becomes against the rules.

    • wca

      Somehow if you carry a cheese to the deli area it becomes against the rules.

      Slicing is forbidden!

    • Rob in CT

      The deli section is where the good stuff is. The dairy section has mostly store brand blocks of cheddar, processed cheese food slices (aka American Cheese) and stuff like that.

      As least that’s how it is at my local supermarkets.

      So it comes back to “no good stuff for you!”

      • malraux

        Oh, I recognize that its about keeping “those people” from enjoying the good stuff. But even at that, the weird distinction between what they allow and don’t is baffling.

  • Halloween Jack

    They’re really chasing after the checkout-line-snoop vote here, aren’t they?

    • Aimai

      Hey, mean spirited, long nosed, gobshites vote, you know.

      • mean spirited, long nosed, gobshites

        Flem Snopes?

    • xq

      A large fraction of the RW types I know have a story they made up or borrowed about food stamps, T-bone steaks, Cadillacs, etc. Anecdotally, it was a wildly successful marketing strategy for the right (especially among politically uninformed people), for reasons I don’t fully understand.

      • ThrottleJockey

        I have a friend whose been on food stamps the last few years. He had the nerve to complain about people getting food stamps and Section 8 the other day. This, despite the fact that I know he’s bought food stamps from neighbors his own self. Never doubt the human capacity to be hypocritical.

        • Halloween Jack

          Not for a second. One of the most ardent conservative finger-pointers I know is a relative who’s been on 100% disability for years.

      • Philip

        for reasons I don’t fully understand

        There are a lot of petty, mean-spirited wingers just waiting to be told how they’re better than someone else.

  • LeeEsq

    The principal is a simple one. The more unbearable you make poverty, the harder people will work to get out of poverty. It is the same principal that led to the creation of the dreaded Victorian workhouse.

    Many people have a fear of being the ant in the fable of the ant and the grasshopper. They see the world as a place where they have to work hard while other people get to party hardy all day and not work. Ever since the dawn of civilization, people saw those in the extreme state of poverty like beggars as living the high life while they had to struggle to survive. This belief is really dumb but it is a common one and near universal from what I can tell. Even Vladimir Lenin believed that “those who do not work, will not eat.”

    • sparks

      This belief is really dumb but it is a common one and near universal from what I can tell. Even Vladimir Lenin believed that “those who do not work, will not eat.”

      Heh, I see that one in anime often, occasionally with a tart rejoinder.

      • Domino

        Got any examples I could look at?

        • sparks

          One with a tart rejoinder I remember off the top of my head was from Working!! Season 1 Ep 3.

    • postmodulator

      They see the world as a place where they have to work hard while other people get to party hardy all day and not work.

      Sure, but how does that not lead to resentment against, say, the Rich Kids of Instagram? What’s the thought process by which being poor and lazy is awful but being rich and lazy is amazing?

      • LeeEsq

        It can and does lead to resentment against Rich Kids of Instagram types. The loathing of loafers can manifest in different ways. Some people express against the poor, other against the rich, and some can’t stand both.

      • Davis X. Machina

        Being an asshole is aspirational.

        • Socrets

          Being a rich asshole is aspirational.

          Fixed.

      • Anticorium

        For some, the thought process is that being poor and lazy or rich and lazy are both awful, but only the poor and lazy can be punished at the ballot box.

        • ThrottleJockey

          You can punish the rich and lazy easy enough, just raise the estate tax ’til their eyes pop out of their head…I’d make it 186%.

          Yeah, that’s right. If you’re Bill Gates’ kid and he dies, you not only lose all the inheritance but you also have to give 86% of your own wealth to the state. I bet we find a cure for cancer then…

          • efgoldman

            I bet we find a cure for cancer then…

            Nah. They’d spend it on a new stealth fighter/bomber fuel filler cap, then the damned thing won’t work anyway.

        • matt w

          I suspect that for some the idea is that the supposed poor and lazy “are doing it with MY money!!!” Whereas the rich and lazy are doing it with dad’s–of course you and I could have a conversation about how dad got the money and how the scions get to keep it (estate tax, anyone?) but there you go.

          Also it’s just harder to look down on the rich.

