8:15 AM, Sep 5, 2013 • By RYAN LOVELACE
The federal government paid more than $74.6 billion last year to provide 46.6 millions Americans with food stamps. This is an astonishing increase, even for this era of rapidly rising federal spending. Four years earlier the comparable figures were $34.6 billion in benefits for 28.2 million recipients.
Thus the impetus behind majority leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) effort to reform food stamps (aka the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) in the House this fall. Food stamps have been part of the farm bill for almost an entire half-century. But House Republicans stripped the food stamp program out when they passed the farm bill in July, hoping to increase the chances of reform.
While Cantor continues to work on the specifics, the new proposal is expected to include $40 billion in savings over the next ten years, which is double the amount of savings the House originally proposed, according to Cantor’s office. Many in the media—and elsewhere in left field—have rushed to condemn Cantor’s efforts. The New York Times labeled Cantor’s methods “brutal” and “diabolical,” while Politico dubbed the effort “Cantor’s summer food stamp assault.” House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in June claimed Republicans are “taking food out of the mouths of babies.” (Note, however, that were Cantor to succeed, benefits would still be higher than they were when Obama took office.)
Cantor spokeswoman Megan Whittemore says conservative reforms have broad support. Namely, able-bodied adults who are not responsible for any dependents would have to fulfill certain work requirements—including paid employment or participation in workfare, public service, volunteer work, or a qualifying state training program—in order to receive SNAP benefits.
“By encouraging states to engage applicants in activities like actual employment, job training, or workfare we can help those in the program build the skills and gain the experience they need to become self-sufficient in the future,” Whittemore says.
Alabama senator Jeff Sessions sought to implement similar reforms in the Senate, but has faced a steep uphill battle. In June, Sessions offered four amendments for the Senate’s version of the farm bill. Only two were even voted on. One would have eliminated the USDA’s decade-old practice of rewarding states that increase food stamp enrollment; the other sought to stop states from making food stamp recipients automatically eligible for other welfare programs. Both amendments failed.
It’s not just the economic hard times of the last four years that have caused SNAP participation to skyrocket. The USDA has long encouraged and rewarded its employees for increasing dependency on Uncle Sam. For example, a social services office in North Carolina received a SNAP Hunger Champions Gold Award in 2011 for using an outreach worker who understood how to “counteract” the locals’ “mountain pride,” or desire to remain self-reliant. The USDA has also extended food stamp benefits to illegal immigrants. A Spanish-language flyer promoting SNAP benefits provided to the Mexican Embassy by the USDA reads, “You need not divulge information regarding your immigration status in seeking this benefit for your children,” according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch in April.
A spokesperson from Senator Sessions’s office says, “The left tries to paint it as this picture of . . . ‘we have to have the program exactly as it is right now.’ It’s a false choice. The real answer is that you can make intelligent reforms that would still leave you spending undoubtedly quite a bit of money on these programs, but lead to many many more people successfully caring for themselves and their families.”
Hosted by Michael Graham4:36 PM, Aug 16, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with R Street Institute's Lori Sanders on her recent story: Why the GOP needs a reform agenda for anti-poverty programs -- reforms that emphasize work, family, and economic freedom.
Food stamp trafficking a record $858M in 20117:58 AM, Aug 16, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a report on Thursday regarding illegal trafficking in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps. The report showed that the rate of trafficking rose from 1 percent of total benefits in the last study period of 2006-2008 to 1.3 percent in the current study period of 2009-2011, an increase of 30 percent. The report noted the trafficking rate remains well below a rate of almost 4 percent that existed for much of the 1990s. The rate plunged to 1 percent by the 2002-2005 study period and remained there until the current report:
The poverty of the GOP’s antipoverty agenda.Aug 26, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 47 • By LORI SANDERS AND ELI LEHRER
After five decades of liberal antipoverty programs that have produced only failure and futility, it is more than time for a conservative response to the problem of poverty—one that emphasizes work, family, and economic freedom.
9:40 AM, Jul 12, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The day's trending theme (that would be a "meme" for those not in the know) seems to be that Republicans have become a tribe of nihilists who aim not to improve efficiency in government and make it better but to pour sand in its crankcase and jam its gears.
6:22 PM, Jun 10, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Two charts on food stamps spending, provided by the minority side of the Senate Budget Committee, just as the Senate is voting the food stamps program (which is part of the so-called farm bill):
8:44 AM, Mar 28, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
In an article titled, "Use of Food Stamps Swells Even as Economy Improves," the Wall Street Journal reports that "The financial crisis is over and the recession ended in 2009. But one of the federal government's biggest social welfare programs, which expanded when the economy convulsed, isn't shrinking back alongside the recovery."
Nearly a quarter of the people living in Washington, D.C. are on the program.9:13 AM, Mar 11, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
On Friday, the United States Department of Agriculture quietly released new statistics related to the food stamps program, officially known as SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). The numbers reveal, in 2012, the food stamps program was the biggest it's ever been, with an average of 46,609,072 people on the program every month of last year. 47,791,996 people were on the program in the month of December 2012.
8:16 AM, Dec 14, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
The federal government is now spending $110 billion on "all food assistance" per year, according to new analysis by the minority side of the Senate Budget Committee. The federal dollars spent on these programs has risen by nearly $70 billion in just ten years.
Here's a chart from the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee, showing how spending has increased over the last dozen years:
9:39 AM, Nov 2, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
With the latest jobs report, it is now the case that "Under Obama, Food Stamp Growth [Is] 75 Times Greater Than Job Creation," according to statistics compiled by the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee. "For Every Person Added to Jobs Rolls Since January 2009, 75 People Added To Food Stamp Rolls."
12:51 PM, Oct 16, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Food stamps enrollment has hit a new record high. 46,681,833 are now enrolled in the social welfare program, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, the federal department that runs the program.
6:25 PM, Oct 10, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
A new chart provided by the minority side of the Senate Budget Committee details the alarming fact that enrollment in federal social welfare programs like Food Stamps, Medicaid, and Disability have far outpaced job growth over the last four years. Here's the chart:
12:38 PM, Oct 1, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
A new chart put together by the minority side of the Senate Budget Committee finds that, since 2001, the "number of non-citizens on food stamps quadrupled." Here's the chart detailing the growth in regards to non-citizens:
It’s a food stamp behemoth.Oct 1, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 03 • By KATE HAVARD
This week, Congress is under pressure to pass the 2012 farm bill before the current legislation expires on September 30. About every five years, Congress pushes through a farm bill, ostensibly a big bundle of agriculture subsidies that also funds food stamps. But the name is misleading. Nearly 80 percent of the $1 trillion the 2012 bill would spend over the next 10 years would go to the food stamp program.
10:30 AM, Sep 21, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
An alarming data point from the minority side of the Senate Budget Committee: More Americans are being added to food stamps than are finding jobs. The data is detailed in this chart, provided by the committee: