Obama’s food-stamp dole at record levels

Obama’s food-stamp dole at record levels

David
Paulin

 

Nearly 15 percent of the population — 45.8 million people
-  were on the food-stamp dole in August, the Wall Street Journal
reported. How come?

According to the paper, it’s all because of the horrible
economy, with the number of people on food stamps having risen 8.1 percent in
the past year.

What the WSJ doesn’t mention is that the exploding use of
food stamps has much to do with changing attitudes over the years about what
food-stamp recipients are entitled to — and that now includes junk food and
sugary drinks. In addition, soaring levels of fraud have helped to drive soaring
food-stamp use, according to a recent Op-Ed in The Journal, “The Food-Stamp Crime Wave.” (Do WSJ
reporters read their paper’s Op-Ed page?)

Interestingly, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried some
months ago to stop the use of food stamps for sugary beverages like soda pop in
an effort to curb exploding levels of diabetes and obesity among New Yorkers. However, the
Obama administration rejected Bloomberg’s proposal for eliminating soda. Among other
things, administration bureaucrats claimed Bloomberg’s plan lacked “a clear and
practical means to determine product eligibility, which is essential to avoid
retailer confusion at point-of-sale and stigma (emphasis added) for
affected clients.”

Stigma? Now that’s an interesting word, because there is no
stigma left anymore for those using food stamps, which incidentally are no
longer actually “stamps” but debit cards that you swipe like a credit card. And
food-stamp cards can buy just about anything your stomach
desires. Nationwide, 6 percent of
food stamp benefits are spent on sugary beverages, according to the United
States Department of Agriculture, which administers the food stamp program and
that was the source of the WSJ’s statistics about soaring levels of food-stamp
use.

As to fraud, that WSJ Op-Ed by James Bovard noted that “The
number of food-stamp recipients has soared to 44 million from 26 million in
2007. Not surprisingly, fraud and abuse are rampant.”

Among other things, he explained:

Millionaires are now legally entitled to collect food
stamps as long as they have little or no monthly income. Thirty-five states have
abolished asset tests for most food-stamp recipients. These and similar
“paperwork reduction” reforms advocated by the United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA) are turning the food-stamp program into a magnet for abuses
and absurdities.

Ultimately, soaring food-stamp use is not just another
anti-poverty program for the Obama administration. It’s all about “spreading the
wealth around.”

Unfortunately, poor people who really need food stamps must
now endure the “stigma” of being lumped together with the many deadbeats now on
the food-stamp dole.

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