Food Stamp Roll Explosion Sure To Figure In Election CampaignFri, 27 Jan 2012 16:23:40 CST
As the presidential campaign season heats up, one issue that is sure to gain more and more traction is the growth in food stamp rolls.
According to the USDA's own numbers, more than 46 million American's will receive food stamps this year. That's 15 percent of the country's population. That's 45 percent higher than when President Obama took office and more than twice as high as the average for the previous 40 years.
Many economists attribute the surge in food stamp recipients to the recession, but part of the program's growth was an increase in supplemental nutrition benefits pushed as part of President Obama's stimulus plan approved by Congress.
In an article published by Investor's Business Daily, John Merline argues that the dependency of the public on government programs in general has been increasing since President Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" programs of the 1960s. Merline says that trend has rapidly accelerated since President Obama took office.
With the food stamp program embedded in the farm bill, it can often appear that farmers are the direct beneficiaries of the rapid growth in the government's spending.
Such is not the case says FarmPolicyFacts.org. The organization points out that farm policy funding has been falling as food stamp benefits have been increasing. The net result is less money to famers, not more.
The group says that 84 percent of farm-bill related spending goes to food and nutrition programs, not to farmers. And, overall, farm policy funding has fallen for the last ten years even as food stamp-related spending has increased. Farm policy funding was slashed by $7.4 billion in the 2008 farm bill and by another $6 billion in the 2010 bill.
FarmPolicyFacts.org reports that commodity policies in the 2008 farm bill cost less than one-quarter of one percent of the federal budget-less than 25 cents of every $100 dollars paid in taxes. The group says that's hardly a place to look for significant savings against the explosion in payouts for food stamps.
Authority for the food stamp program- or SNAP as it is now called is renewed each time a farm bill is approved. Because of that- supporters have great incentive to see either new farm policy to be passed in 2012 or at the least, an one year extension to the current 2008 farm bill.
Reverting back to the permanent 1949 farm law is not an option for food stamp supporters as they are not authorized in that measure.
To read more about skyrocketing food stamp rolls from Investor's Business Daily, click here.
To see a video about food stamp growth under President Obama and President Bush, click here.
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