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Food Stamps Pay Off

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Mother Jones, October 25, 2013: CHARTS: The Hidden Benefits of Food Stamps

    As the Senate and House start negotiating a budget for 2014, Food Stamps are a favorite target for the Republicans. This is not a new story. It goes back as far as Reagan's fictitious "welfare queen" that was a factor in turning out the votes for Reagan and against the poor.

    Here are a few facts from Mother Jones to keep in mind as we follow the negotiations:


    The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly known as food stamps) not only helps families below the poverty line, it also is a stimulus effect on the economy.

    Eighty-three percent of food stamps go to households with children, seniors, and nonelderly people with disabilities.

    In 2012, the average recipient got $133.41 in food stamps per month—that works out to $1.48 per meal.

    SNAP lifted a record 4 million people out of poverty in 2012.

    Every $5 of food stamps spent generates up to $9 in economic activity. Food stamp spending generates local economic activity, jobs in the farm and retail sectors and beyond.

    Each $1 billion spent on retail food by SNAP recipients generates 3,300 farm jobs.

    In 2012 more than 65 million Americans received food stamps for at least one month.

    In September, just two days after a Census Bureau report showed that food stamps helped keep 4 million Americans out of poverty last year, the US House of Representatives approved a $39 billion cut to the program. [These cuts are reminiscent of the Reagan cutbacks to the Food Stamp program in the early 1980s.]

    However, if these huge cuts were to ever pass the Senate, President Obama has vowed to veto them.

    Nevertheless, the food stamp program will be slashed by $5 billion on November 1st as the temporary additional funding from the 2009 Stimulus package runs out.
  • Strongly Liberal
    Seattle, WA
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    Thanks for citing that Mother Jones article. It's good to know. (And I'm glad you mentioned Reagan's fictitious "welfare queen" propaganda, because more people should be aware of Reagan's dirty deception.)

    I find it amazing that so many Americans still haven't figured out how and why Ronald Reagan and his "religious right" cohorts started America down the path toward where we are today -- with bitter partisan conflict and division, harmful and destructive economic crises, wars that cannot be won by killing, a deeply threatened environment, a crumbling infrastructure, a shrinking middle class and growing working poor population, and increasing poverty, hunger and homelessness -- all while the wealthiest few and their banks, industries, corporations and financial institutions are enjoying record profits and soaring incomes.

    There is something extremely wrong with this picture, and to me the cause of our problems is clear -- and yet it is being perpetuated and still pushed by spiritually blind right-wing Reaganite ideologues, the worst of which proudly call themselves Libertarians and Tea Party members.

    How long is it going to take for enough Americans to get the message?
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Dallas, TX
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    Yes, the spending multipliers associated with food stamps means it's a net-deficit reducer, in that it generates more tax revenue for every dollar spent by government.

    So it's like, people with food stamps can now spend whatever they were spending on food for other things, or expand their purchases of food, etc.

    And it all helps the private credit expansion.
  • Green Party
    Omaha, NE
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    I am a disabled individual who works at writing and translation avocationally (very difficult work.) I have twenty to twenty five pieces published and one translation published…and I am seeing a reduction in food stamps?! I just cannot agree with that kind of thing. I saw a chart earlier that lines up taxpayers with nearly three hundred dollars in defense spending and four thousand in subsidies. Meanwhile, the hungry in this great nation of ours go hungrier. What is the American Dream? It seems there are a lot of individuals out there that need to question their values. The greatness of this country is measured by its care for the indigent and poor and working poor. What is going to happen to our society if we don't pay attention to the needs of the poor. Are we going to land ourselves in a Dickensian reality where sweatshops and child labor are the norm? Are we headed back to Ancient Rome where 'panem and circensis' are the lucky prizes for the poor? It seems like there is an amazing opportunity with this recession to turn things around for the benefit of all individuals involved -- free medical care, free power if sustainable energy is developed, care for all individuals, a peaceful world and renaissance. It is hardly time to be bickering over a few cents worth of food.