Last Updated:April 17 @ 10:14 am

Parker: The New American Food Stamp Plantation

By Star Parker

The House Agriculture Committee has reported out its version of a new farm bill that will cut $16.5 billion over 10 years from funding of SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, once known as food stamps.

The cuts in the House bill exceed those in the Senate bill by $12 billion.

Sixteen and a half billion dollars amounts to a whopping 2 percent cut in SNAP program expenditures. At a time when we are running trillion-dollar annual federal budget deficits, it's hard to see a 2 percent cut in any large spending program as provocative -- particularly in a program like SNAP, where spending in 2011 was more than 400 percent higher than in 2000.

Yet liberals are predictably ringing the alarm. Assistant House Democratic leader James Clyburn, D-S.C., called the cuts "abominable," suggesting they will jeopardize nutrition of children and that it's all about protecting "the wealthy and the well-to-do."

I recall these kinds of charges from the Left when I worked on reforming welfare in 1995 and 1996. Those reforms, signed into law by President Clinton, were far more sweeping than 2 percent cuts. Not only did doomsday predictions not come to pass, but welfare rolls were dramatically reduced without casting anyone into the street. Instead, young women on welfare went to work.

Why, if cutting back on SNAP spending is about protecting "the wealthy," as Clyburn would have us believe, do big corporations like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods and Kroger support and lobby for the program, as Time magazine recently reported they do?

It's because government spending programs, even if initiated with the best of intentions, wind up being about interests, not efficiency or compassion.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, 18 million Americans received SNAP benefits in 2000. By 2011, this number had grown to 45 million, one of seven Americans.

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.

What has been happening is that it has become increasingly easy to qualify for SNAP benefits, the government has been spending more taxpayer funds promoting the program and the stigma of food stamps as a welfare program has disappeared.

A New York Times article in 2010 carried the headline "Once Stigmatized, Food Stamps Find Acceptance." The article notes posters in New York City announcing "Applying for food stamps is easier than ever" and quotes Eric Bost, head of the program under President George W. Bush, saying "I assure you, food stamps is not welfare."

According to CBO, three-fourths of recipients are "categorically eligible," which means they automatically qualify by virtue of participating in some other federal or state welfare program. In some states, they need not even be receiving cash benefits from these programs -- simply having received an information pamphlet can be enough.

At one time, recipients received their food stamp benefits in dollar-denominated paper vouchers that they had to present at the cash register. Now, benefits come on a sharp-looking electronic debit card that looks like any credit or debit card.

And the fact that SNAP funds are provided by the federal government, but administered and spent by the states, is a proven formula, as in Medicaid, for undisciplined spending growth.

Sadly, our nation has become a food stamp plantation.

The most compassionate thing that can be done today is exactly what is not happening -- economic growth, job creation and getting folks to work. The path to this end is to make government smaller, not larger.

---

Star Parker is president of CURE.

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34 Comments

  1. CharlieComment by vietnamvet
    July 16, 2012 @ 9:32 am

    People have no true self-esteem, anymore.

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      July 16, 2012 @ 11:02 am

      The beginning of the end of American personal dignity began when the word shame was removed by Liberal Progressives from the American vocabulary for “Feel Good” politically correct reasons.

      They have re-written the words of our Lady Liberty just like they would re-write our Constitution.

      “Give me your tired, your poor, Your Huddled masses yearning to BREATHE free,”

      Now becomes “ Yearning to EAT Free.”

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    • commonsenseneededComment by commonsenseneeded
      July 16, 2012 @ 11:24 am

      The liberal government doesn’t want people to have self-esteem or dignity anymore, because those who are used to being on the dole, are much easier influenced by their benefactors. How many blacks believed Obama was going to pay all their bills, provide things they had never had before? He got elected on promises he will never be able to fulfill, but still the plantation mentality still exists, and these folk continue to expect the plantation owner to provide for their needs. It’s disgraceful, and in all reality, this president has done more to create discord in the country, because he is perpetuating the nanny mentality of the minorities in this country, and those of us who still believe it taking care of our own business, resent being taxed to pay for those who don’t.

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      Rating: 4.3/5 (31 votes cast)
  2. effwingerComment by effwinger
    July 16, 2012 @ 10:18 am

    I wonder if these liberal fools will break out their savings to help feed the poor after the US defaults and goes “belly up”? I’m no mathematician, but this stupid spending spree is NOT sustainable. There just aren’t that many wealthy people to continue rewarding those that practice poor judgment and bad behavior. There are some tough times ahead, and the unprepared are going to suffer the most. The positive part is they are the same ones making it happen….

