Electronic music superstar Moby faced backlash for his outspoken views on food stamps and nutrition this week.
In an article
for The Wall Street Journal titled “Food Stamps Shouldn’t Pay for Junk,” the vocal vegan
argued that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) should offer more health-conscious foods for purchase.
Moby is no stranger to SNAP. He relied on it while growing up in a single-parent household. “The Food Stamp Program started as a way to help people whose shelves were empty,” he said. “It certainly helped my family. My mother was a single parent who struggled to make ends meet in wealthy Darien, Conn., during the 1970s. We relied on food stamps until I was 16.”
However, the singer disagreed with the program’s propensity towards unhealthy foods.
“SNAP rules allow stores to distribute candy, soda, cheese products, energy drinks, processed meats and lots of other items that end up seriously compromising the health of SNAP recipients,” he wrote.
He pointed out the statistic that SNAP participants are more likely to have worse diets and suffer from obesity than people at the same income level who don’t participate in the program.
“Large industrial food producers love a program that obliges the government to pay for anything and everything they produce,” he pointed out. “Selling soda, candy and heavily processed meats is easy when the government picks up the tab. Under SNAP, the big food conglomerates go to the bank while the poor end up in the emergency room.”
Moby went on to suggest that the program should focus more on “cheap, healthy foods like beans, vegetables, fruit and whole grains.”
“The U.S. can have healthier people, lower health-care costs, and a trimmer budget at the same time,” he penned.
Naturally, his opinion drew a strong response on social media. Many felt he was shaming
the poor, while others pointed out the unavoidable fact that healthy foods are often too expensive.
Others attributed the singer’s critical views to the cultural gulf
between an affluent celebrity and the financially disadvantaged.
Some responses touted
Moby’s ideals for a more health-conscious SNAP.
As Moby pointed out himself though, as is often the case for many government issues, money may be the driving force behind the problem he is criticizing. Until it can be resolved without adverse financial repercussions, change may be unlikely.