    • wengler

      And the beatings will continue until morale improves…

  • LeeEsq

    The principal is a simple one. The more unbearable you make poverty, the harder people will work to get out of poverty. It is the same principal that led to the creation of the dreaded Victorian workhouse.

    Many people have a fear of being the ant in the fable of the ant and the grasshopper. They see the world as a place where they have to work hard while other people get to party hardy all day and not work. Ever since the dawn of civilization, people saw those in the extreme state of poverty like beggars as living the high life while they had to struggle to survive. This belief is really dumb but it is a common one and near universal from what I can tell. Even Vladimir Lenin believed that “those who do not work, will not eat.”

    • ThrottleJockey

      Rather ironic, that the communist, atheist Lenin cited that Bible verse! Like I said above, never doubt the human capacity for hypocrisy, its limitless!!

      • The Dark Avenger

        What’s wrong with this?:

        In the USSR work is a duty and a matter of honor for every able-bodied citizen, in accordance with the principle: “He who does not work, neither shall he eat.”

        OTOH, Mao had the iron rice bowl,:

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/special_report/1999/09/99/china_50/iron.htm

        I think the idea of inalienable employment for workers is a good idea. This is not the same as having to work to eat.

        Of course deciding who is able-bodied is the kicker here.

      • LeeEsq

        Communists had a soft spot for Thomas More because he wrote Utopia, which the regard as a kind of a prototype to socialism. They also appreciated is decision to die for what he believed in. People are weird.

    • Every conservative I meet seems to think that they personally invented work.

      Nobody ever did a day’s work in their lives until they came along.

      • tsam

        Yeah–those guys are so much fun!

        That’s a peeve, but my biggest one is thinking that the harder you work, the richer you are. Tell that to a landscaper in August, digging trenches for a sprinkler system. Tell him that a fucking CEO of a tech firm works harder than he/she does and see if you don’t end up buried with that sprinkler manifold.

  • wkiernan

    Mild cheddar and extra-sharp cheddar cost exactly the same at the store where I shop, and they usually come in 10 or 12 ounce packages. I’m just trying to wrap my mind about the sensibility that makes a moral distinction between a poor person eating mild cheddar and sharp cheddar, and between 12 ounce packages and 16 ounce packages.

    I genuinely hate the Republicans who come up with this sort of rubbish; they’re depraved, they’re wrecking this country, and I wish they’d all die.

    • matt w

      Amen.

  • Randy

    Shredded cheese is not allowed, but cheese curds–customarily dipped in batter and deep fried–are.

    Decades of Wisconsin culture will sometimes trump the need to be douchebags towards the poor.

    • wherewhich

      In Wisconsin you buy cheese curds at the grocery store because they squeak adorably — neither breaded nor fried. They were kinda sorta a novelty, in the same sense that string cheese is a novelty.

      I didn’t realize “real” cheese curds were such a provincial product until I moved out of Wisconsin and never saw them anywhere else, even at a cheese specialty store. The breaded version just isn’t the same.

  • Pingback: Wisconsin, The First Amendment, and Humiliating the Poor | Ordinary Times()

  • cleek

    also disallowed : jarred spaghetti sauce. though “tomato sauce” is allowed. so… oregano is a decadent luxury?

    also disallowed: bread, rice, tortillas, or dried beans in any amount other than 16 oz. ?

    but peanut butter is allowed in 16, 17 or 18 oz jars?

    Big Pound wasn’t strong enough to beat the 18oz peanut butter lobby?

    • Rob in CT

      What we have here is the conjunction of mean and stupid.

    • sparks

      I found the list creepy in its specificity.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        it’s charles dickens’s world, we just try to get by in it

    • Donalbain

      No herbs, spices or seasoning is allowed!

    • Warren Terra

      At my grocery store, the store-brand sliced white is 16 oz; the name-brand sliced white often isn’t (often 18 or 20 oz, and sometimes on sale cheaper than the store brand). I doubt this is a coincidence.

  • Here’s how it goes in New York with WIC. Every month the family gets several checks– five or six, I guess. Each check is good for $X dollars, and specifies certain food items that must be purchased. Canned beans, for example, or bread or cereal. Each check is also good for a gallon, or sometimes two gallons of 1% or skim milk. All of the food items specified by the check have to be WIC approved. You can’t just buy any canned beans, or bread– the kind you buy has to be identified as the kind you are allowed to buy by a little blue tag on the shelf next to the unit pricing information.

