Today, the first-ever program-wide reduction in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”), also known as food stamps, will take place. The reduction amounts to $5 billion out of a program that spent nearly $80 billion in the most recent fiscal year, more than double what food stamps cost taxpayers when Barack Obama took office and more than five times the cost in FY2002.
Food stamp benefits are distributed to a shocking 47 million people, about 14 percent of all households in the United States, up more than two-thirds from five years ago despite the unemployment rate having dropped far below the worst months of 2009 and 2010.
Think about that: Nearly one out of every seven Americans gets the government cheese. That can only be good for those who distribute the Velveeta (or, for today’s pampered and unashamed EBT recipients, perhaps a fine organic chèvre), lovingly keeping millions of Americans as their little pet mice. We’re not even a nation of sheep anymore; we’ve been downgraded to rodents, hoping to be fed by our benevolent government keepers. Maybe we’ll even get over-sized Habitrails one day.
This increase in dependency is a specific goal of the Obama administration, with the USDA giving bonuses to states for “efficiency” in adding more people to the food stamp welfare rolls. In 2011, Oregon bragged of a $5 million “performance bonus” for increasing SNAP recipients by 60 percent over three years.
Contrary to willfully ignorant reporting describing today’s reductions as “a move by congress,” these automatic “cuts” represent the end of a temporary boost of 13.6 percent in SNAP benefits enacted through President Obama’s 2009 stimulus, which failed to stimulate anything other than the growth of government and dependency — again, precisely the goal of this administration.
Due to the reduction, according to CBS News, “the maximum payment for a family of four will shrink from $668 a month to $632, or $432 over the course of a year.” In other words, program participants will see a modest cut which was always intended to take place at the end of a temporary boost in benefits (despite Reagan’s warning that “nothing lasts longer than a temporary government program”).
Yet panic-stricken liberals are warning of — and perhaps hoping for — riots.
Fox News has reported that the Department of Homeland Security is wasting $80 million taxpayer dollars to protect government buildings from the violence of those living off the forced generosity of others when that generosity is slightly reduced.
This has to stop.
We are not a nation of impoverished peasants living in straw huts, desperate for just enough kindness from the czar to allow us to survive, albeit cold and hungry, through another gray winter, while we listen hopefully to Bolsheviks promising to free us from bitter serfdom.
We are not a nation of mice, helpless in our cages but for the magical hand that makes cheese appear in our bowl.
And we are not a nation accustomed to seeing our fellow citizens’ self-worth destroyed by being led into the opiate of dependency — at least not on this scale.
Separate from discussions of the importance of freedom, the immorality of redistribution, and the exceptionalism and self-reliance that once defined the American character, an economic debate also surrounds the food stamp program.
It’s one thing for Nancy Pelosi, economoron that she is, to suggest that food stamps provide economic stimulus. Back in 2010, the lunatic leftist gave us this piece of economic wisdom: “It is the biggest bang for the buck when you do food stamps and unemployment insurance. The biggest bang for the buck.”
But it’s something else when a financial reporter buys unquestioningly into that obviously ridiculous argument.
The Democratic-controlled Senate passed a measure that would reduce SNAP costs by about one tenth of that amount and, given the Democrats’ history when it comes to redistribution and their true interest in reducing the number of dollars flowing through the sticky fingers of bureaucracy, even that minuscule reduction is likely a mirage.
President Obama is pressing for a Farm Bill, which includes food stamp funding, to be agreed upon and passed as quickly as possible. The chasm between budget- and dependency-cutting House Republicans and Harry Reid’s Senate poverty pimps will be extraordinarily difficult to bridge. At least the worst case seems to be a halt to the rapid growth of American mice nervously awaiting their handout of government cheese.