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Blind men in the economic driver’s seat

home ec


TEXAS, June 20, 2013 ― Several Democratic politicians recently participated in the SNAP Challenge, a publicity effort that challenges people to eat on the average Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program allotment — more commonly known as food stamps — of $31.50 a week per person. Whatever impact the SNAP Challenge has on the policy debate about the funding of the program, it certainly proved that some of the elected officials in charge of producing a budget for the entire nation cannot handle a simple grocery plan.

In addition to making poor budgeting decisions, like the $1.08 spent on a single boiled egg, they made abysmal nutritional choices, such as lunching on half a loaf of white bread. Whether the politicians who engaged in this challenge were deliberately obtuse or are honestly incompetent, neither alternative should give citizens any comfort. The economy is a serious issue for Americans, and this challenge demonstrates that our elected representatives are incapable of living as the average American does: budgeting and working to provide nutritious meals for our families.

The resulting photos and reports were cringe-inducing for one overlooked and oft-maligned group: the home economist. The SNAP Challenge demonstrates that the concept of managing a household is not one valued by our institutions. Fewer and fewer schools teach Home Economics, and households with one parent who stays home are vastly outnumbered by households where both parents work. This culture shift means that much of the necessary knowledge to successfully manage a household isn’t being widely learned.

Read more at my Washington Times Communities Pages column, Between Errands.

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