A report released yesterday shows that the already record high 46 million Americans receiving food stamps reached a new high of 46.7 million in June of this year. This means that the Obama Administration has the dubious honor of breaking its own record. Pardon me while I hold the applause.
Spending on food stamps has doubled in the past four years, growing from $39 billion a year in 2008 to some $80 billion a year in 2012. (It doubled between 2001 and 2006, too!) Earlier this year , former Speaker Newt Gingrich received uproarious criticism for referring to President Obama as “the food stamp President.”
Whatever the political merits may or may not be of such rhetoric, it is impossible to deny that under this Administration nearly 1 in 7 Americans now rely on the federal government to put food on the table. The taxpayer-funded marketing scheme that encouraged people to sign up for food stamps may have been short-lived, but it certainly had its intended effect. This is both outrageous and immoral.
The now-stalled farm bill, which spends nearly $1 trillion, eighty percent of which is comprised of food stamps, may be headed for possible floor action when Congress returns next week. Many Republicans and Democrats have argued for passage of the $1 trillion food and farmer welfare behemoth. Such an action would only reinforce, expand, and perpetuate the ever-growing number of Americans being added to the public dole.
Is this what conservatives were sent to Washington to do? Foist billions of dollars of new spending on the backs of taxpayers to help cement the ever-growing number of Americans being added to the food stamp program?
This troubling news is yet another outrage in a long series of outrages. And it, in conjunction with the fact that farmers will see record profits in 2012, undercuts every argument being made in support of the farm bill.
Regardless of how the political debate over the farm and food stamp bill proceeds in the next few weeks, one thing is absolutely certain: a vote for the $1 trillion farm bill is a vote to expand farm subsidies and food stamps by 60% in comparison to the 2008 bill. And Americans will be able to see if their Representative is enabling the crippling policies of President Obama or fighting against them.