Tag Archives: SNAP

Food Stamps Make People Fat

food_stamps-600x395A recent government study found that those on food stamps are more likely to be obese than those not taking the government assistance.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture looked at data from 2007 through 2010, then compared average weights of those on food stamps — officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — to those who weren’t.

The findings, released on Tuesday, are striking. Food stamp recipients are far more likely to be obese than poor people who are eligible but don’t take the help. And they’re even more likely to be obese than those with higher incomes.

Fully 40% of food stamp recipients are obese, the study found, compared with just over 30% of those who don’t participate in the program.

The report also found that children of families on food stamps (SNAP) are also more likely to be obese.

What the report tells us is that the foods government-assistance recipients choose to buy with their benefits are not healthy or are in too great of a quantity. Clearly, no one on food stamps is starving.

What the report also indicates is that Michelle Obama may be targeting the wrong crowd with her school lunch program. The kids hate the food and are throwing it away by the ton, school lunch providers are skirting the rules just to keep kids fed and administrators are struggling under the increased cost of the undesirable foods.

Perhaps the first lady should turn her attention to the diets of food stamp recipients. Maybe they should only be able to buy the foods that her school lunch program allows.

No more french fries, sodas, burgers or pizza – just baked fish and veggies. If the first lady is serious about stopping obesity in America, and especially childhood obesity, this government report shows her exactly where to target.

States hiring ‘foodstamp recruiters’ to increase cashflow

Supplemental_Nutrition_Assistance_ProgramA Washington Post article demonstrates how states are spending taxpayer money to put more people on taxpayer funded programs.

Agood [sic] recruiter needs to be liked, so Dillie Nerios filled gift bags with dog toys for the dog people and cat food for the cat people. She packed crates of cookies, croissants, vegetables and fresh fruit. She curled her hair and painted her nails fluorescent pink. “A happy, it’s-all-good look,” she said, checking her reflection in the rearview mirror. Then she drove along the Florida coast to sign people up for food stamps.

Oddly, there are no news reports of “get off of government assistance recruiters” using pet toys, food or other enticements to pull people off the taxpayer dole and into the real economy. No surprise then that America now has the lowest percentage of the population actually participating in the economy at this point in Obama’s reign.

You see, shiny things don’t entice those that want to do for themselves, strap on a briefcase or put on a pair of overalls and just get things done. Cat food and dog toys just aren’t enough for those Americans.

The recruiter in the post isn’t just some progressive saint, she’s paid .. by the state of Florida to get at least 150 people on to food stamps each month. A goal she exceeds on a regular basis.

As the government is already cutting back hours from FAA air traffic controllers, cancelling childrens’ spring trips to the White House and  seeing the Obamaphone program experience ghastly spending,  why is it that states would be using taxpayer money to fund recruiters to expand programs that are already costing more than the economy can bear? Because they too recognize the benefit of taking in federal taxpayer money and distributing it to others.

the job also has a second and more controversial purpose for cash-strapped Florida, where increasing food-stamp enrollment has become a means of economic growth, bringing almost $6 billion each year into the state. The money helps to sustain communities, grocery stores and food producers. It also adds to rising federal entitlement spending and the U.S. debt.

With almost 50 million Americans now taking in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, otherwise known as food stamps, states see a way to increase their local economies at the expense of federal taxpayers.

Florida isn’t the only culprit in the SNAP lottery:

Rhode Island hosts SNAP-themed bingo games for the elderly. Alabama hands out fliers that read: “Be a patriot. Bring your food stamp money home.” Three states in the Midwest throw food-stamp parties where new recipients sign up en masse.

While this program is intended for the less fortunate, hearing the tale of those able to afford golf carts motorized scooters doesn’t sound much like poverty:

She watched as a few golf carts and motorized scooters drove toward her on a road lined with palm trees, passing Spanish Lakes signs that read “We Love Living Here!” and “Great Lifestyle!” The first seniors grabbed giveaway boxes and went home to tell their friends, who told more friends, until a line of 40 people had formed at Nerios’s table.

Most middle-income families don’t have golf carts and certainly don’t need nor want food stamps.

One story the Post chose to magnify was of a gentleman who had made some bad investments and flushed away his life savings. While a sad story, the article also showed a better support network that he could have used, but why when he has American taxpayers instead?

A few weeks after they moved in, some of their 11 grandchildren had come over to visit. One of them, a 9-year-old girl, had looked around the mobile home and then turned to her grandparents on the verge of tears: “Grampy, this place is junky,” she had said.

Eleven grandchildren? They came from somewhere – his children. If he is to “dig himself out” at someone’s expense, why is it everyone’s responsibility when not that of his own family?

While individuals find the “SNAP” lable easier to carry around than “food stamps” or “commidities” (old reference), states simply like the revenue. As the SNAP brochures handed out from the recruiter say, “Every $5 in SNAP generates $9.20 for the local economy.”

Food stamp benefit enrollment has skyrocketed under President Obama. The greatest benefactors seem to be the states while everyone else sees the disposable incomes shrink.

Lady Tries to Buy iPads with Food Stamps

Last month was busy so I missed the story about a woman who tried to buy an iPad with her Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program card (read Food Stamps).

Not only did this woman try to buy the iPads but when her card was declined she went to another store to try again. (Let’s give her points for the old adage: If at first you don’t succeed…) You can watch the clip below:

Okay, so most people don’t try to abuse the government’s food assistance program, but we see these stories way too often.

What happened to a program that started out with such good intentions?

