published Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Politicizing food stamps

The federal food stamp program without a doubt provides vital help to many individuals and families who truly need assistance in putting food on their tables. Is it a program without fault? No. Can it be improved? Of course. But tinkering with guidelines or purposefully politicizing food stamps in a presidential election year are not the best ways to make a program that serves tens of millions of Americans more efficient and effective.

Nevertheless, food stamps have become a major topic in the Republican presidential primary, and attempts to restrict what can be purchased with them increasingly appear on state legislative agendas. Both make it extremely difficult to promote rational discussion about the role of government assistance in promoting a healthier population.

Republican presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have made the food stamp program an issue. Gingrich, especially, has used the issue to hammer President Barack Obama, claiming that he is the "best food stamp president in American history." That's demagoguery at its worst. The truth is that while the number of food stamps recipients is at all-time high, the greatest growth did not occur on Obama's watch.

A recent month-by-month analysis revealed that the number of people receiving food stamps increased by 14.7 million during the George W. Bush years and by 14.2 million during the Obama presidency. About 1 in 7 Americans -- around 45 million people -- now use food stamps, an increase of about 14 million in the last three years. Much of that growth, however, is tied directly to the Great Recession and the concomitant loss of jobs that have deep roots in the Bush, not the Obama, presidency.

Efforts at the state level to strictly define what can and can not be purchased with food stamps are mean-spirited. The latest attempt in Florida is a case in point. There, state Sen. Rhonda Storms is promoting legislation to ban the purchase of soda, candy, snacks and other items she considers unhealthy by food stamp recipients. That sounds well-intentioned -- no one can argue that sugary drinks, high-calorie snacks and fast foods are healthy -- but overlooks a significant fact.

Food stamp recipients aren't the only individuals who purchase and consume unhealthy amounts of soft and other sugary drinks, fast-food meals high in fats, calories and salt, and other items of dubious nutritional value. A majority of Americans do not receive food stamps, but they still consume large amounts of the foods cited by Storms. They purposefully do so rather than prepare meals that make fresh fruits and vegetables, grains and other healthy foodstuffs a regular component of their diet. If grandstanding politicians want to reform America's eating habits, they should direct their attention to the broader rather than narrower picture.

Finding ways to educate people about healthier eating habits, to make healthy foods more widely available and less expensive and to promote more exercise among all socio-economic groups would be far more productive to the overall health and nutrition of Americans than humiliating food stamp recipients and nit-picking current regulations for political gain.

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conservative said...

"But tinkering with guidelines or purposefully politicizing food stamps in a presidential election year are not the best ways to make a program that serves tens of millions of Americans more efficient and effective."

NOW is the BEST time simply because in a Presidential election year people are paying attention. Even Lieberals know that the vast majority of that 45 million have no business being on food stamps. It's bad enough that the working taxpayer is feeding many able bodied people but now Lieberals want to provide them with junk food as well on the taxpayer dime.

This welfare should be an issue and I am glad it is being written about.

February 3, 2012 at 9:21 a.m.
tipper said...

I don't believe conservative's "vast majority of 45 million people" figure, and I'm sure he or she doesn't either. Some commenters love to pull numbers out of the air or other places. I wonder if conservative or others with similar ideologies would accept food stamps to feed their families if they were out of work, exhausted most of their savings, and could no longer borrow money or get extended credit. "There but the grace of God go I."

February 3, 2012 at 3:19 p.m.
conservative said...

Tipper--

That " 45 million " figure was provide by the writer of the article and was close enough to be true. The very Lieberal Puffington Post has cited the same figure.

Now the vast majority of that 45 million figure are NOT "out of work, exhausted most of their savings, and could no longer borrow money or get extended credit." as you stated.

You left out the "for" in your NON- SCRIPTUAL " There but the grace of God go I"

However, Psalm 37: 25 does state "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."

February 3, 2012 at 3:57 p.m.

You may wish to practice your reading comprehension. The issue is with YOUR "vast majority" statement not with the 45 million figure.

Please produce a complete demographic breakdown of persons on food stamps. How many are disabled? How many are senior citizens? How many hours are they working? What is their average income? Why do you want to exhaust their savings?

February 3, 2012 at 4:35 p.m.
conservative said...

As you noted, my "vast majority" was a STATEMENT, the 45 million was a FIGURE provided by the writer of the article. You might want to practice "your reading comprehension".

As I told you in the past you have issues, very large issues. Seek counseling. You are one confused individual.

February 3, 2012 at 5:33 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

On Politicizing Food Stamps

For anyone wondering why all of these Republican politicians are always politicizing food stamps, I believe Jonathan Zasloff has the answer. Although he is primarily focusing on Mitt Romney, who doesn't worry about the poor, I believe Zasloff's analysis applies to most of Mitt's fellow Republicans. Anyway, this is why Republicans are politicizingfood stamps:

1) . . . Needs the very poor to serve as the scapegoat for the Republican war on the middle class. “You” are getting screwed by Washington because it is giving “them” all your money. Who do you think “they” are?

