Food Stamp Nation

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Not surprisingly, food stamp fraud is not relegated to aid recipients or retailers but extends to government employees charged with administering the program. Those cases include four employees of New York City’s Human Resources Administration arrested in 2011 for creating over 1,000 fake food-stamp cases over four years that netted them $7 million; and nine workers at Milwaukee’s County Enrollment Services Center accused of scamming almost $300,000 from the program from 2005 to 2010.

Yet, the Obama administration seems far less interested in preventing fraud and waste and more concerned about boosting food-stamp enrollment, given its stated belief that the SNAP program is “severely underutilized” by claiming that more than 33 percent of Americans are eligible to receive food stamps but have yet to apply.

To that end, it has vigorously funded multi-million-dollar federal initiative campaigns to promote participation in the SNAP program by, among other things, further relaxing food stamp eligibility requirements.

Specifically, the USDA has given millions of dollars of cash rewards to state and local governments as well as $75,000 grants to private non-profit organizations so they could develop projects that “simplify SNAP application and eligibility systems” and raise the amount of food stamp participants.

One of the recent winners in this initiative was the state of Oregon, which received $5 million in “performance bonuses” for its swift processing of applications, efforts which has seen the state achieve a 60% boost in the number of food-stamp recipients, more than 780,000 people.

For its achievement, Oregon was given a two-year grant to test an “innovative approach” to the food-stamp “client eligibility review process,” which grants state officials a waiver that allows them to grant the food stamp benefit without actually interviewing the applicant.

Of course, the efforts by the Obama administration to create a new dependent class neatly dovetails with its overall efforts to create an expanding welfare state, efforts which have seen the Obama administration since 2009 increase spending by 41 percent on the nearly 80 federal welfare programs that provide food assistance, housing, education services, child care, and medical care.

Those expenditures, which now stand at $668 billion, coupled with another $284 billion in state and local government expenditures, bring the total cost to nearly $1 trillion, making Welfare the fastest growing part of government spending with aggregate costs projected to reach over $1.5 trillion in 2022.

Those staggering outlays led Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation at a House Budget Committee hearing to say Obama’s massive expansion of welfare-related programs are leading to “ruinous and unsustainable future budget deficits,” adding “Food Stamps are a symbol of that growth.”

Of course, the Obama administration takes a different view. As Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in August 2011, food stamps are part of the Obama administration’s jobs program, noting “When you talk about the SNAP program or the food stamp program, you have to recognize that it’s also an economic stimulus… If people are able to buy a little more in the grocery store, someone has to stock it, package it, shelve it, process it, ship it. All of those are jobs. It’s the most direct stimulus you can get in the economy during these tough times.”

Given that logic, the record number of Americans now receiving food stamps must certainly indicate that economic prosperity is nearly at hand.

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  • Ken

    Imagine what he can accomplish with another four years!! Scary!!

  • Gamaliel

    The argument that food stamps are "the most direct stimulus you can get in the economy during these tough times. is an absurd argument that the Obama administration and it's defenders keep repeating in one form or another.The argument that food stamps are "the most direct stimulus you can get in the economy during these tough times.” is an absurd argument that the Obama administration and it's defenders keep repeating in one form or another.

    The problem with this rationalization is that money for food stamps must come from somewhere an inconvenient fact that the Obama administration neglects to tell you. Obama likes to say that trickle down economics is false when it is has been the source of American prosperity in the past at the same time as his administration argues for "trickle up welfare".

    The problem with the "trickle up welfare" idea is that the money for trickle up welfare has to come from somewhere and that somewhere is either printed money which devalues everyone's money, or borrowing which simply delays and augments the economic disaster or from taxes. It takes away wealth from those who would invest that wealth into creating more wealth. It creates the incentive not to create wealth why should anyone work if that reduces their ineligiblity for food stamps? What it does do is increase Obama's chances of winning the next election. The more people there are dependent on food stamps the more people there will be who are afraid they will lose those food stamps if they vote Republican.

    so you are switching one form of spending for another so that the overall simulus is zero. In fact you are taking money away from investors who might have created wealth instead of consumed it. You also create dependency so that those on food stamps have less incentive to work. Why work for food if you can get it for free? This policy increases Obama's chances of reelection since those on food stamps will be afraid that the Republicans will take those food stamps away. Normally market forces would bring down the price of food if people have less money to pay for it but by providing food stamps the food prices stay higher and those who earn money have to pay more for food.

  • Taxed Enough

    Food Stamps – the new unearned money.

    • ctyankee

      The intent of the "Food Stamp" program is to make sure that all Americans have enough to eat. It is also considered a type of price support for American farmers.

      Since when did they convert from paper food coupons to debit cards? Why are holders allowed to take a cash advance on their SNAP debit cards? That is the worst form of abuse of the program.

  • Swatty Jim

    The more people get on food stamps, the more that WANT TO BE ON FOOD STAMPS. The food stamp program is turning into a feeding frenzy and in the long run is also destined to fail. Just like everything else the Govt. takes over and runs into a ditch. Soon everyone will be on food stamps, and the whole Govt. can implode, which is fine by me. They rape us day in and day out, yet never ever say what programs they are going to cut. We send Billions of tax dollars a year to every corner of earth, including to our enemies. Yet no one in congress says anything! A true travesty. Our enemies are laughing all the way to the bank. Our inept Govt. is to blame 100%. I am sick of it and I'm sure many of you will agree with me. I say flush 'em all.

    There, I said it (stealing a line from Mark Levine).

    • WilliamJamesWard

      What is the end of the governmnt program, yes everyone ends up on it in a Socialist/Marxist
      system and then it happens, when there is no other way to get food, certan undeserving
      people get cut off. Totalitarianism starts somewhere and grows, we are looking at the
      movement gaining speed. November must return America to some form of normalcy
      and demand that work return to Americans and our Industrial base restored. Honesty
      and self pride have been undermined by the disolute leftist insurgency within our
      government and institutions. I see healthy people on food stamp, and staying there
      as a debased human character is a leftist achievement, not charity, not healthy.
      We may become just another failed Natio with eletes and peasants………….William

  • kafir4life

    But they're FREE!!!! FREE!!!!!
    (there! I just became a liberal)

  • BS77

    Food Stamps are basically barter for votes…..

  • Gamaliel

    Why stop at food stamps? Why not stimulate the economy by giving everyone a million dollar stipend every month? Agriculture Secretary Vilsack says that "If people are able to buy a little more in the grocery store, someone has to stock it, package it, shelve it, process it, ship it. All of those are jobs." Well imagine how many jobs would be created if you gave everyone a million dollars a month instead of some lousy food stamps Mr. Vilsack. If something is obviously wrong with my argument which there is, the same applies to yours Mr. Vilsack.

  • Lauryn

    Yes, yes, because the only people who get food stamps are the ones who abuse them and the system. You people are so naive. Yes, we all agree that food stamps shouldn't be used for long periods of time and only when people truly need them. But you guys are making this black and white. You make it sound like every last person who is on these stamps wants some free hand outs.