    It is a strange and arbitrary classification system. Ten bucks worth of fresh fruit or vegetables, for example, but a two dollar sack of white potatoes doesn’t qualify. There is a stipend for “up to” 48 ounces of juice, but the WIC approved juice is either Juicy Juice or similar sugar-added stuff from concentrate. “Up to” 64 ounces of canned sardines, but they had to be the right brand of sardines.

    The experience of shopping this way is eye-opening. It is mostly in the middle aisles, where the canned and processed stuff is, and you don’t get anywhere near the meat or the poultry. Even the produce selection is grim– $10 bucks of fruit and vegetables for a family of four for a month? A $2 bag of seedless grapes looks like a sack of emeralds when you are working with that kind of limitation.

    Richest country in the history of the word, but don’t let anybody tell you we are generous.

    • Randy

      WIC is a different program. As I understand it, it’s not to provide food for the whole family, but just for pregnant women and young children. That is supposed to be the reason for the specificity of food that can be bought. I’m sure the lobbying by the food industry had NOTHING to do with it.

      • Jenny Islander

        At its best, WIC guarantees access to nutrient-dense foods regardless of price. My youngest aged out of WIC late last year. We haven’t bought a single can of salmon since then, because of the cost. Cheese is only in the cart when there is a clearance sticker on it–and even on clearance most of it costs too much per pound. It goes on sale fresh, instead of about to expire, about every six months in our price range. All-natural unsweetened peanut butter? Not a chance without WIC.

        At its worst, WIC is another tool for making people in tight financial circumstances into ideological chew toys. For the last few months on WIC, I could only get 1 percent or skim milk because somebody had convinced the USDA that my son might get fat (oh no, the horror) if I kept giving him 2 percent or whole milk. Never mind that neither 1 percent nor skim milk has enough substance to quell hunger, that certain important vitamins are soluble mainly in fat, that skim milk is so salty it doesn’t even quench thirst, or that nobody in the house would touch either kind with a ten-foot pole! I still used the milk vouchers, but I squeezed a little money out of the budget for real butter and made a lot of white sauce and custard.

        During my final appointment, the WIC worker offered me a “keepsake” of my son’s “measurements” over the 5 years on the program. More data for his baby book–great! Except that the only “measurement” on the damn paper was his BMI. She praised me for “bringing it down,” while an actual factual physician had been conferring with us about bringing it up, because he is a tall, brawny kid who had been growing listless and losing muscle, hence the declining BMI. (We fixed the problem.)

        I wish fatphobes would keep their orthorexia out of government!

        • Hogan

          Thank you for this. We don’t get a lot of reports directly from the front line, and they’re important.

  • tsam

    I’d love to find out how much these half witted dirtbags spent putting this whole list of approved/non-approved items together and what enforcement costs really are.

    It reminds me of the drug testing for state aid. Costs more money than it saves…

    • UncleEbeneezer

      …and all in the name of Fiscal Responsibility.

      • gusmpls

        And what happened to the alleged Republican mania for simplifying government rules and regulations? I guess that only counts when the party in question needs to pollute.

        • Robert M.

          This is one of my issues with policies like this one (I live in Kansas, so our own brand of punish-the-poors changes to TANF have been in the news).

          It would be simpler if government assistance like SNAP and WIC were a declining-balance card with a regular deposit from the funder. Purchase any item you want, as long as it’s food–with the understanding that when it’s gone, it’s gone. (Of course everyone I’ve ever known on WIC or SNAP, including my family as a tot, has known exactly what his or her food budget looked like and how far it had to stretch.) This would be:

          (1) Far simpler to administer from the perspective of the state and/or feds.

          (2) Far simpler to administer from the perspective of the sellers, since you don’t need a special register or markings on the shelves.

          (3) Far less expensive to administer, for the above reasons.

          (4) Far more popular with users, since it doesn’t place arbitrary limitations on things like how much cheese of what kind and manufacturer I can buy from which region of the goddamned grocery store.

          In a sane world, Republicans would be all over a plan like that. It’s cheap, it’s easy to administer, it’s straightforward! Isn’t that what appeals to them about, e.g., turning school funding into block grants? But because internal consistency would result in a missed opportunity to make poor people suffer a little more, they set aside their nominal principles and go with the convoluted, arbitrary approach that comes with lots of additional overhead for everyone involved.

