Newark mayor and all-around mensch Cory Booker made the grand mistake of tweeting something about the disparity between the rich and the poor the other day. God forbid the mayor of a poor city should express empathy for the poor. At any rate, unsurprisingly, some person who thinks poor people are just potential rich people who don’t feel like doing anything tweeted back that “nutrition is not a responsibility of the government.” And then Cory was like, OK, dude, you think being poor is just like, this thing that people do for fun when they’re too lazy to go out and run a hedge fund? Let’s try to live off food stamps for a week. We will do it together. You will see how the fuck it goes and how you like it. But to the guy’s credit, he was game.
Their food-stamp-off is being moderated by the University of Bridgeport — they are doing something similar with the public this December — and it has some rules. Mostly like you can’t go, “Oh, I’m going to live off food stamps plus the giant bag of stuff from Whole Foods that my friends bring over and also all the stuff I eat at parties, too.” They have to really only eat what they can buy with their food stamps.
However this plays out, you have to admit that Booker — what with letting people charge phones at his house, his general outreach to all corners of the community, and now this willingness to at least experience a taste of being poor — is a pretty cool guy. We’re not going all Booker 2016 just yet, but at least he puts his food stamps where is mouth is.
Cory Booker May Soon Be Living Off Food Stamps, New York Magazine.