ONTD Political

Cory Booker To Live On Food Stamps After Making Twitter Challenge

2:06 pm - 11/21/2012
Not content to simply rescue neighbors from burning buildings and invite cold Hurricane Sandy victims into his home, Cory Booker has a new plan to connect with his constituency. He's going to live on food stamps.

On Saturday, the Newark mayor and Twitter legend engaged in a back-and-forth with @MWadeNC, a self-described Army veteran and Army wife "fighting against any and all forms of socialism/communism."

It began, as all good Twitter spats do, with an ancient Greek proverb.

Another Twitter user accused Booker of wanting to "redistribute wealth," and @MWadeNC chimed in, writing that nutrition is not a responsibility of the government and questioning why children would need food provided at school as they already have access to food stamps.

Booker then proffered a challenge:

@MWadeNC agreed --tweeting "sure, Mayor, I'm game" -- but as of now, the details have not been finalized. Other Twitter users suggested both parties must clear their cupboards of food before beginning.

On Tuesday, Booker tweeted that he hopes to get others involved, and plans to kick the challenge off post-Thanksgiving.


@MWadeNC has now made her twitter private
tadashee 21st-Nov-2012 09:09 pm (UTC)
I love this man.
beokitty 22nd-Nov-2012 02:34 pm (UTC)
teacup_werewolf 21st-Nov-2012 09:21 pm (UTC)
Ugh can I say I am so frustrated with my EBT right now? It's such a crap shoot trying to raise my food allowance and now I have to re-apply.
not_emily 21st-Nov-2012 10:03 pm (UTC)
It's so frustrating to deal with. I still have no idea if I've been re-approved for FS or not. :/ It's impossible to get any answers unless you go into the office.
the_physicist 21st-Nov-2012 09:21 pm (UTC)
is this some theme? i keep hearing about people doing this food-stamp 'challenge' recently...
69love_songs 21st-Nov-2012 09:27 pm (UTC)
Some of my friends did this challenge where they had to live on £1 a day for a week. I personally thought it was total BS tbh, like where rich people sleep outside for the night to raise awareness about being homeless. Anybody can do it for a night, a week, whatever. Surely the hard part of poverty is the day-in, day-out, never knowing when or if things are going to get any better?

I just don't get it, and I think it's just a way for people who don't live in poverty to show how ~aware and ~awesome they are and then they can pat themselves on the back and we can all go home happy.
lux_roark 21st-Nov-2012 09:24 pm (UTC)
We're eligible for the free lunch program but not food stamps, so I don't understand why they think they go hand in hand.
d00ditsemily 21st-Nov-2012 09:57 pm (UTC)
Yeah I don't get that thought as well. When I was in school my mom didn't qualify for food stamps but we got free or reduced lunch.
shadwrayvn 21st-Nov-2012 09:50 pm (UTC)
I grew up on foodstamps & still use them today. I work my ass off & need a little help its people who never had to wonder when & if they would be able to eat today or tomorrow that say crap like that. My parents worked hard & did everything they could & fell short to be able to afford food & asked for help. It hurt my pride to get back on foodstamps as an adult but I needed to eat & so did my fiancee. Sorry for the bitchiness but it pisses me off how many people rag on it but never had to go through periods of hunger.
soleiltropiques 21st-Nov-2012 10:19 pm (UTC)

The notion that people are poor because they are lazy or somesuch is, quite simply, a fallacy. It is also a lie. One is rich largely out of LUCK (as well as being white, as well as other non negligible factors).