          • matt w

            It’s cheap, it’s easy to administer, it’s straightforward! Isn’t that what appeals to them about, e.g., turning school funding into block grants?

            No, what appeals to them about it is they get to spend less money and direct it away from poor people.

            I mean, I know you said nominal principle, but I think the GOP has been pretty clear that they want to block-grant aid programs so as to restrict eligibility and stuff like that, more than because of bureaucracy. The onerous requirements on aid programs that they complain about are the ones that are making them use the funds for their intended purposes.

          • Isn’t that what appeals to them about, e.g., turning school funding into block grants?

            Nah, the appeal of block grants is that they’re easier to funnel directly into the pockets of private contractors. State legislators are cheaper to bribe than federal legislators.

        • tsam

          That only applies to letting energy companies frac anywhere they want, drill and spill anywhere they want, and businesses to pay people below-subsistence wages. They figure their time is better spent making money for their donors and showing their donors that they are sticking it to the moochers to keep their taxes low.

  • Johnnie

    Wondering how the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, which is probably the state’s second most powerful lobby (after the Tavern League, god bless ’em) is gonna react to this sort of stuff. If we can’t criminalize first offense drunk driving do you think these guys are going to let the legislature do anything to limit cheese consumption? Also, considering all the conservative talking points about “personal choice” and “overregulation” I am struck once again by the hypocrisy of a broad swath of the American political spectrum.

    • Warren Terra

      is gonna react to this sort of stuff.

      Your use of the future tense is adorable.

      You really think they haven’t been keeping an eye on this and guiding it in a direction they can live with? What do you think they pay their lobbyists to do?

  • paul.c.klos

    Now don’t get me wrong I agree with the general point of the post and the amazement at the weird hate for safety nets the Republican party has…

    But honestly the cheese rules posted above seem fairly reasonable. I say that has somebody who has seen the wheel turn a few times. Now when my wife is a senior researcher for the USDA and I have business that pays its bills and a bit more – sure so now my daughters can have a grilled cheese sandwiches made of gouda and extra sharp cheddar. But the fact us when the position my wife wife moved back to WA vanished do to funding cuts and my nifty remote programming job got axed (its easy to fire the guy you just have to email) and my family of five had live on just what my wife made after calling a favor to get a lab manager job – now what we were not buying gouda or the extra sharp cheddar. Why because they bloody cost too much and the blandish mild (but at least local) cheddar was always on sale at the local store.

    Essentially the guidelines are fairly logical their the ones (choices) I made when I was pawning stuff to make sure my kids did not notice we were living pay check to pay check.

    OK personal rant done. But the specifics of any safety net program(s) are pointless, The real question is why we are not taxing the the highest income brackets in the US more to allow for better nets to catch people.

    Also the ban on shell fish is maybe not so bad since Wisconsin is not Texas or the Big easy so those shellfish are like a product of China produced in vile conditions by quasi serfs.

    • matt w

      So those may be reasonable guidelines for what someone on a budget ought to buy if they want to stick within a budget. But your experience tends to show that someone on a budget–even someone who is used to the more expensive stuff–won’t buy the more expensive stuff because it’s more expensive. I’m pretty sure that people who are on SNAP know damn well when something is too expensive for their SNAP budget, and can plan accordingly.

      And what happens when the sharp cheddar isn’t more expensive, as it isn’t at the supermarket I used to shop at in Wisconsin? (This isn’t cherry-picking; I picked the one supermarket that I shopped at when I lived in the state under question. See higher up in the thread.) Well, people on SNAP won’t be able to buy it anyway, because Wisconsin Republicans wrote a law to stop them from doing it. Not a law that says they can’t buy something that costs more than N dollars an ounce. A law that says they can’t buy sharp cheddar, even if it’s just as cheap as the other kind.

      I’m with you on taxing the rich for better safety nets, but the stupid shit that we subject people to once they’re in the safety net also has to go. It serves no purpose but humiliation.

      • ringtail

        Exactly. I don’t see the issue when every grocery store I’ve been to that I can remember had store-brand cheese of many varieties at the same price.

