Jansing and Co | December 03, 2012
>>> new york's mayor cory booker taking the food stamp challenge tomorrow. the man who is known for among other things shoveling snow out of constituents driveways and rescuing the homeless during flooding will start living on the monetary equivalent of a person on food stamps for a week. in new jersey that works out to about $133 a month or about $1.40 a meal. booker is the latest politician to stand in solidarity with welfare families. let's meet another man who tried the same thing, phoenix mayor. what was it like to live on just $4 a day for meals?
>> well, in phoenix the food stamp amount is $29 per week. and to live off of that and still try to live a healthy lifestyle with healthy meals is incredibly difficult. i had to skip a bunch of meals. ate a lot of ramin and beans and rice and lost a few pounds. it was tough.
>> a record 47 million americans use food stamps in august. that cost nearly $72 billion. so when you hear about the fiscal cliff and you hear about possible cuts to entitlements, did this experience change your view of that?
>> i would say it changed my view. look i've been someone that wants to support the entire community no matter what neighborhood you live in, no market what your socio-economic background. i was challenged by a local nonprofit to take this challenge to make me a stronger leader and i happily accepted that challenge and it was a good learning experience. it was only a week. it's not the same thing of having to live on food stamps full time . that's brutally difficult to go jool your tummy isn't as full as it needs to be. i get that it was only a week. it helped me be a better policymaker.
>> you kept a diary of your experience. i want to read a little bit of your entry from day four. i'm facing a long hungry day and an even longer night getting dinner on the table which requires making everything from scratch on this budget. it's only for a week so i've got a decent attitude. if i were doing this with no end interesting sight i probably wouldn't be so pleasant. so, in the end, besides the fact that you found out how hard it was was there something that surprised you that you learned?
>> yeah. i mean, look. it is tough to eat healthy on that budget. you know, there are a lot of food desert , a lot of places in cities across america where it's hard to get healthy fresh food and healthy fresh food can be experiencive. we want people to eat healthy. we want them leading healthy life styles. you know, this is a really difficult thing to do. hopefully it's temporary. look we hope and pray this economy is getting better, the job situation is getting better, there are millions of people on food stamps that were solidly middle class in the past and it's looking better and i hope and pray that congress reaches bipartisan compromise. don't send us over the fiscal cliff. do the right thing. be statesmen. reach a compromise.
>> politico put some meal suggestions. this gives a perspective. for this food stamp budget you can get one sandwich two two slices of store brand bread. two slices of cheese. that's $1.24. another option is seven ounz frozen fried fish plank. what's your reaction was when you did this from your constituents and what purpose does it serve for somebody like you or cory booker to do this?
>> i got a lot of kudos for doing it. i admire mayor booker for taking on this challenge. don't give us too many can you dose. we only did it for a week. there are a lot of false stereotypes about people living in food stamps . that's not fair. that's not my experience. these are hard- working people . they don't want to be on food stamps . they want to get back into a job where they don't have to live on food stamps . any negative stereotypes should be put by the wayside. if you care about people and kids living on food stamps give money to your local food banks so they can supplement the diets. kids can't learn if they don't have the right diet or tummies full. so that was one of my messages is use this as a positive experience, support your local food bank. we're all in this together. city phoenix is a city with a big heart. people of my city, people across the country will step up to the plate and help people in need .
>> phoenix mayor greg stanton. thank you for taking the time to talk to us.
>> any time.