Poverty is also a self perpetuating cycle: (as an example, I post this text from the American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/pi/families/poverty.aspx?item=2)

"Psychological research has demonstrated that living in poverty has a wide range of negative effects on the physical and mental health and wellbeing of our nation’s children. Poverty impacts children within their various contexts at home, in school, and in their neighborhoods and communities. Poverty is linked with negative conditions such as substandard housing, homelessness, inadequate nutrition and food insecurity, inadequate child care, lack of access to health care, unsafe neighborhoods, and underresourced schools which adversely impact our nation’s children.
Poorer children and teens are also at greater risk for several negative outcomes such as poor academic achievement, school dropout, abuse and neglect, behavioral and socioemotional problems, physical health problems, and developmental delays. These effects are compounded by the barriers children and their families encounter when trying to access physical and mental health care.
Economists estimate that child poverty costs an estimated $500 billion a year to the U.S. economy; reduces productivity and economic output by 1.3 percent of GDP; raises crime and increases health expenditure (Holzer et al., 2008).

Poverty and academic achievement
Poverty has a particularly adverse effect on the academic outcomes of children, especially during early childhood. Chronic stress associated with living in poverty has been shown to adversely affect children’s concentration and memory which may impact their ability to learn. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that in 2008, the dropout rate of students living in low-income families was about four and one-half times greater than the rate of children from higher-income families (8.7 percent versus 2.0 percent). The academic achievement gap for poorer youth is particularly pronounced for low-income African American and Hispanic children compared with their more affluent White peers. Underresourced schools in poorer communities struggle to meet the learning needs of their students and aid them in fulfilling their potential. Inadequate education contributes to the cycle of poverty by making it more difficult for low-income children to lift themselves and future generations out of poverty.

Poverty and psychosocial outcomes
Children living in poverty are at greater risk of behavioral and emotional problems. Some behavioral problems may include impulsiveness, difficulty getting along with peers, aggression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and conduct disorder. Some emotional problems may include feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Poverty and economic hardship is particularly difficult for parents who may experience chronic stress, depression, marital distress and exhibit harsher parenting behaviors. These are all linked to poor social and emotional outcomes for children. Unsafe neighborhoods may expose low-income children to violence which can cause a number of psychosocial difficulties. Violence exposure can also predict future violent behavior in youth which places them at greater risk of injury and mortality and entry into the juvenile justice system.

Poverty and physical health
Children and teens living in poorer communities are at increased risk for a wide range of physical health problems: low birth weight; poor nutrition which is manifested in the following ways: inadequate food which can lead to food insecurity/hunger [and] lack of access to healthy foods and areas for play or sports which can lead to childhood overweight or obesity; chronic conditions such as asthma, anemia, and pneumonia; risky behaviors such as smoking or engaging in early sexual activity; exposure to environmental contaminants, e.g., lead paint and toxic waste dumps; exposure to violence in their communities which can lead to trauma, injury, disability, and mortality".

mollywobbles867 21st-Nov-2012 10:09 pm (UTC)
Tbh, I find this a little disgusting. Creating a challenge around living on food stamps is a little disrespectful to people who rely on them to survive. It reeks of privilege. I think Cory Booker is about stunts. Maybe I should research him to find substance, but everything I read about him here or hear on the news about him are stunts to make him look heroic.
d00ditsemily 21st-Nov-2012 10:55 pm (UTC)
I don't think he is about stunts. I think he's about perspective and doing good for his town. I don't think he does things because it makes him look good. He does them because it helps his town. He didn't have to save people from a burning building nor did he have to bring diapers, food, let people charge their devices at his own house etc.
beoweasel 21st-Nov-2012 10:09 pm (UTC)
"fighting against any and all forms of socialism/communism."

So you're against Social Security, Medicare, and the numerous programs that help Veterans and their families?
blondebeaker 21st-Nov-2012 11:49 pm (UTC)
Don't forget public schools, firefighters and libraries! iirc they are socialist programs too!
sihaya09 21st-Nov-2012 10:50 pm (UTC)
Dear MWadeNC: good luck surviving without socialized whatnots, like roads.
nicosian 22nd-Nov-2012 12:00 am (UTC)
an extended stint on welfare, a 500/m check that left me yes, 50 bucks for groceries, the rest was rent and utilities...I walked everywhere, in a major city, scrimping fares and nay, cheating fares sometimes, and I think I was so skinny at one point my periods stopped and I got bronchitis and pnuemonia several times a winter. nothing says hire-able like looking like walking death, lemme tells ya.