        Even if I accepted the argument that people on food assistance shouldn’t be able to buy the more expensive type of item (I don’t), it’s just petty and punitive to go out of your way to make that specification when in all likelihood it doesn’t make a difference economically.

      • ColBatGuano

        Plus, won’t sharp cheddar last a little longer when used in casseroles or mac and cheese?

      • paul.c.klos

        ” It serves no purpose but humiliation”

        That is one of the points I find most ugly. Having moved from Washington to Idaho one of the worst things I discovered is how school lunches are run. Mind you this Rural WA the red part so not Seattle or some liberal fantasy world.

        Take school lunch – In the small school my kids attended everyone just got a pin number that they all had to go in one line. That is nobody could know if you were getting a free lunch or paying or reduced price. Better still they had the staff enough to tell kids who had zero balance to pick the free pbj fruit and milk option before lunch line. Not bad really – an option my oldest daughter liked best anyway.

        But you see the point the whole system was rather built to avoid shaming kids no matter if they are poor or if their parents had just been lazy or whatever.

        I was frankly horrified when my son now in Idaho told me they had three lines for lunch and one was for anyone short on lunch money or on the free or reduced lunch options. Just hurry off to the back of the bus I guess and let’s make sure everyone knows about it.

    • Donalbain

      Sorry, but that is bullshit. How is it worse for someone to have a little bit of Gouda than to have a large amount of cheddar?

    • Origami Isopod

      We had to suffer, so everyone else should, too.”

      • Davis X. Machina

        How am I supposed to keep my crab bucket filled if they ban seafood?

        • efgoldman

          How am I supposed to keep my crab bucket filled if they ban seafood?

          Get your crabs from the blanket in that hourly-rental motel, same as everybody else.

    • Warren Terra

      As has been repeatedly stated elsewhere in this thread: sharp cheddar is often the same price as mild; shredded cheese is often the same price as a brick; and a restriction to one-pound packages means benefit recipients can’t purchase popular options such as 12 or 32 oz packages that when on sale or just in general are significantly cheaper per weight.

      No-one is suggesting unlimited funds and recipients going hog-wild; we’re saying that under the guise of imposing sensible purchasing terrible, demeaning, counterfactual guidelines are being imposed.

    • The Temporary Name

      But honestly the cheese rules posted above seem fairly reasonable.

      No they don’t. Please reread original post, entire thread and all links posted within.

  • DrDick

    Pleasure has to be earned! Damned moochers should be happy with their week old Wonderbread crusts and toilet water!

  • muddy

    There are some weatherization people working on my house. I just read out to them about the stupid cheese thing and some of the other items on the list. Asshole says to me, “Can you use foodstamps at McDonalds? Well, then!” Like he made some sort of point.

    I asked what in hell eating beans and cheese at home had to do with going to a restaurant? And why do they care if people want medium or sharp cheese, what does that have to do with ANYTHING?

    He mumbled, reddened and went back to his work. Hopefully he doesn’t do it wrong now to punish me.

  • Socrets

    I’m surprise they didn’t go the whole way and limit them only to bread and water.

  • Owlbear1

    So will Grocers who violate these rules face prison time?

    • Warren Terra

      At any modern supermarket this is all automated, they couldn’t violate the rules if they tried.

      • dtm0

        Though I do wonder if some of this (especially the distinction between Sharp and non-Sharp cheddar) isn’t the result of lobbying by companies that make grocery automation software. I imagine it’s profitable for that industry if legislatures find some food distinction that most such software didn’t previously track (say, if your store’s software didn’t code 8 oz. blocks and 16 oz. blocks differently at the level necessary to decide what’s food stamp-acceptable and what isn’t), and make that distinction part of next year’s authorization.

        Huzzah! Government-mandated IT spending for everyone!

  • Four Krustys

    I don’t get how people who are in favor of smaller gubmint can be OK with this kind of byzantine regulation. This looks like the bizzaro-world version of what conservatives think Michelle Obama’s on about with her various “maybe you should eat fewer fried hog anuses” programs.

    I’d like to note you can’t buy jelly beans (Ronald Reagan’s favorite food) or cottage cheese and ketchup (Nixon’s favorite food). Herbert Hoover said that the white race can’t survive without dairy products. I don’t recall him saying which kinds of dairy products. But you can buy broccoli just to disrespect Bush Sr.

