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.

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9 thoughts on “Food Stamps: Supplemental Assistance or Way of Life?

  1. See, this argument is more than just the argument about raising taxes. Its about how the government can help with new innovations. Since we all get that demand creates jobs, then we have to create an environment where more people are inventing new businesses. How do we do that when monopolies exist? While people may not agree as to the direction we must take for the National Security issues behind this, we can all agree that the income ratios between the impoverished, middle class, and upper class is increasingly becoming a problem. So, again, the questions are there, but now that we have defined the question, we have to move towards finding the right answers.

    Liberals and old world conservatives agree that raising taxes alone don’t help to create more jobs. The disagreement is about whether increasing taxes and implementing anti-monopoly laws are the correct action. This would be in direct contrast to the Freidmanism economics plan. Since Freidmanism has historically been shown to have negative effects on the middle and impoverished classes, we must go back to what worked, is the idea, and one that confuses Liberals because their opposition counterparts used to think that same thing.

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  3. This article suffers from the common delusion that food stamps is equivalent to cash welfare, with the same disincentives to work.

    If that is the case, why do 41% of SNAP recipients live in working households? (

    Why is the average time on the program for new households only 9 months? (

    Why did most SNAP households have employment in the last 12 months? (, click any CD)

    SNAP is a bridge program for work, not a disincentive to employment. In fact, the step-down nature of SNAP benefits provides a positive incentive to work. Unlike cash welfare, which penalized families for working, for every additional dollar of income, SNAP benefits only go down by 30 cents. Families come out ahead if they find a job.

    It’s also worth noting that most SNAP recipients are seniors, disabled or children ( Unless you are Newt Gingrich, I doubt you expect these folks to start flipping burgers.

  4. BUT IT’s…it’s…it’s OED to me!!! How can you be so mean to take all my handouts away fro me? I don’t work, I cheat & sell stuff on eBay, online, etc. maybe a but of drugs, but I don’t not hav to show any that on taxes so I can still get all them free food stamps that are owed me cause I’m poor, I don’t wanna work or have a job or care about anything. I also gotta take care o & feed all dem kids since the ol’ mans I gotta deal wit knock me up then run off wit my friend or li’l sister n’ leave ME ta take care of all dem 8 kids….

    • I have to disagree with you. Yes, I am currently on food stamps, so you can say that I have an invested interest in it. However, what you probably won’t read is that I put myself through school because of…let’s say parental issues. I was not nor am I now on drugs. Nor have I ever had any children, abortions, dependents of any type. Even while I was living underneath a semi trailer behind Toys R Us, I would do odd jobs to get food money. No begging for me. I was “ineligible” for assistance from a local homeless shelter, but I still found a way to stay warm and dry, sometimes sneaking into an outside men’s restroom when it was unlocked. I was damn proud that I wasn’t on any type of welfare, because that’s “handouts,” even though I desperately needed them. My then-friend, now-husband convinced me to get the help I needed, and we now own a small business and he’s a full-time student. Our business doesn’t make much, but it pays most of the bills. The food stamps is just to supplement when we can’t churn out massive amounts of product (like, say, due to pneumonia a couple of months ago), but we both know that once we are off our feet, the first thing we are doing is starting a program for youth like I was.

    • @disqus_Wk8GtyLjjk:disqus – What the hell are you trying to say? I don’t think its cute, it makes me think you really should have food stamps and handouts because you seem illiterate.

  5. I am all for jobs, but if the jobs are not there, what are the citizens suppose to do?
    Go hungry? This bogus prez failed policies have killed jobs and with his crappy healthcare there will be fewer jobs.

    Perhaps if you are unemployed, you can work for foodstamps and that way is not a burden on the taxpayer. Why not work for foodstamps part time until you can get a job and add that experience to your resume. This would work for people who have no children and have the time to invest, while looing for work.

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