, Derry, New Hampshire

October 3, 2013

Letters to the editor

Derry News

---- — Food benefits don’t provide much to eat

To the editor:

I took the SNAP Challenge. I agreed to limit my food consumption to $4.50 per day for one week. Per day, not per meal. $4.50 per day is the average amount a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) participant is allotted.

Taking the challenge seriously, I scoured newspaper ads and made a tentative list based on sale items. Cold cereal, milk, eggs, soup, canned tuna, ham steak or chicken, raw vegetable medley, margarine, potatoes or rice, grapes, apples, bananas, or pears, bread, cold cuts, fresh vegetables. I headed off to the grocery and browsed prices. I found that the actual deals involved purchasing multiple quantities of the same item. Before heading for the checkout, I quickly added up my costs. I then returned various items to the shelf which I could not afford. I ended up with a box of bran flakes, a half-gallon of milk, one dozen eggs, four cans of soup, four cans of tuna, a ham steak on sale for $2.96, two vegetable medleys, margarine, grapes, 3 bananas, bread, and a package of rice pilaf on sale for 79 cents. When available, I bought store brand items. No coffee, no juice. Tap water was to be my beverage for the week. Total price was $30.43.

Meals quickly became repetitive. Cold cereal or a fried egg for breakfast, egg sandwich or soup for lunch; ham, rice, and steamed (rather limp) veggies for dinner, with an option for tuna on toast instead of ham and rice. Bananas and grapes were my treat for the week. I quickly learned grocery stores could not accept my food stamp EBT card for a sandwich from the deli. Derryfest occurred in the middle of my challenge week. To my chagrin, I could not buy food at the vendor booths. Instead I packed a cold egg sandwich and a handful of grapes. Going out to eat with friends was out of the question.

At the end of the challenge, I had some tuna, soup, eggs and cereal left over. Had I not bought in bulk to get the sale prices, perhaps some breakfast juice or cookies would have made it in my cart. Had I been on the program for a month, more variety would have been possible. But never would I have been able to buy the fresh meat and vegetables I am used to eating. The grocery I used to get the best prices was 10 miles round trip from my home. If I had purchased similar items at the convenience store within walking distance, it would have cost approximately $54.

Relatively speaking, I am a small woman. An adult male or a teenage boy would have easily consumed twice the amount of food I did and still be craving a Big Mac. Anyone who believes a person on the SNAP program is living high off the hog, should try it for a week.

State Rep. Mary Till


Prejudice drives opposition to president

To the editor:

Most Americans of whatever political affiliation are proud of our country even though their reasons for that pride may differ. I’m particularly proud that we have a country governed by laws that are arrived at by elected representatives, not by force. And that over time those laws, reflecting the attitudes of the majority, have consistently moved in the direction of supporting the rights of a diverse population, overcoming legal discrimination and creating an atmosphere for at least reducing societal prejudice—against blacks, women, Jews, homosexuals, and more.

But, sad to say, prejudice still exists and, in my view, is on display in a large portion of the opposition to the president. The whole “birther” foolishness has no basis other than the facts of the president’s skin color and “different” name.

Less silly but more important, the virulence of the objections to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) seems totally out of proportion to the reality of what the legislation does. This law provides health care to millions of people, not through the government but through free market commercial insurance companies. The government is less involved than it is in Medicare, a government insurance system liked by most, if not all, its participants. Why object so vehemently rather than trying to work on making the law better — maybe because it is a notable accomplishment of the man they don’t believe is a “proper” president for our country.

It is truly a shame to see one of the major political arms of our country captured by a vocal minority displaying this kind of mindless prejudice.

Robert Wilkinson


End Obamacare and fund the government

To the editor:

Recently, two Democrats joined Republicans in the House of Representatives in passing (230-189) a continuing resolution that stops this Washington politician-caused national disaster created by Obamacare (aka the inappropriately named Affordable Care Act).

Obamacare’s passage in 2010 showed how little Washington Democrats care about the American people or about really improving health care for Americans. Obamacare was written in secret and passed by Democratic senators and congressmen who didn’t even read the bill! Democrats passed Obamacare without a single Republican vote and against the clear wishes of a vast majority of the American people who still oppose Obamacare despite hundreds of speeches and billions of dollars spent promoting it.

Obamacare has had a disastrous effect on jobs causing reduced incomes or lost jobs for millions of Americans. Important Obamacare promises were broken: health insurance premiums are increasing, people are losing their doctors and insurance coverage, and health related costs are up, not down. Things were far better before Obamacare.

Former Obamacare supporters (businesses, labor unions, government workers including Congress and its staff, etc.,) are now requesting, and President Obama often grants, exemptions from Obamacare. The rest of us are just left to suffer.

Our future with Obamacare promises to be even worse as 150 new government bureaucracies will control (interfere with) everything related to the health-care industry. Bureaucrats can even punish doctors and hospitals for providing treatments that Obamacare formulas say are not “cost justified”, no matter what the doctor believes is best for the patient.

Obamacare’s disastrous impacts (on jobs, on people who lose insurance, on health care quality and availability, and on our nation’s growing national debt) make Obamacare not worth the harm it is doing, especially to the 85 percent of Americans who already had health insurance.

The House passed continuing resolution fully funds all government programs except Obamacare.

It is time to end this failed experiment in government controlled health care. Tell Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and other senators to pass the continuing resolution which stops Obamacare and funds the rest of the government. Tell President Obama to end this failed experiment in government controlled healthcare.

Don Ewing