Monday, July 2, 2012

Obama Wants You on Food Stamps

Melissa Melton
If the Supreme Court upholding Obamacare left Americans with any doubts we are officially living in a debt-fueled social welfare state, the Obama Administration recently spent three million dollars to convince us we will all live healthier lives if we sign up for food stamps.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been running a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) propaganda campaign for several months now. Primarily aimed at Hispanics, the elderly, and the working poor and unemployed, ads include radio segments claiming that food stamps help beneficiaries “eat right”:
Woman #1: “I wonder how she stays so fit, what’s her secret?”
Woman #2: “Well she told me that food stamp benefits help her eat right, and she stays active too.”
(The full commercials may be heard here.)
Food stamp guidelines only require that items purchased with stamps are designated as “food for home consumption”. It should be noted the USDA does not station enforcement officers at grocery stores to ensure food stamp recipients’ shopping carts are filled with vegetables instead of potato chips.
Reality apparently aside, food stamp use has skyrocketed 100 percent in President Obama’s America, no doubt due in part to his stimulus act which made it easier for adults without jobs or children to receive food stamp aid. Obama also increased the total allotted benefit amount by 15 percent. Meanwhile, American poverty figures are absolutely staggering. A full third of the country’s population are considered working poor. One out of every seven Americans is on food stamps now, the highest number since the program’s inception. In fact, the USDA doled out $75 billion dollars in food stamps throughout fiscal year 2011, more than double the $34.6 billion spent in 2008.
The county is ripe with economic strife. Our national deficit is nearly $16 trillion dollars. While $3 million must seem like a drop in the bucket, federally funded food stamp advertisements raise an obvious and troubling question. At a time when more people than ever before are relying on the government to buy their food, why in the world would the USDA spend millions in an attempt to boostenrollment in an already overburdened program?
According to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, food stamps actually stimulate the economy and create jobs:

Nancy Pelosi shared Vilsack’s sentiment at a press conference back in 2010 when she claimed, “It is the biggest bang for the buck when you do food stamps and unemployment insurance.”
Following this logic, if more people are on food stamps than ever, then more people should be employed than ever, right? That must be why we have the highest long-term unemployment rates since the Great Depression.
The USDA’s radio ads are part of a newly released community outreach toolkit which its website explains is meant to “improve existing SNAP outreach to those who are eligible but not participating in the program.” This kit also includes a series of flyers that suggest “fresh ideas” to garner local offices more aid recipients, such as throwing food stamp “parties,” complete with entertainment and food stamp info-themed BINGO games.
Sounds super fun, right? Perhaps one of the game card squares should read “Road to American Serfdom.”