Keine Roten Kartoffeln für Sie!

Auch keine Garnelen, in Wisconsin.* (Seriously! See page 3, line 9, and lines 14-15, in the bill) From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Under [the] bill, food stamp recipients could not use the program to buy crab, lobster, shrimp or other shellfish. Additionally, they would have to use two-thirds of their benefits on beef, pork, chicken, produce or foods that qualify for the federal Women, Infants and Children nutrition program. The remainder could be used on foods already allowed under the food stamps program, other than shellfish.

The bill passed the Assembly, and is now on the way to the state Senate.[1]

Here is the text of Assembly Bill 177.

I must confess I find the restriction on shrimp a bit odd, given the fact that the price of farmed shrimp relative to ground beef has fallen drastically over the past 17 years. (Only partly because ground beef prices have risen over 200% since 2009M11, according to the BLS.) In fact, aside from the command-and-control nature of the law, the choice seems a bit ethnocentric. (Hamburger chop suey doesn’t strike me as an appealing low cost meal…)

Implementation of the monitoring required for the new restrictions is estimated to cost several million dollars.[2]

* No red potatoes for you! Also no shrimp, in Wisconsin.

14 thoughts on “Keine Roten Kartoffeln für Sie!

  1. Brett

    Implementation of the monitoring required for the new restrictions is estimated to cost several million dollars.

    Naturally. Of course, they might see it as a “spend money to make money” thing – if they make the constraints on SNAP usage so strict that few people can use it, then they can brag about how much money they’ve saved on the program, and use it as a rationale to cut its funding even more. Meanwhile, it’s popular with the suburban white racists outside Milwaukee who don’t like the idea of poor black people being able to eat on their dime.

    1. Sherparick

      And when they lose their jobs and apply for food stamps, they will blame it on Obama because they “don’t get the benefits black people get.” See idiot in South Carolina.

  2. Jay

    Save the enforcement costs for the government. 200% sales tax on items you don’t want them buying…. see the Berkeley tax on sugary drinks (except the high sugar espresso/latte drinks politicians are addicted to and the contributions/bribes from starbucks).

  3. genauer

    To add my German 2 cents to it:

    There are practically no red potatoes in Germany.

    Youer control freaks in Milwaukee seems to have one thing in common with the leader of the “communist” platform in the German parliament (yes, we have those), Sahra Wagenknecht, Economics PhD, that it is

    verboten for the poor to be seen eating lobster, at least erase the pictures : – )

    On other economic news, why is ground beef and dairy so expensive in the US? Agriculture should be more economically in the US

    1 liter milk is 55 eurocent, with 1.2 Dollar fair value , that would be 2.5 $/gallon
    ground beef 2.29 Euro for 500 g = 2.49 Dollar per lb
    lb spaghetti 49 cent
    10 eggs 99 cent

    1. PeakTrader

      German consumers spend about 12% of their income on food.

      U.S. consumers spend a little more than 6% of their income on food.

  4. Ricardo

    Aldi is a low to middle cost grocery. The best cut of ground beef at Aldi is $4.49/lb. Shrimp at Aldi $6.49/lb. Now it makes sense in Keynesian heaven to pay $2.00 more since that will increase spending which will go directly to increasing the GDP and so stimulate the economy.

    But that misses the larger point. As Menzie moves forward in his campaign for universal SNAP we have to understand that restrictions on selections will have to relaxed. Can you imagine a college president giving up tofu and arugula for hotdogs and beans, except in some ethnic event?

    I applaud Menzie for moving SNAP forward and taking a stand for freedom in food choices..

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Ricardo: I thought my point that more freedom would be better than less, even for the poor, would appeal to you. But now I suspect that freedom of choice should only be reserved for the rich, in your world.

      Personally, a few shrimp in a dish of chop suey beats a pound of ground beef in the same. But I suspect that nuance eluded you.

      Keep on adding together percentage changes on different bases to get a total percentage change. I keep on laughing and laughing over that one…

    2. genauer

      Do you care to present some link for your food income fractions?

      The idea that higher prices are good seems very strange to Germans. The basis of our “ordoliberal” social market economy is cut-throat competition.

      Most people in Germany are paying cash and the plain idea that somebody should control what you spend, even for the poor, sounds bizarre here.
      If some prefer a diet of alcohol and tobacco, so be it.

      1. Ricardo


        I would agree with you if they were spending their own money but they are not. They are getting money from taxpayers. It is illogical to then say that taxpayers have no say in how it is spent.

  5. pete

    Beef? Shrimp? How about dried beans like the rest of the world? I once did a linear programming model with prices and nutritional requirements and essentially came up with a silly corner solution of all beans. Cheaper and healthier!

  6. Ricardo

    This quote, from a discussion of the woes of Illinois in attracting business, may help put Wisconsin’s labor conditions in perspective.

    The most recent (2011) Tax Foundation data put Illinois at #13 out of 50 states, which is bad but not disastrous. (Numbers 1 through 4 are NY, NJ, CT and CA respectively). But perhaps more relevant to Illinois’s situation is that almost all the states around it are lower, including Ohio (#18), Michigan (#21), Indiana (#22), Kentucky (#23), Iowa (#29) and Missouri (#33). The only neighboring state ranked higher is Wisconsin (#5), and there they have been cutting taxes aggressively under Republican leadership of recent vintage.

    The author asks: So if you have an idea for a new factory and money to build it, are you going to invest it in Galesburg, Illinois, where you will be a sitting duck for high current taxes, big coming tax increases and predatory unions? When you could just as easily go to any of those neighboring states and avoid all those problems? That is, all those neighboring states except Wisconsin. Obviously, prior administrations have created problems in Wisconsin that the current Wisconsin Democrat Party are fighting tooth and nail to maintain.

  7. Mitch Beales

    I’m surprised pork is allowed when shellfish is not. Aren’t both an abomination in the eyes of the lord? Is one allowed meat and dairy in the same purchase?

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