What You Don't Know You Don't Know About Food Stamps

Monday, August 11, 2014

There's a lot of data about who uses food stamps, but the information about how some businesses profit off the SNAP program is not available. That could soon change. Krissy Clark, correspondent for the wealth and poverty desk at Marketplace, explains what we might learn (and why we should care) about how companies do business with food stamps.


Krissy Clark

Comments [13]

Eugenia Renskoff from NYC

Hi, Food stamps help some people, but Walmart, Target and other big businesses should not pay their employees so little that they have to be on for stamps. Walmart, Target, etc. still can make big profits and offer their employees decent wages. There ought to be a law against these business giants not paying good enough wages. Eugenia Renskoff

Aug. 11 2014 04:32 PM
Christy Park from Brooklyn, NY

Hello, What was the farmer's name who called in? I wanted to reach out and share news about The Thornton Foundation. Our team is spearheading The Thornton Foundation to create sustainable farmland within areas of the country adjacent to food deserts. We know we are not alone and will be launching an online campaign shortly to garner interest in The Thornton Foundation's mission to combat poverty, food insecurity, income inequality, and environmental distress.

Aug. 11 2014 03:16 PM

Sorry, Rich and the farmer who called in about making food stamps a direct. Making benefit programs judgemental causes higher bureaucratic costs and makes the government the decider of consumer decisions. Not up there with public housing, which by definition does everything possible wrong, but down the same alley. The less control and the more consumer choice in all benefit programs is for the best and reduces corruption from all sides besides.

Making SNAP a direct small farmer subsidy and then giving out free food in poor neighborhoods is the worst idea ever for about a hundred reasons. Just an absurdly completely self serving idea from a small farmer which deserved, as is often the case, either a rebuke from Lehrer or from a caller but didn't get either.

Aug. 11 2014 11:30 AM
pliny from soho

walmart offers a laundry detergent online for $9
that both local chain stores here sell for $24
is it a surprise that people trying to stretch a dollar
spend their food stamps a walmart?

Aug. 11 2014 11:25 AM
EJ from East Village

At the 4th Street Food Co-op, which is open to the public, we give a discount to shoppers who use SNAP, because we want to make healthy and sustainably-grown food more affordable. I think I speak for most members when I say that we'd have no problem with disclosure of our (disaggregated) sales numbers.

What I'd really like to know is how much JP Morgan Chase makes off the administration of the SNAP program.

Aug. 11 2014 11:22 AM

The WalMart argument about proprietary information is anti-capitalist. Every business and every government agency - OK, everyone - wants all information to be private. One pillar of capitalism is that economic information is accessible to all players. From the consumer viewpoint, this is one reason a free enterprise medical system doesn't work - every shop for an operation? You can't get the price information and information on and expertise to judge quality is way beyond you, among other things, like having a stroke isn't an ideal time to shop around.

And it's not like particularly big corporations can't figure out any information they want. Public disclosure just makes it easier.

Aug. 11 2014 11:22 AM

The aggregate amounts 'taken in' should certainly be reported! If only to dispel the fear that employers are purposefully attracting food stamp eligible labor to get greater access to their SNAP allotments.

This is pretty much a no-brainer. You cannot manage what you do not measure.

Aug. 11 2014 11:20 AM
Lezlie from Flatbush, Brooklyn

I just wanted to add that there are some great CSA's that accept food stamps and that operate on a sliding scale, including the Flatbush Farmshare in Brooklyn.

This is such an important way to expand access to good quality, fresh farm food for people who live in the neighborhood surrounding the pickup site.

Hopefully more CSA's will make this same choice - ours is full every year!

Aug. 11 2014 11:20 AM
Chriss from Montclair, NJ

Not surprised by this. For many, Walmart is the only place that sells everything- unlike NYC's speciality shops for every need. So it makes sense that they serve more "folks" on foodstamps.

But so what? So long as those in need get what they need, why is Walmart the bad guy?

Or should the Gov. produce, distribute and sell the food themselves?

Aug. 11 2014 11:14 AM
the Truth from Rebekah

Sounds like the compilation of this information is gain for businesses, I still have not heard why I should care...scandalous.

Aug. 11 2014 11:13 AM
Rich from Jersey City

I propose that food stamps used at small businesses or farm markets count double over food stamps used in multi-nationals.

Aug. 11 2014 10:59 AM
BigGuy from Forest Hills

Brian, please correct your error on air.

US Treasury does not allocate SNAP, USDA does.

Aug. 11 2014 10:59 AM
BigGuy from Forest Hills

Brian, please correct your error on air.

US Treasury does not allocate SNAP, USDA does.

Aug. 11 2014 10:55 AM

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