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  3. glennComment by glenn
    July 16, 2012 @ 10:32 am

    Yes you see it everyday with a huge amount of illegals receiving them. They all have huge families with the exception of a husband. These kids will be our future with a low IQ parent guess what the kids will be like.

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    • commonsenseneededComment by commonsenseneeded
      July 16, 2012 @ 11:32 am

      I agree 100%! And even worse, many of these mothers are giving birth to children with birth defects, that qualify them for SSI! Why is this happening? Is it because the mothers drink and do drugs while pregnant? Are they intentionally taking things that will cause birth defects, just to get the government money? Why is SSI paying for anyone’s handicapped child? That was supposed to be a safety net for working adults who became disabled and were no longer able to take care of their families. The government is bound and determined to make everyone dependent, and that will take away everything this country was supposed to be, and permanently destroy it! People have to take responsibility for their own lives, and stop expecting someone else to carry their burdens for them! If you can’t afford to eat, stop making more babies. Incidentally, has anyone ever done a study to see what percentage of SNAP participants are obese? I’d like to see that done, because too many Food Stamp Recipients are as fat as fat can be, which means they get too much to stuff into their mouths. If you have nothing to eat, you’re not going to be fat, you’re going to be skin and bones.

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  4. Pingback: Taxpayer Dollars Advertising Food Stamps?

  5. bna42Comment by bna42
    July 16, 2012 @ 10:43 am

    “. . .a new farm bill that will cut $16.5 billion over 10 years from funding of SNAP”

    This government scheme to deceive the people by spreading promised spending cuts over ten years is nothing more than fraud. I think this deception started under Bill Clinton with his “surplus” promises.

    It was reported that 80% of the entire farm bill funding goes toward SNAP, so cutting 2% of it over ten years is actually not enough reduction to keep the cost from increasing since the government builds in an automatic increase every year. Also, the ten-year window gives plenty of time for politicians to amend the promise after it is no longer on the minds of the people.

    The people have allowed the government to get by with their manipulations until politicians see us as ignorant, apathetic, and uncaring. This gang of career politicians need to be removed from government control.

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  6. brierebearComment by brierebear
    July 16, 2012 @ 10:50 am

    Glenn, you mean American citizens and legal aliens don’t have large families? You mean American students all have high-IQ parents and excellent schools?

    The rate of people on food stamps has several things to consider: the rate still is consistent with historic rates; the population increased by 27 million between 2000 and 2010; wages stagnated throughout 2000 and 2010, not just during the recession. The increase in unemployment, and the lack of hiring despite the tax credits for hiring offered through the stimulus and other legislation, exacerbated this.

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    • JDZComment by JDZ
      July 16, 2012 @ 11:14 am

      The average unemployment rate during the 8 year Bush terms was 4.5 % which is nearly full employment. The last year of his administration (2008) when the housing bubble hit, the unemployment rate jumped up. So, the number of those on food stamps increased by 400% during a good economic period. During this 2000 to 2008 period, Bush granted amnesty to millions of illegals who had slipped into the country to join the millions already here. The highest birth rates in the country are within the Hispanic community and inner city Black communities and also where the highest increases of new participants in the food stamp program has been taking place. Now, with the extensive federal advertising of the program that is going on, even more people are signing up.

      When someone gives you basically “free money” it is just human nature to take it, even if it was taken from someone else who earned it. Those on food stamps will stay on food stamps, whether they deserve it or not, until someone says they cannot. The same with welfare or any other government subsidy program. Whether or not the government can afford to fund these programs does not even cross their minds.

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      July 16, 2012 @ 11:15 am

      What exacerbates this is that a food stamp recipient enrolled is a vote for the very party and people who degrade the very person in dependency that they claim they wish to elevate. We Americans were born to be eagles who are daily becoming extinct, not because we are no longer eagles but because we have forgotten the purpose for which we were designed. We were not created by a creator to live on the ground pecking on the ground and pecking at each other,,, being hand fed by Liberal Progressives whose real intent is to fatten us up to become food for THEM to consume. You wonder why Americans are in the frying pan???? look to the political vultures who fly higher than the chickens they feed upon, but not higher than the American Eagles who used to rule this land in freedom. When in voting booth remember who you are and what you were created to be. We are created to be human BEINGS not human doers, so NOW do the right thing and vote to live in the land of personal freedoms for which your American DNA was designed.