I think...that his challenge was to the "its easy!" camp, and a dare. and I sort of appreciate it because unless you walk a mile in someone else's shoes, even a day or two, you might never know the reality.

Its criminal what welfare pays here, to be honest and you wind up skirting the system just to make ends meet just a bit closer. A free piece of pizza means your food budget is extended by one day. A few bus tokens means you're not walking an hour in the driving rain to go to an interview.

And then you're supposed to look hire worthy. When you're starved, cold, beat down. Yeah. THAT works. Strip people of their dignity the yell bootstraps! I swear, its not just wanting people to pull themselves up, but just when you think you get an out, someone kicks you back in the pool. Its not enough to work yourself out of poverty, you apparently must pay penance before you can rise out of that class you've been unceremoniously thrown in.

And good luck at foodbanks. Moldy bread, clumpy milk, vegetables frozen and thawed and re frozen so much they're inedible. Useless. Only ever went twice, nothing was edible, not even remotely.

And then social workers will say "if someone offered you a job if you slept with them, why didn't you?" ( no, really. I was asked this.)

I don't begrudge anyone the need of assistance.
romp 22nd-Nov-2012 02:23 am (UTC)
I wish everyone could have your knowledge. I trust things are better now.
ajremix 22nd-Nov-2012 12:05 am (UTC)
It always boggles my fucking mind when fellow military members go on about how such and such isn't the government's responsibility. As if the government doesn't cover their medical, or their housing, or their uniforms on top their pay. As if the government doesn't help cover student or housing loans or foot all the bills if you live in barracks. As if the government doesn't build schools specifically for their children or houses specifically for their families.
kitchen_poet 22nd-Nov-2012 12:24 am (UTC)
What really freaks me out is when you read articles like this on Yahoo News or Faux News or whatever, and the 3000+ comments are all variants of "$3 for a family of four?!? That's nothing!! If people didn't buy caviar they could EASILY live on that! I live on less than that and have for 30 years!" etc. etc.

I wish that in addition to living off an EBT budget, these celebrities would also consider only buying groceries once per week at a play that is on a main bus route, like a 7-11, as well as trying to cook from scratch to save money after working a 12 hour day and then picking up children, helping with homework, cleaning the house, etc.
veracity 22nd-Nov-2012 12:39 am (UTC)
Or has to budget in the high price of gas for areas like suburban Atlanta were the buses aren't always a viable option.

(And is that a Handmaid's icon?)
fm_gatekeeper 22nd-Nov-2012 01:21 am (UTC)
Fucking this x1000000.
thedorkygirl 22nd-Nov-2012 09:19 am (UTC)
Didn't a mayor in Oregon do this? He gained weight from the crappy food he bought, but I'm not sure if he was trying to buy good quality stuff JUST so he could prove a point (It's been a few years, but that's what I remember thinking).
halfshellvenus 27th-Nov-2012 10:03 pm (UTC)
I love this guy. If he ever gets tired of being mayor, I hope he runs for state Senate/Governor so he can work his way toward the Presidency.

A million "Buh-bye"s to @MWadeNC, who was ready to throw the crap out there but not to live with the backlash.

For those who find this an offensive stunt... I can see why it might strike you that way, especially if food stamps/public assistance are or have been part of your life.

But I think his larger point is that living on food stamps is NOT easy, and that people who toss out that ready dismissal should be prepared to find out how difficult it is. For those who need food stamps, they really matter, and for so many people that's just one part of the economic picture that is going very, very badly for them.

So, part of the challenge he's extending is, "Find out how much harder and more complicated this is than people like to callously assume." And the other part, knowing him, will be the reminder that for many people, this is a small fraction of the larger economic struggle they're going through to help their families survive.
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