Some Truths about the SNAP Program (Food Stamps).
Newt Grinchrich (oops) has, in one of his daily ravings, ranted at length recently about the amount of people receiving Food Stamps. He would have you believe that the rise in Food stamps (SNAP Program) comes from all those unemployed lazy poor people sitting around all day spending their welfare benefits on drugs. There is no evidence in support of his theory. Just one of those things that because he said it, it must be true. After all, Newt Gingrich wouldn’t tell a lie, would he? Well, yes. He would. And this tripe he’s preaching just ain’t true.
The real truth about the rise in Food Stamps (SNAP Program), within the last 10 years, does not come from the unemployed, among whom the percentage of those receiving Food Stamps has actually declined approximately 46%, but from those people whose wages are so low that no matter how hard they work they still need help to feed themselves and their children.
In the U.S., hunger is not a metric by which statistics are kept, however, they do measure what’s called “food insecurity”. Food insecurity is defined in two ways: “low food security” and “very low food security”. As defined the the Census Bureau, very low food security is “the normal eating patterns of one or more household members were disrupted and food intake was reduced at times during the year because they had insufficient money or other resources for food”. In 2008, 17 million households met this threshold. In 2010, 21 million people were classified as working-poor. That’s nearly 9.6 percent of all American families living below 100 percent of poverty and having at least one family member with a job. Last year, 3.5 million older Americans lived below the poverty line.
This idea Republicans have of the amount of Food Stamp recipients contributing to the long term fiscal health of this country is, quite simply, a fear mongering tactic used to appease the 51%’rs who feel the poor and working poor aren’t doing their fair share. We mean, they don’t pay federal income tax, right? The reason they don’t pay income tax is due to the poor and working poor not making enough money to absorb a tax on what little income they do have. But they do pour the entirety of what little income they have (Food Stamps included) right back into the economy as soon as they get it. Most economists agree that the Food Stamp program is one of the most effective means of stimulating the economy precisely for that very reason. The Congressional Budget Office predicts Food Stamp use will level off and return to pre-recession levels as the economy continues (albeit slowly) to improve.
The fact is, most people on Food Stamps would rather not be on Food Stamps. They’d rather have decent paying jobs. They’d rather their kids focus on school and not have to work as the school janitors. Face it, $200-$300 a month isn’t a lot and does not lends itself, at all, to eating high off the hog despite what Mr. Grinrich would have you believe. Let’s face it, he banked over a million dollars (of taxpayer money, I might add) working as an “historian” for Freddie Mac, but he “hath no fury” should a family need a couple three hundred bucks in a month in Food Stamps to feed themselves and their kids.
Of course Mr. Grinchrich,(oops did it again) prefers playing to the very, very, very base of his party and demonizing the poor rather than addressing the real cause of the problem. How very “Jesus like” of him, don’t you think?
- Food stamp families yearn for jobs, and wish critics would take a walk in their shoes (thetrialbyfire.org)
- Attacks on Food Stamps Threaten the Poor: FRAC: Food Research and Action Center (peoplesadvocacycouncil.wordpress.com)
- Romney: “I’m not concerned about the very poor” (money.cnn.com)
- U.S. agriculture secretary critical of Pa. plan to tie food stamps to assets (philly.com)