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      July 16, 2012 @ 11:26 am

      Since you are trying to justify the increase in good stamps, let me offer some things for you to consider. First, the lack of hiring despite “tax credits” simply means businesses are smarter than government. Why would anyone take on another employee and subject themselves to another payroll, more taxes, more regulations, and more government interference for a $3,000 tax credit? Second, since the population increased by 27 million over the past decade, why is Obama praising the “2 million jobs we claims he saved or created”? Why hasn’t he produced what he promised by being allowed to spend $800 billion on “shovel-ready jobs”? Third, you mention “historic rates” regarding food stamps, but the issue here is that there should be no “history” with this program. The federal government has no business being involved in “feeding the poor”. That has never been their job, but if they insist on being involved, bring back the soup lines of the depression rather than handing out money to be used for anything or even traded.

      The people depending on government assistance for their existence need to become productive citizens rather than dependents. But the federal government has allowed them to become parasites, using them for votes. What are these dependents going to do when the government can no longer provide for them?

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      July 16, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

      This is what you get when you allow government to be the dispensor of mercy rather that the religious institutions. Secular Governments make poor Gods. Governments were designed to dispense justice, not mercy,,,,, and when they dabble in the mercy business for which they are ill equipped, the results are always that the people get no justice in the redistribution of honest wealth to the dishonest and no mercy in the enslavement in dependency in the enablement of their weakest inclination of human nature to persue the path of least resistence in life. We Americans were made for much better things.

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    • glennComment by glenn
      July 16, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

      I just have to ask one question. In the 40s and 50s we didn’t have all the welfare and food stamps and to my memories I didn’t see starving people dying in the streets. Even if American citizens and legal aliens do have large families they are American citizens. Just how much of the world do you think we can support on these programs. California is a good example of the drain illegals take on the state. I know for a fact as soon as they get into this country they start producing as many kids as they can. The procedure is she has the kids with no husbond and the boyfriend works under the table and at night he sneaks back into the house.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 16, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

      Religious institutions take care of people because they love them.
      Government takes care of people because they demand your love of them.

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  7. twh58Comment by twh58
    July 16, 2012 @ 10:51 am

    Statistics from Europe will show that regardless of the doomsday predictions, when government entitlements are scaled back from 5yrs. to 4yrs…guess when they find a job? If you guessed 3 yrs 11 months…you win the rightwing conservative pig award and you hate clean air, granny and hungry kids, but love dirty water and a nice home and car.

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  8. prairelivingComment by praireliving
    July 16, 2012 @ 10:52 am

    During the Great Depression my grandmother and great aunt went to the government assistance program to get some canned goods because they had literally nothing in the pantry to eat. They cried all the way there and all the way back and put the few cans of food under a blanket in the baby carriage my great aunt was pushing her infant daughter in. They didn’t want anyone to see that they were in such dire straits that they needed to take a handout from the government. They were so ashamed that they never went back for more help.

    What has happened that now people see handouts as not a temporary help but as a way to live? Why is it now considered an entitlement (something I deserve) rather than something that should only be used as a last resort and only for the most basic foodstuffs? Something is terribly wrong with society these days.

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      July 16, 2012 @ 11:24 am

      They were saved by the very shame that Liberals would remove from our minds and hearts. They by embracing their shame defined themselves and their condition as temporary, while those who eschew their shame dwell in the permannent progressive poverty of the Liberal and Libertine lifestyle.

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  9. passthewordComment by passtheword
    July 16, 2012 @ 11:21 am

    Everybody knows that cuts are needed, but no one wants to be the one that gets cut.

    THis program is a “shameful” belittling of people. It feeds the weak minded, the lazy and the abuser alike. It keeps people poor.

    The Bible says a man that won’t work shouldn’t eat…

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      July 16, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

      If God did not want us to be motivated he would not have created hunger. Hunger is a teacher whose lessons all need to learn, not fear.

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  10. bna42Comment by bna42
    July 16, 2012 @ 11:42 am

    “The last year of his administration (2008) when the housing bubble hit, the unemployment rate jumped up. So, the number of those on food stamps increased by 400% during a good economic period.”

    Since you admit that the “housing bubble hit”, how can you describe that as “a good economic period”?

    “Bush granted amnesty to millions of illegals who had slipped into the country to join the millions already here.”

    HOW and WHEN did Bush “grant amnesty” to millions of illegals? Please give your evidence to support that claim. Would you like to discuss Obama’s recent “granting amnesty” to illegals by promising them they would not be deported?

