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BabsV

Bill To Subsidize Gluten-Free Bread Passes Hurdle

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One of my friends sent me this link to a Jerusalem Post article.

http://www.jpost.com/Health/Article.aspx?id=272686

"According to the proposal, the cost of gluten-free bread will be kept at a level that is never higher than that of standard bread. In addition, those who suffer from celiac disease will be reimbursed for up to NIS 500 per month per family for purchasing special food, and the income tax rates of companies that sell gluten-free food products will not go above 25 percent."

Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?!?!

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Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?!?!

I would respond by asking you if any of the following also

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Personally this is something I am not interested in. I volunteer at a place with a food bank and a thrift store. Our two major grocery stores send in day old bread for us to give out. That bread still has price tags on it. The artisan breads cost about the same as the gluten-free bread I buy, about $3.89 for Udi's.

I only buy one loaf a week and just a couple of other specialty gluten free items the rest of the groceries I purchase are regular off the shelf.

The government is already too far into our personal lives, pushing frankenfoods and trying too much to control our diets as it is. Just look at what they are trying to do in NYC with 'outlawing' super sized drinks. Way back when the kids and I would go to a fast food place I would sometimes buy one of those and pour it into seperate cups for all of us to save some money. I am sure other families do that also.

At the same time they are talking about increasing the income level to drop people out of that food stamp program. As someone who lives with a income of $5 a MONTH above what would qualify me for food stamps I would rather see them incresing the availability of food stamps rather than starting other programs that would cut into the budget requiring cuts in other needed programs.

Granted I might feel different if I was trying to feed a family of 6 but fresh naturally gluten free food is already the same price for everyone and is the stuff we should be eating anyway.

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I'd have to agree that it shouldn't be subsidized. If someone needed gluten-free bread to stay healthy, then I could see that being a consideration, but the fact is that having gluten-free bread just isn't necessary.

But as I'm not an Israeli, I'm not involved.

Side note: The article says "as even a super-capitalistic country like the US has tax benefits for celiac patients, and gluten-free food companies receive billions of dollars in tax benefits. What about our patients?"

I must have missed my "tax benefits" somewhere. I was pretty sure you couldn't deduct general food items like that. Anyone know?

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Side note: The article says "as even a super-capitalistic country like the US has tax benefits for celiac patients,

Yea but in the US almost no one uses those 'benefits' because you can only deduct as a medical expense when your expenses reach a certain portion of your income. You need to record the price of gluten foods when you purchase gluten-free specialty foods, saving all reciepts and can only deduct the difference, and it sets you up for an IRS audit.

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There are (in theory) big changes coming with the next income tax filing season. As of the most recent though, we sort of get a tax break. If your medical expenses exceed 7.5% of your income you can deduct the portion that exceeds that amount by itemizing. (So if your income is $100,000 you can't deduct the first $7500 but everything over that can be deducted.) To further complicate matters, you must have medical documentation delaring that you have to be on a gluten free diet. You don't get to deduct $7 for a loaf of bread, instead you subract the difference between gluten free and regular food. So, you pay $7, regular bread is $3 so you deduct $4. Now, once you've determined you reach that threshold and have medical expenses to deduct you fill out the form for it. This form also includes things like property taxes, mortgage interest, work expenses and charitable contributions. Normally, without doing all this paperwork, you get to deduct $5800 (single) or $11,600 (married) of your income. So for any of this to be worth it you have to hit and exceed that amount in itemized deductions. In my personal experience doing taxes, the only middle income people hitting this mark are people paying a mortgage, have high property taxes, or have excessive medical expenses.

So, in short, yes we can get a tax benefit. But it's rarely worth the record keeping unless you're relatively certain you'll financially benefit and spend a lot on gluten free replacement foods. (And yes, it's possible it will set you up for audit but since it is listed under generic "medical" expenses it isn't a red flag by iteself.)

On the topic of the subsidies, I agree that the market should even itself out with the steady increase of consumers. Throwing government money at the problem will only encourage them to keep prices high.

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Maybe, instead of subsidies to help people purchase gluten-free products, we'd do better to even the price and playing field by doing away with the subsidies that are already in place here in the U.S. According to this article (see the link), the top nine products that are most heavily subsidized by our government include wheat, corn, beer, and milk. (No wonder corn syrup is so popular with the manufacturers.)

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/08/03/the-9-foods-the-us-government-is-paying-you-to-eat.aspx

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