Booker proposed the challenge after getting into a Twitter discussion with a user named TwitWit, who describes herself on Twitter as a “Daughter of the American Revolution, fighting against any and all forms of socialism/communism.. Army Veteran, Army Daughter, Army Wife.”
At first, Booker had tweeted a Greek proverb:
An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.
TwitWit accused Booker of wanting to redistribute wealth, and then the two eventually began talking about the government’s role in funding school breakfast and lunch programs. TwitWit stated that nutrition is not the responsibility of the government.
Eventually the conversation turned to food stamps when TwitWit wrote:
why is there a family today that is "too poor to afford breakfast"? are they not already receiving food stamps?
That’s when Booker followed up with the challenge:
Lets you and I try to live on food stamps in New Jersey (high cost of living) and feed a family for a week or month. U game?
TwitWit agreed to the challenge.
In New Jersey, according the 2011 fiscal year, the average monthly food stamp benefit was $133.26 a person. Meaning, those taking the challenge will have to live on about $4 dollars a day.
According to the Associated Press, Booker told reporters, "This will not be a gimmick or a stunt," but provides an opportunity "for us to grow in compassion and understanding" and dispel stereotypes. A few months ago, a Phoenix Mayor also tried to live on a food stamp budget and noted that he was “tired” and it was “hard to focus.”
We have a shared responsibility that kids go to school nutritionally ready 2 learn.
The AP also landed an interview with TwitWit, who is a 39-year-old woman from North Carolina and who said she does not oppose food stamps, but thinks that the more taxpayer money designated to the food stamp program, the more people will need them.
She told the AP, “There is going to be a lot more of us needing those food stamps if it doesn't stop.”
Ironically, she seemed in need of some financial relief as well, stating that her family is “Six months away from being in debt and on welfare ourselves."
She added, "Most of us are in the same boat. … Some of us just aren't getting the assistance."
Meanwhile, FOX News has reported on Booker’s challenge with an extreme insensitivity toward food stamp recipients.
Media Matters reported that FOX pundit Andrea Tantaros disgustingly said she “would ‘look fabulous’ if she were forced to on a food stamp diet.”
That means a mayor would have to live off of what the average in his city makes, a govenor for those of his state, and those who are in the different positions do such. It would ultimately be an eye opener for them and then the laws would ultimately have to change accordingly, but most politicians and people who govern would not take that.
The Republic, c. 378 BC
No one willingly chooses to rule and to take other people’s troubles in hand and straighten them out, Socrates said, but each asks for wages; for anyone who intends to practice his craft well never does or orders what is best for himself—at least not when he orders as his craft prescribes—but what is best for his subject. It is because of this, it seems, that wages must be provided to a person if he’s willing to rule, whether in the form of money or honor or a penalty if he refuses.
What do you mean, Socrates? said Glaucon. I know the first two kinds of wages.
Then you don’t understand the best people’s kind of wages, the kind that moves the most decent to rule, when they are willing at all. Don’t you know that the love of honor and the love of money are despised, and rightly so? Therefore good people won’t be willing to rule for the sake of money or honor. So, if they’re willing to rule, some compulsion or punishment must be brought to bear on them; perhaps that’s why it is thought shameful to seek to rule before one is compelled to. Now, the greatest punishment, if one isn’t willing to rule, is to be ruled by someone worse than oneself.
And I think that it’s fear of this that makes decent people rule when they do. They approach ruling not as something good or enjoyable, but as something necessary, since it can’t be entrusted to anyone better than, or even as good as, themselves. In a city of good men, if it came into being, the citizens would fight in order not to rule, just as they do now in order to rule.
There it would be quite clear that anyone who is really a true ruler doesn’t by nature seek his own advantage but that of his subject. And everyone, knowing this, would rather be benefited by others than take the trouble to benefit them. So I can’t agree that justice is the advantage of the stronger—but we’ll look into that another time.