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    • JDZComment by JDZ
      July 16, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

      If you paid any attention to history at all you would know that there has been two amnesty programs for illegals and both was during Republican administrations (Reagan and Bush). Get off your behind and do some research of your own and quit listening to liberal propaganda.

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  11. wdjincComment by wdjinc
    July 16, 2012 @ 1:00 pm

    45 million people on food stamps! To provide nutrition????

    If the intent is to provide ‘nutritious’ food to the recipients then why don’t we limit food purchases to prevent buying of prime steaks, prime rib and other such high-end food products.

    The other day I saw a food stamp recipient loading his cart with shrimp, lobster and rib-eye steaks and we (the 50% who pay taxes) are paying for this extravagance. No wonder the states are going broke.

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    • effwingerComment by effwinger
      July 16, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

      Correct. It should be surplus beans and rice. You want a steak, get a job and PAY FOR IT!

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    • prairelivingComment by praireliving
      July 16, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

      Gotta agree. I don’t really see why I need to pay for someone else to eat high end foods when I work hard to afford the good but not fancy food I put on our family’s table. We grow a garden, I buy budget cuts of meat on sale (love my slow cooker), and tell my children “no” when they ask for treats that just are not in the budget. My parents did it with us. My mom still brags about the week she served pork chops every night for a week because she got a serious deal on them and my dad didn’t even realize it was the same cut of meat because she found interesting ways to make them that appeared to be totally different cuts.

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    • monstertruckComment by monstertruck
      July 16, 2012 @ 7:42 pm

      I’d be all for limiting freedom by disallowing what some people consider “luxury items” but I also think we need to extend what SNAP can do so people can get basic hygiene items like toilet paper, diapers, toothpaste, and bar soap.

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  12. badlandsbabeComment by badlandsbabe
    July 16, 2012 @ 1:00 pm

    Star Parker for VP

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  13. WaltComment by Walt
    July 16, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

    Comments by commonsense-needed you are so right in both of your comments, this President has none more too destroy our Nation than any one person ever, he wants people to depend on the Government. He talks about the rich and he is a Millionaire, but people believe he is more on thier level than Romney, This man is a very Dangerous person and the people had better open thier minds and start thinking for yourself and find out what Obama is really about.Obama is only out for number one himself, he likes to have Power over people just like Satin.

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    • nickster99Comment by nickster99
      July 16, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

      Just like the ANTI-CHRIST! All he needs is a 666 stamped on his forehead!

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  14. keiterchuckComment by keiterchuck
    July 16, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

    I think we’ve been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it’s the government’s job to cope with it. ‘I have a problem, I’ll get a grant.’ ‘I’m homeless, the government must house me.’ They’re casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation
    Margaret Thatcher (1925 – )

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  15. 1rhkmykalaComment by 1rhkmykala
    July 16, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

    How about a 25% cut in Wellfare and the same for All Gov. salaries starting Top down….with all branches of gov and the employees of all gov. except the military and social security retirees. Just a thought.

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  16. vevaComment by veva
    July 16, 2012 @ 7:16 pm

    We gotta get Obama OUT. Watch and hear this terrific video:http://www.patriotsuperpac.net/1951/offer.asp?Ref_ID=16889&CID=951&RID=36158503

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  17. monstertruckComment by monstertruck
    July 16, 2012 @ 7:33 pm

    I paid all my taxes for 20 years and now that I’m unemployed and have a family to support I am certainly glad SNAP exists. It makes me feel very ashamed to ask anybody for help but they only let you sell plasma twice a week and I’m unskilled for any of the jobs for which they are hiring in my local area. Thank God my wife has her $9 an hour job, but it just isn’t enough. Eventually I’ll find something — hopefully within weeks, but there’s no way we could make it through the next month or two if SNAP wasn’t there. Feel free to tell me it’s completely my own fault for getting into this sorry state.

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    • glennComment by glenn
      July 17, 2012 @ 11:11 am

      Monstertruck the public at large has no problem with you receiving help. What we really have problems with is people making a life long stay on the programs. If it was used as a help to get people by during bad times then you wouldn’t see the huge amount of people using the programs. It has never went down just up even during good times, that is the problem

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  18. genesalComment by genesal
    July 16, 2012 @ 9:15 pm

    The ‘perfect financial storm’ has formed and will sink the economy and possibly America. Double dip is closing upon us as we speak.

    Republican’s cannot save US by themselves hopefully the Tea Party and others will join in. Otherwise we need to put out flyers seeking a George Washington type.

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