    Republicans are directly spitting on the memories of several Republican presidents with this, and are pretty clearly trying to destroy the white race with these dairy product regulations. Disgusting and un-American, if you ask me.

    Of course, they’re also spitting on the graves of Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek, both of whom were in favor of a guaranteed minimum income for precisely the reasons that make these nitpicky regulations on welfare programs so silly. Just give poor people enough money to live on and let the free market work it out! Politburo style central planning of the economy is just so silly for stuff like this.

    • ringtail

      I don’t get how people who are in favor of smaller gubmint can be OK with this kind of byzantine regulation

      Oh, that’s because they’re ignorant hypocrites. This is a bit of a digression, but I don’t understand how people can be against the boogiemen of Big Government and “socialism” and also support the military and it’s huge budget and entitlement programs. Why isn’t it “socialism” when military members and their families get tax advantaged housing, subsidized food that they can buy in subsidized grocery stores, government medical/dental care, etc etc. If anything aren’t the value and success of those programs (and I would argue that they are both good and successful) be evidence that those kinds of programs would be great for the rest of us?

    • Origami Isopod

      I don’t get how people who are in favor of smaller gubmint can be OK with this kind of byzantine regulation.

      What they mean is, gubmint for the benefit of poors should be smaller. Gubmint for the benefit of wealthier people, and one such benefit is being able to lord it over the poors, should be larger.

      • tsam

        That’s right, because a rising tide lifts all boats. (Except the ones anchored to the bottom, but those boats had it coming because they don’t boat as hard as the other boats).

  • Johnny Sack

    I’m not sure I understand the prohibition on brown eggs. I mean, the brown/white egg distinction is basically the equivalent of black/white iPhones, it’s the color and nothing else. I imagine some people believe brown eggs are healthier or something which may drive up the price, but that’s about it.

    Also, mozzarella is awesome. Slice some tomatoes, slice some mozzarella, put some basil on it if you’re feeling fancy-some pepper, some balsamic and/or olive oil, easy and cheap lunch.

    • efgoldman

      I’m not sure I understand the prohibition on brown eggs.

      I don’t know about Wisconsin, but here in New England, at non-sale price, the brown eggs are generally a dime to a quarter per dozen more than white eggs. I have no idea why, unless it’s to pay for the commercials with that stupid jingle.

  • The next logical step, which I’m sure someone in the WI GOP has already thought of, is to eliminate all choice. Instead of SNAP cards people will get ration books. When they go to the designated food place they will be handed food not of their choosing. Sack of rice, sack of beans, sack of flour, maybe some milk and cheese, maybe a few eggs — whatever their betters think is appropriate.

    • The Temporary Name

      Gruel!

  • ricegol

    I didn’t see every single comment but has anyone pointed out that these proposed cheese rules are NO different than the restrictions on WIC? the WIC restrictions have been around for decades through administrations both Democratic and Republican. walk into any dairy aisle and you see signs that say “WIC approved” as you will with milk, fruit juice and cereal and baby food.

    now the stuff about restricting potatoes, and beans and whatnot is ridiculous demagoguery

    even if some assclown in Wisconsin wants to pass this legislation, I’m not sure it would stand up in federal court. while the states set eligibility rules, the feds set the SNAP rules on what can and cannot be purchased. I know for a fact that what you can or cannot buy in New Jersey is exactly the same as Pennsylvania.

  • OliversArmy

    While Monterey Jack and Colby Jack are fine cheeses, as a Republican I much prefer I Got Mine Jack.

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  • dtm0

    As someone who was only introduced to them in college, and only ever sees them around here in a niche store attached to an actual dairy, (that survives mostly on dairy tourism) I think of “Cheese curds” as a specialty snack.

    As such, it seems really bizarre that those are allowed but sharp cheddar (found right next to non-sharp cheddar and in every grocery store) would be disallowed.

    I mean, I get that they’re just the waste byproduct of making cheese, but such rationality considerations don’t seem to matter for the rest of the list.

  • mary who makes wiring harnesses

    I didn’t read all the comments but I wondered if anyone suggested that this is a WIC poster rather than a SNAP poster? WIC specifies what foods may be purchased. SNAP doesn’t.

    • Jenny Islander

      Apparently somebody is trying to make SNAP purchasers adhere to WIC restrictions.

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