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  • Top Chef v. Heritage Policy Analyst: Stirring Up the Debate on Federal Welfare

    Last week, Heritage Foundation Senior Fellow Robert Rector went head to head with TV personality Tom Colicchio of Top Chef at a House Education and Labor Committee hearing, both testifying about proposed increases to federal funding for child nutrition. Unfortunately, unlike the television show that results in one contestant coming out on top, no one wins with this new policy.

    The $8 billion bill claims to expand food assistance to low-income school children in order to fight hunger and prevent unhealthy eating. The more likely outcome, however, is simply the creation of yet another costly federal welfare program that will increase burden on taxpayers and grow government dependency—all at a time when the national debt is skyrocketing.

    In his remarks to the committee, Chef Colicchio stated that passage of this bill would provide a great stimulus to the economy.

    Rector, on the other hand, pointed out that the federal government already spends $30,000 per low-income household on welfare assistance each year. This includes money that goes towards a myriad of government food assistance programs, such as Food Stamps, the School Breakfast program, the School Lunch program, the WIC (Women, Infant and Children) program, the Child Care Food Program, the Nutrition Program for the Elderly, the Summer Food Service Program, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program; TEFAP (the Emergency Food Assistance Program), the Needy Families food program, the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, and the Special Milk Program. The total cost of these programs (not counting state money): $59.2 million in fiscal year 2008 alone.

    Despite the numerous food programs already in existence, the number of children in the United States that actually experience what the USDA refers to as “food insecurity” is in reality quite low. Only one child in 150 will miss at least one meal in a given month due to food shortages in his or her household. Furthermore, only one child in a thousand goes an entire day in a year’s time without eating due to household food shortages. Thus, for politicians to claim that there is widespread hunger in the United States is far from accurate.

    However, despite these facts and despite the size of the current national debt, proponents of increased funding for food programs are insisting that it is absolutely necessary, regardless of the cost. On top of this, several advocate expanding food services beyond the proposed program in order to provide food on weekends, during school vacations, and at dinnertime. Discussion also centered on how to increase the number of participants and how to implement such practices as automatic enrollment and a streamlined application process.

    The proposed child nutrition policy follows a familiar, failed recipe of overblown federal spending, greater government dependency, and increased taxpayer burden. Instead of adding to the growing waistline of the welfare state, Congress should take steps to shrink the burden on the nation’s taxpayers. The federal government should decrease dependency and help people move from poverty to self-reliance. Failure to do so would result in greater debt and a weaker nation. If that happens, no one comes out on top.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Top Chef v. Heritage Policy Analyst: Stirring Up the Debate on Federal Welfare

    1. Adam Kostecki, Virgi says:

      I personally find it laughable that the House Ed. & Labor Committee elected to go with a TV host and chef, who is an elitist in the culinary world with no policy background, as one of their panel selectees. Chef Colicchio, in his testimony, delivered no substantive evidence about this bill. He brought no industry expertise to the hearing and he was clearly there as a filler on the panel to support those members in favor of the legislation. It was fleeting propaganda with undertones of gross misinformation. I am sorry to see that those who support expanding welfare programs do not even care to have their ideas challenged and prefer to use a persons “celebrity” to advance their bad policy decisions.

    2. Billie says:

      …and all is what people with brains, can do for themselves NO, this stimulus is not needed. GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO GET OUT OF THE WAY!!!!!!

      Wonder what MORE personal ties this chef has with the white house?

    3. Pingback: » Financial News Update – 07/07/2010 NoisyRoom.net: The Progressive Hunter

    4. Mark Bowman, Lakelan says:

      Let's keep in mind that accoeding to the White House there are 20 million illegal aliens here that they want to make legal so we can get the income tax from them. The WHite House also says that these illegal workers are being taken advantage of by their employers and only receiving $2.00 an hour for their labor. If these workers are made legal, then according to the White House, the incentive will be gone for the employers to keep these workers on. When they have to pay them $8.00 an hour and possibly benefits as well, then these employers will let them go and we will have millions on legal laid off workers that will add to the welfare rolls.

    5. Micki-Tamarac, FL says:

      Why do we have all these OBESE children in the USA if they aren't being fed?

      Maybe they are getting too much in the way of food stamps! What is wrong here, maybe we should ask the POTUS and Michele. Of course we won't get an answer and will probably have to appoint a commission to study it.

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