Taxpayer Dollars Advertising Food Stamps?
If you’ve listened to the radio or television the past few months you’ve likely heard advertisements from the USDA promoting the Food Stamp Program (or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—SNAP as it is now called).
Last week the government released ten new Spanish Novella type ads; mini soap operas touting the benefits of food stamps. Following is one of the radio spots and beneath it the English translation.
(An observation: Friday July 13 the novellas were readily available on the USDA website. On Monday July 16 they are not.)
After a ‘surprising’ amount of backlash the USDA is considering pulling these ads. Why is the government surprised? They thought these commercials would be helpful to reduce the stigma of receiving food stamps as well as improving public awareness of the program. With Congress debating the farms bill (of which SNAP is a part), looking for ways to trim the budget this food stamps self-advertisement certainly seems an area in need of review. Many would wonder at this naivety, after all the Food Stamp Program has increased in usage to the point that now one in seven are receiving benefits. There appears to be plenty of awareness on the part of average citizens. The uproar against this program is on several issues. One, that taxpayers are paying a great deal of money for these ads to promote a government program. Another, that the USDA refuses to release details of what food types are being purchased by the users. Nutritionists and those against government waste are concerned that too much of the program is going to buying junk food. And a third issue, that the government has not been able to get control of the massive fraud in this program. People take their cards, redeem them for cash through unscrupulous retailers or sell them online. Food Stamps are meant to offer basic meals; sure that no one goes to bed hungry.
From Star Parker’s blog: The New Food Stamp Plantation
Liberals tell us that the mind-boggling growth of this program is explained by our floundering economy. But, as Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., points out, spending on this program increased 100 percent from 2001 to 2006, a period during which there was no increase in the rate of unemployment. From 2007 to 2011, spending increased another 135 percent. But CBO attributes only about 65 percent of the dramatic growth in program spending and the number of recipients to the recession.
No one argues that SNAP is not necessary. Many are concerned that this temporary assistance program is not turned in to a way of life for the recipients. The program was not designed to be a permanent hand-out. The best solution to this program would be a better economy and job creation once again.