Wednesday, December 11, 2013

About those "devastating" cuts to the food stamp program...

Let's ignore the fact that we are told incessantly we're in an economic recovery, yet the food stamp program keeps exploding.

And let's ignore the fact that, by some estimates, more than half of the food stamp program is wasted on fraud and criminal activity.

Let's ignore the fact that you can buy food stamps on Craigslist and every social media site known to man (and some scientists have yet to discover). And let's ignore the notion that you can walk into liquor stores in some neighborhoods and pay with food stamps. No, let's put all of that aside.

As Mike Shedlock explains, the entire program is poised to crash, which makes the Democrats' bleating whines about draconian cuts all the more ludicrous. But, then again, that's why they're Democrats.

Please note that the alleged $40 billion in cuts is really only $4 billion in a close to $80 billion program. They arrive at $40 billion by multiplying $4 billion by 10 years ... The cuts then are $40 billion in an $800 billion program. And I actually doubt we will ever see those "cuts" in the first place.

  • SNAP benefits more than doubled between 2000 and 2007.
  • Between 2007 and 2013 snap benefits went up another 150%.
  • Trendline growth would have annual benefits at about $32.5 billion.
  • Instead benefits are more than double.
  • Liberals are whining about a 5% cut when a cut to the trendline would be a 50% cut

  • Participation is nearly double what it was in 2007.
  • Participation in 2013 is 275% of the 2001 total.

...Supposedly a 5% cut is draconian.

The Problem

  • Growth in the number of participants is on an unsustainable trend. 
  • Growth in benefits per person is also on an unsustainable trend.
  • Multiply the two together and you get the first chart.

As is typical with government programs, there is no incentive by the administrators to eliminate waste or fraud.  ... The more funding for food stamps, the bigger the salaries and staffs of the administrators.

I suggest that we need a way to provide necessary safety-net benefits while simultaneously providing an incentive to get off the program and get a job.

I repeat my proposal...

  • Prohibit food stamp purchases of potato chips, snacks, soft drinks, candy, pizza, frozen foods of any kind except juice.
  • Limit food stamp users to generic (store brand vs. name brand) dried beans, rice, peanut butter, pasta, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, frozen (not bottled) juice, canned vegetables, canned soup, soda crackers, poultry, ground beef, bread, cheese,
    powdered milk, eggs, margarine, and general baking goods (flour, sugar, spices).
  • Calculate a healthy diet based on current prices, number in the family, ages of recipients, and base food stamps allotments on that diet.
  • In the interest of health and cleanliness, expand the food stamp program to include generic soap and laundry products.

My proposal will not only lower the cost of the food stamp program, the resultant healthier diets would lower Medicaid and Medicare costs as well.

Moreover, my proposal would give people a strong incentive to get off the food stamp program without intrusive, costly big-brother ideas like drug-testing which cannot possibly work...

Let me put this in terms even progressives can understand: either the economy is recovering, in which case we can slash food stamps... or we're still in the Obama Depression.

Which is it, dimwits?

Charts: Tim Wallace. Related: How we lost the "War on Poverty".


Anonymous said...

Hi, Doug. For some of us, those "devastating" cuts are devastating. I'm disabled (my spine decided to explode) -- I receive $725 per month, no housing assistance, and I received a scant $44 per month in food stamps. The recent cuts put me back to $33 per month in food assistance. Generic food, and enough of it, would be a luxury to me at this point -- as it is, my food stamps pay for several bags of potatoes or a bag of rice and a bag of beans, butter, milk, and some frozen vegetables (cheaper than canned, when you buy generic -- much of the weight in a can of vegetables is water). Coffee is a dim memory, as is organic food. Not everyone on food stamps is living the high life that many people fortunate enough not to need assistance imagine.

This having been said, there are people gaming the system. But please, don't paint us all with that same brush.

directorblue said...

@Anon - I'm very sorry to hear that you're in bad shape and obviously the system was designed to help those most in need like yourself.

What I'm complaining about is not those like you... it's those able-bodied people who live year in and year out on the government dole.

Unfortunately, I know firsthand that there are millions of such people and we are incentivizing more and more each year.

All the best to you, Doug

Anonymous said...

With few exceptions I wish you could justify to all of the poor stiffs out here working a 40 hour plus week why someone gets to get foodstamps for decades. Why isn't there say a three year time limit to prevent generations of vampires from sucking our the lifesblood of the productive class. How many people have waited online watching some joker buy lobster and steak while you had to make do with a lesser cut of meat.

I want to see someone justify this to ,y face why my children should sacrifice so the feral yuths can be fed rather than have their "birth" persons go out and work.

Anonymous said...

Anon made the point I was going to about frozen veggies. And the time limit is also a good idea-I know several families in their 5th and 6th generation of welfare. HTF does that happen? Is it genetic?? Of course not.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Doug, I appreciate that. And we're on the same side. Since beginning my slide into poverty I've been thrown in amongst the wolves who know how to game the system and who feel absolutely entitled to every dime they can squeeze out of others, even though they've never contributed a single penny. I began working at the age of twelve. Silly me ;-)

Anonymous #1