Food Stamps: Supplemental Assistance or Way of Life?
Newark (NJ) Mayor Corey Booker is trying to make the case that the government should increase food stamp benefits by means of a self-imposed challenge to rely solely on food stamps to purchase all of his food. The left has pulled this stunt before. Fortunately, Senator Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) website explains the food stamp program is meant to be supplemental, not to pay for complete meal replacements.
This type of liberal propaganda totally distorts the original purpose of the food stamp program or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which was “originally created to distribute surplus food as determined by the United States Agricultural Department and prevent malnourishment during the Great Depression.”
Today, liberals think that more and more money needs to be funneled into these programs. They – both the programs and the liberals’ argument – are very flawed. In fact, Heritage explains, “If converted to cash, means-tested welfare spending is more than five times the amount needed to eliminate all poverty in the United States.”
Food stamp spending, the second most expensive means-tested aid program, has nearly doubled since President Obama came to office from roughly $39 billion in 2008 to an estimated $85 billion in 2012. And before that, it doubled under President George W. Bush. The program “discourages work, rewards idleness, and promotes long term dependence,” Heritage’s Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley explain.
The Obama Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) waiver of the successful work requirement from the 1996 welfare reform law only made matters worse, since the work requirement was the reason for so many people, especially minority children and children in single-mother homes, moving out of a position of dependence to a position of self-sufficiency.
Heritage’s Ryan T. Anderson explains, “Overall assistance should be holistic, oriented not solely at meeting a material need but at transforming lives to be responsible, productive, and independent.”
It’s simply not true that the left cares more for the poor. If they do care for the poor, and do not simply want to breed dependency so that they can stay in power, their political contributions have been totally misguided. From Mayor Booker’s ridiculous self-imposed and totally distorted food stamp challenge to the much more egregious error of gutting the 1996 welfare of its successful work requirement, it’s clear the political left is missing the point.
Anderson continues, “Welfare programs should thus be structured in ways that encourage… productive activities, fostering norms of work, marriage, personal responsibility, and law-abidingness.” That is certainly not what the liberals have in mind.
Conservatives know that people deserve better than spending a huge portion of their life on food stamps.