Yum! Brands -- parent company of such fast-food chains as KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell -- is currently lobbying the Kentucky state government to allow people to use their food stamps in its restaurants. Is this an example of unabashed corporate greed trying to divert state benefits from buying healthy eats? Or is it a finger-licking solution to food insecurity?
We say it's both. Is it fair that "income insecure" people be deprived of enchiritos and triple sausage pizzas just because they don't have any money? No. So here are our top five reasons why people should get to buy fast food with food stamps.5. Poor people like fried chicken. They do. There's probably a poll out there that says so, and even if there isn't, you can find proof in the permacrowd cramming their spitters with extra crispy outside the Popeye's on Colfax every single night. The KFC top brass already has all the evidence it needs, and putting up window signs stating "We accept SNAP" would cost less than an extra side of gravy.
4. The delicious taste of socialism.
If Friedrich Engels (his name starts with "fried," after all) and Karl Marx were alive today, they would say that American society needs our means of production to be cooperatively owned, with free bean burritos for all. Equal access to deep-fried foods in order to level the playing field isn't just an ideal -- it's already happening in Michigan, Arizona and parts of California. The rest of the country just needs to catch up. And that includes Colorado, where food stamps can't be used on any fast food except, arguably, Papa Murphy's -- because the pizza isn't cooked.3. Job creation!
Employment opportunities in the field of social services and the fast-food industry are so coveted and high-paying that creating more jobs would definitely boost our flagging economy, and hiring extra help for the first and 15th of every month would help bump a lot of low-income folks up the ladder a notch to slightly-less-poor so that they can afford to buy Gorditas with actual money...and everybody wins.2. Fox News fodder. Whenever the poor people start getting too mouthy, Fox News is there. Whenever poor people get things that they shouldn't be able to afford, Fox News is there. State governments picking up the tabs for taco dinners will give Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly something else to scream about besides Occupy Wall Street,, and the first one to call for a Pizza Hut boycott wins a six-figure book deal.
1. Inventive capitalism.
Those people who stand out in grocery-store parking lots selling their food stamps for fifty cents on the dollar will be able to expand their client base to fast-food restaurant consumers, and maybe even bring the market value of their stamps to sixty or even seventy cents cash. And, with any luck, the parking lot tamale sellers -- their competitors -- will get squeezed out. A free-market economy is a bitch.