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  • Farm Bill: Bumper Crop of Food Stamps

    The farm bill pending in the Senate has a bumper crop of food stamps. The bill, S.3240 (the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act), should be renamed the “Food Stamp Expansion Act.” The bulk of the spending in the bill is targeted to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also commonly referred to as the food stamp program.

    According to Senator Jeff Sessions (R–AL), “when food stamps were first expanded nationally in the 1970s, just one in 50 Americans participated; today the figure is almost one in 7.” Obamanomics can’t be blamed for the estimated doubling in the size of the program since 2008. Instead, the culprits are an expansion of eligibility requirements by the states and a lack of action by the federal government to condition federal food stamp monies on reform.

    Senator Sessions made a compelling case yesterday that the farm bill needs to be reformed.

    One problem with the program is that individuals receive benefits without any effective means testing. Senator Sessions has an amendment that would restore the asset test for food stamps to save $11 billion over the next 10 years. According to Sessions, “through a system known as categorical eligibility, 43 states provide benefits to individuals whose assets exceed the statutory asset limit. (Only 11 states did so in 2007.)” This provision would make sure people are not getting food stamps who don’t need them.

    According to Heritage’s Rachel Sheffield, there has been a massive spike in food stamp participation since 2000 that costs the taxpayers billions. Sheffield argues that “since 2000, the number of Americans on food stamps has jumped by roughly 260 percent, to 44.7 million in 2011. During that same period, government spending on food stamps nearly quadrupled, to $78 billion last year.” One reason why is that billions have been doled out to ineligible recipients.

    Food stamp spending has doubled under the Obama Administration, yet this bill does nothing to end the trajectory of the program. The pending farm bill spends an estimated $82 billion on food stamps in 2013. That figure dwarfs the numbers for other programs in the so-called farm bill. This bill is less about helping farmers and more about expanding a welfare program that is in dire need of reform.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Farm Bill: Bumper Crop of Food Stamps

    1. drfredc says:

      This is a fine example of the 5th rule in the Bill of Lefts

      Deficits are a part of life, but that is only a problem for those with money. If the government gives you a credit card for health care or anything, use it as much as you want. The more you use it, the more free things you can expect to get with it in the future.

    2. Sosyalis says:

      Just to clarify, the policy for categorical eligibility that allows unlimited assets, and is primarily responsible for the massive increase in Food Stamps, was implemented during the Bush administration, with a Republican majority in Congress.

    3. labman57 says:

      Below is a list of the GOP's 2012 talking points, as elucidated by various conservative politicians and pundits:

      - Corporations are people.
      - Federal workplace standards and business regulations are unAmerican.
      - Women who use birth control are sluts.
      - A chicken in every pot, and a spy-cam in every uterus.
      - College students are snobs.
      - Students who must obtain federal loans are unworthy of a college education.
      - Public education is part of a left wing brainwashing conspiracy.
      - Gay Americans are an abomination.
      - Poor people deserve to be poor.
      - Union workers are socialist thugs.
      - The unemployed are lazy parasites.
      - Latinos are illegal until proven otherwise.
      - Naturalized citizens with heavy accents are not true Americans.
      - The Bible trumps the Constitution.
      - America is a Christian nation.
      - Secularism equals Satanism.
      - Global warming is a hoax.
      - Environmentalism is unpatriotic and an attack on the will of God.
      - The U.S. auto industry should go bankrupt.
      - Cutting taxes for the ultra-wealthy and subsidizing corporations is patriotic.
      - Cutting taxes for the middle class and providing funding for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the Food Stamp program is unpatriotic.
      - All progressives are communists.
      - Liberal Democrats hate America.
      - The U.S. President is a Muslim socialist agent from Kenya.

    4. steve h says:

      Come on guys, you used to be so strong with data and numbers and now you post a chart that says the entire 2012 farm bill won't even cost 1 billion? Seriously, that the whole thing only costs 969 MILLION? Not even a billion? No chance.

    5. DC-righter says:

      Seems to me the real issue here is that so many more working families and children are genuinely in NEED of food stamps. That shouldn't sit well with any of us in a God-fearing nation. We need to take care of children (ALL kids are innocent, all are our future), rather than cater to corporations and special interests.

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