Mayes Middleton was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His father was a millionaire, and so were his grandfather and great-grandfather. In fact, Middleton’s great-great-great-grandfather made a fortune on free land and free labor before the Civil War and passed his wealth down to Middleton’s great-grandfather, who invested it in oil in the early 1900s. As a result, the Middleton family has been one of the wealthiest families in Texas for over 100 years.
That’s why it should make everyone angry that Middleton is now proposing a bill to limit what SNAP recipients eat or drink.
Just so everyone understands the difference between millionaire Mayes Middleton and a family on food stamps, here is the current maximum amount of monthly income limits a person can earn to receive food stamps in Texas:
Why is this bill terrible?
Besides the fact that it’s being proposed by an ultra-wealthy senator who has never had to scrape pennies together for a meal, there are several reasons.
1. It infringes on a person’s individual liberty.
Instead of attacking low-income consumers, why is the blame never shifted to the companies responsible for making unhealthy products? If lawmakers are so concerned about what people eat, they should call up Coca-Cola and discuss how much sugar is in their soft drinks.
Or how about stronger guidelines from the FDA that limit the use of sugar added to drinks?
2. Millions of Texans live in food deserts and don’t have access to healthy food and drink choices.
According to the USDA, food deserts are low-income communities struggling to get healthy and affordable food. If retailers do not offer healthy choices, expecting people to make them is unreasonable. Pushing these policies implies that people have a choice when they don’t.
When walking into a food store in a food desert community, if there is one, you will find soda, chips, candy, and tobacco. If the government is so concerned about what SNAP recipients eat, they should address the access to food people have in their communities.
3. A program like this would cost taxpayers millions.
This program would determine which items a person can or cannot purchase with a SNAP card by classifying certain products on the back end. Considering that more than 650,000 food and beverage products on the market today and thousands more are added each year, this would greatly increase the administrative burden of the SNAP program.
The complexity is multiplied because there is no clear standard for defining foods as “healthy” or “unhealthy.” Creating such standards would entail substantial administrative costs to categorize and track the nutritional profile of each good to produce a SNAP-eligible foods list. In addition, the list would have to be maintained continuously and communicated to retailers and consumers in real-time.
4. People already eat healthier when given SNAP benefits.
A study found that in a Summer EBT program that gave families $60 per month in benefits per eligible child, to offset the loss of school meals, that children assigned to receive additional benefits improved their diets, consuming more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products, and fewer sugar-sweetened beverages.
What would Middleton’s ban include?
- Energy drinks
- Fruit or vegetable juice that contain sugar
- Potato chips
Millionaire Mayes Middleton wants the government to control the lives of people living in poverty but cares nothing about their environment and access to affordable and quality health care or housing.
If he wanted poor people to do better, why didn’t he focus on raising the minimum wage, fighting discrimination, or boosting food regulations? Mayes could also work on implementing anti-poverty programs in Texas. Any of these efforts would improve the health of low-income people and help them afford healthy food.
Millionaire Mayes Middleton doesn’t care about improving public health.
If he did, he would write a bill that banned junk food for everyone in Texas.
So, why is millionaire Mayes Middleton singling out SNAP recipients? Because he wants to demonize the habits and choices of underserved, under-resourced, over-worked, and underpaid neighbors in our community to justify cutting funding for the government programs that help them.
This is an attempt to judge, stigmatize, and punish food stamp users from a millionaire who has never experienced hunger in his life.
You can now read an ad-free version of Living Blue in Texas and help support our mission to turn Texas blue. Sign up now.
You agree to receive updates from Living Blue in Texas by clicking submit. We will not sell or share your information. Use the unsubscribe link in those emails to opt-out at any time.
You must be logged in to post a comment.