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Weiner Proposes Food Stamp Incentive For Produce

NEW YORK (WCBS 880 / CBS 2) — With millions of adults considered overweight in the United States and obesity becoming a nationwide epidemic, Congressman Anthony Weiner may have a novel solution to get people to eat their veggies.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reports

Weiner (D-Brooklyn, Queens) is proposing a bill that would give a 50 percent discount to food stamp recipients who buy fresh produce using their Electronic Benefits Transfer card.

Under the proposal, the food stamp program would pay the grocer the full amount, but recipients would have 50 percent of the cost deducted from their EBT card.

“The unfortunate fact of life is the cheapest foods on the shelves at supermarkets are those with lots of preservatives, lots of sugar and lots of salt,” Weiner told WCBS 880.

“We think this is a good way to incentivize good behavior and also to save tax payers a lot of money because obese citizens wind up costing the treasury an enormous amount,” Weiner said.

“This would not only help low income people that get these benefits to eat more produce — which would reduce the obesity, but it would also help supermarkets and bodegas because they would continue to get the same reimbursement for these products.”

  • Angry Taxpayer

    Is Marc serious? They don’t have time? They don’t friggin work! they have nothing but time. unless they’re out gettin their hair hair and nails down. Or sleppin late cuz dey out all nite at da club.

  • Sally


    But wait! Soda’s up 20% and fruits, veggies almost 200%! If you’re losing your home or being killed with doctor bills, you’re looking for cheap food.

    How abotu some other ideas–change the law so grocers could give price breaks for frutis and vegetables to EBT customers, or make convenience and liquor stores that qualify for EBT carry a minimum stock of fresh food or don’t stores to put up shelf promotions to buy junk food with EBT!

  • Pete

    And, who is doing to pay for this?

    • dave the taxpayer

      Got a mirror?

  • ken

    Anyone trying to change these handouts to make the system fair is called a racist and laughed at. We deserve what happens to us!

  • Stan

    Disgusted, I agree

    How often am I at the supermarket, yet a patron pays for their entire cart load of junk with EBT benefits, then loads up the Escalade… good country this America… and yet on 60 Minutes this evening, American War Vets who fought for this country remain homeless in search of catfood to survive….

    Priorities anyone?

    • Working Man AKA sucker

      Of course they have priorities Her: Hair and Nails Him: Rims and Tires, and don’t forget WEED!!! I deliver chinese take out and the subsidised housing always REEKs of pot. When you have free rent, food, healthcare, heating. you got all that extra cash to get high.

  • Disgusted

    Next problem I suggest while tackling my ever-increasing taxes… regulate what types of vehicles those using EBT and NYCHA benefits drive. I make a good salary, but combined with my mortgage and grocery expenses, atop other things, I can’t afford a Mercedez or BMW. My opinion, neither should those living in NYCHA buildings. If you can afford a luxury vehicle, by all means, you can afford suitable rent, and food for your table…

  • john rings

    As a retired cook i can say cooking isn’t as time consuming as people who don’t cook much think 20 min.lunch,30 to50 min. supper and it’s easy and fun if you make it a family affair as it should be.

  • Glenn

    That is an excellent idea, somebody give this man a raise!

  • David

    My mother worked all her life and still managed to cook a good healthy mean for all 6 of us kids. Anyone has the time to take care of their family if they make it a priority.

  • Steve M.

    Here’s a novel solution. Cut the EBT budget so that people can’t buy all that food. Weight loss problem solved…

    • David

      that would be too easy of a solution.

  • marc

    it is a great idea. trouble is i imagine a single mom with two or three children has no or little time to cook and clean when you use “cheap” food, like rice, raw meat, and flour, milk and yeast for bread. it takes time.
    BUT if fresh fruits and vegetables were cheaper, maybe more wuld be put on the table. really good idea!!

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