Most readers may not know the history of the food stamp program. Here’s a short and sweet version (you can read the Wikipedia description here.)

Following the heels of the Great Depression our government wanted to get farm surpluses to the hungry inner city people. Those needing government assistance could get food stamps which allowed them to ‘purchase’ a 50-50 mix of both government surplus foods and regular groceries. Interestingly, the program ended when the widespread unemployment dropped in 1943. (A government program that ended itself? My, how times have changed.)food stamps

When the program returned in the ‘60’s the farm surplus component was removed. In the years following eligibility requirements were lessened, nutritional standards disallowed, and somewhere along the line the government decided it might hurt the feelings of individuals to accept assistance so the program changed its name and offered debit cards in place of the shameful food stamps.

President Obama, in his 2009 stimulus package, allowed for further expansion of the program with increased eligibility and each month in 2012 the number of recipients reached record levels. Today about 47Million Americans participate in this program. (There are about 307Million total in the US–so about 1 in 6.)

A far cry from helping the inner city poor receive farm surpluses in the original program.

An interesting note: When researching the statistics, a University of Maryland study showed that for every dollar received in food stamps only 17-47 cents was actually added to the food expenditures in families. Instead much of the ‘money’ collected by the family went to Income Maintenance; that is money that households are able to spend on other things because they no longer have to spend it on food.

So there you have it. What started as a simple plan to get farmers’ surplus to the hungry people has turned into another example of government run amok. Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.

Without requiring nutritional standards food stamp recipients are allowed to buy more expensive prepackaged, prepared and/or junk foods. The amount of actual money that goes to put more food on the table is actually a fraction of what is received; people would rather reduce their grocery money and use the program to increase their income. Additionally, continued government assistance has created additional dependency on what should be a short term program, just for emergency aid.

Many of my friends are fed up. They watch the woman in line buy roast and seafood using her EBT card and then pay cash for her cigarettes and beer while they buy chicken because that’s all the budget allows. They buy bags of dried beans or peas cooking them up with the leftover ham bone to provide a nutritional yet inexpensive meal while they tell the kids ‘no chips this week’ because they’re saving to buy a new television while the neighbor brags how his girlfriend gets enough food stamps so they were able to buy a big screen TV last month and he can watch all the cable football games.

Maybe we need to return to the original program. Maybe we need to make some changes. The other day a friend offered the following suggestions:

  • Restrict food stamps to nutritional only foods; nothing with high sugar, salt or fat content
  • Only certain meat/proteins qualify; none of this lobster and prime rib…eat chicken like the rest of us
  • Give more value for fresh foods and produce (Former governor Mike Huckabee proposed a variable rate plan ie., if a person on food stamps bought fresh fruits or vegetables, $1 in food stamps could buy $1.25 in fresh produce. crockpotHowever, if the same person purchased a candy bar, that $1 would be worth .75.)
  • Give the government surplus foods directly to recipients and reduce the amount of grocery dollars. This program is not meant to replace income. While helping at a local food bank my nephew asked, “Aren’t these people poor?” After hearing the affirmative he replied, “Then why do so many have iPhones? I can’t afford an iPhone.”
  • Give each family a crockpot and recipes. Require recipients to attend cooking classes.

If your pride gets in the way and you don’t want to participate good. The safety nets in place were meant to help the disabled, elderly and infirm and for those in short term need. Not to be a lifestyle choice. We don’t need to wait for the government to take care of us.

Idealistic proposals with the government caring for all our needs is indeed where the frightening New World Order conspiracy ideas arise. This country was not built by the people being dependent on the government, to the contrary.  We must find a way to stop this growing dependency on the government.

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.

  The Poet – 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.  

 

VOODOO Food Economics

The USDA, in trying to increase participation in the SNAP or food stamp program, claims that for every dollar transferred to beneficiaries a dollar and seventy-two cents in economic activity is generated.

If we were to follow this mushy thinking to it’s logical conclusion, then if we all quit our jobs, closed our businesses and went on the program, we would live in a prosperous nation.

To illustrate this thinking, and expose it’s fallacy, suppose you have ten dollars to spend on food. The government takes one of those dollars from you, and gives it to someone else to spend on food. Now you only have nine dollars to spend on food, and someone else has one of your dollars.

It gets worse. It costs money in governmental bureaucracy to transfer your dollar to someone else, so by the time the recipient receives your dollar, it is only eighty-four cents. Now you have nine dollars to spend on food, and someone else has eighty-four cents.

Still it gets worse. Suppose instead of your original ten dollars, you only had nine dollars and sixty cents. The government takes your sixty cents, and borrows the other forty cents from China, at 3% interest, and gives you the bill. Now you have nine dollars to spend on food, but you owe China forty cents plus 3% interest on the forty cents, and someone else has eighty-four cents to spend on food.

The Chinese are better off by $0.012 (the interest on the forty cents borrowed in your name), the government is better off by $0.16 (administrative costs), but you are worse off by $1.012

Now instead your original $9.60 to spend on food, you only have $8.588 and the person your money was taken to help has $.084, making the total amount to spend on food $9.428

Wouldn’t it be better to improve the job outlook by putting into practice the recommendations of Obama’s own Jobs Czar Jeff Immelt, who told CNN in September of 2011 the way to create jobs in America was to create a stable and predictable tax environment with lower corporate rates and closed loopholes to be competitive with other countries, smaller government, reduced debt and deficit, a trained workforce, a friendlier regulatory environment, and more certainty on health care costs and regulations.