Food stamps are all the rage these days—one in five New Yorkers are on 'em, using stamps to pay for everything from Wonder bread to organic Japanese eggplant. So it makes sense that more businesses would want a piece of the food stamp pie—businesses like fast food restaurants, to be exact.
As more establishments are approved to accept food stamps, fast food restaurants want in, too. Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut and Long John Silver's are some of the chains lobbying to get with the program, which has some big money behind it—food stamp benefits rose from $28 billion to $64 billion between 2005 and 2010.
Anti-hunger advocates support the move—Coalition for the Homeless said that for people who don't live near a grocery store and can't afford a restaurant, "This would allow people to get a reduced price meal at a small deli or a restaurant, and that does include fast-food restaurants." Federal officials have already rejected Bloomberg's attempts to ban people from buying soda with food stamps, and fast food isn't that different.
But public health advocates say the government shouldn't be subsidizing fast food. "It's preposterous that a company like Yum! Brands [owner of Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut and Long John Silver's] would even be considered for inclusion in a program meant for supplemental nutrition," said a spokeswoman for Yale's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. Fast food leads to public health complications that will probably weigh even more heavily on taxpayers in the future, so...you know, vicious cycle.