2) Although Republicans have no serious plan to cut government spending, they always need to find something to cut, and that something is pretty much always programs for the very poor. . . As a general budgetary matter, this won’t do much, but it will give Republican Congressmen something to celebrate.

3) And finally, Republicans need the very poor to serve as a lumpenproletariat to keep wages down. You don’t like working at minimum wage? There’s someone else who would. Now, that’s not completely true, because the GOP nowadays uses illegal immigrants for that, and then uses them to stir up anti-immigrant racism and cultural anxiety. But hey, that’s just multitasking.

http://www.samefacts.com/2012/02/republican-party/mitt-romney-cares-deeply-about-the-very-poor/

February 3, 2012 at 5:47 p.m.

Conservative, the problem is clearly yours, and the criticism was clearly of your interpretation of the figure. The more you try to wiggle out of it, the more you are stuck in the mud. But hey, every time you chide me, I'm more convinced I'm sane, comprehensible, and far more articulate than I realize.

If you thought well of me, I'd be sure I was doing something wrong.

You're a validating critic.

mountainlaurel, it's like the cookie story. There's a dozen sitting on the table. 3 men walk into the room, the first walks in and takes 10, and tells the second, watch that third guy, he wants one of your cookies!

February 3, 2012 at 5:56 p.m.
fairmon said...

In 8 years bumbler Bush adds 14.7 million new recipients and in 3 years Obamabutt adds 14.1 million new recipients. This could be interpreted to mean the total may be over 50 million in the next 5 years. No worries it will all still be Bush's fault and we can borrow or print more money to pay for whatever the total is. How can either party be defended or admired?

February 4, 2012 at 2:46 a.m.
Haiku said...

For the past forty plus years, whenever Republicans have gained some level of power on the federal level they've always stirred up divisions and hate in America. This isn't the first time they've used that "food stamp" ammo, and other derogatory attacks against the poor. This is, however, one of the most vicious, divisive and hateful attacks they've used. They're quick to call themselves Christians, but God and the Bible have long warned us against these individuals who shout Lord! Lord! Their actions resemble more Satanic than God the father or Jesus Christ the son of God.

February 4, 2012 at 4:36 a.m.
conservative said...

This writer and like minded Lieberals either overlook the fact, ignore the fact, ( most likely ) or are not intelligent enough to figure out that many food stamp recipients use tobacco and alcohol. Food stamps free up money to buy these products as well as illegal drugs. Taxpayers should not be subsidizing their unhealthy habits.

February 4, 2012 at 9:16 a.m.

conservative, great, let's see your numbers for that. Please tell us how much money you're going to spend to fix it, and what your solution is.

Oh wait, you just have attacks!

harp3339, keep passing off the Republican Mantra, that's going to show your bipartisan criticism even more to be a fraud. Seriously, why are you upset that people are on food stamps? Is it shameful that some people need help? How many of them are disabled, senior citizens, or just children?

February 4, 2012 at 10:02 a.m.
macropetala8 said...

This is somewhat off the subject. But those darNED voter fraudin' liberals are at it again, y'all!!

excerpt yahoo news:

*INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — "Indiana's top elections official could lose his job and his freedom after jurors convicted him of multiple voter fraud-related charges on Saturday, leaving in flux the fate of one of the state's most powerful positions."

"Republican Secretary of State Charlie White has held on to his office for more than a year despite being accused of lying about his address on voter registration forms."

"A Hamilton County jury found White guilty of six of seven felony charges, including false registration, voting in another precinct, submitting a false ballot, theft and two counts of perjury. He was acquitted on one fraud charge."

Sorry, but I just couldn't resist. Since those right winglets are the ones always screaming the loudest about dems and liberals committing voter fraud.

February 4, 2012 at 10:24 a.m.
acerigger said...

macropetala8, stay tuned,looks like Romney AND "The Newtster" are about to face voter fraud charges in the near future!http://www.bradblog.com/

February 4, 2012 at 11:33 a.m.
fairmon said...

conservative said...

Seriously, why are you upset that people are on food stamps? Is it shameful that some people need help? How many of them are disabled, senior citizens, or just children?

Your ability to reach convenient conclusions is amazing. How did you conclude I was upset about people getting food stamps? I have no problem with people qualifying getting food stamps and I really don't care what they buy with them. In my opinion if there is abuse, misuse, too many recipients or fraud it is incumbent upon those in the know to report it and the responsibility of those providing them to fix the problem. The only other option is to pay up and shut up.

February 4, 2012 at 12:15 p.m.

Ahem, conservative didn't say that, I believe you meant me, and thank you for cutting off my post to quote it. I really dislike it when people do that, they tend to miss the whole of what was said.

But how did I conclude it? Because of your statements about it here. It's the standard Republican Mantra. You're complaining about the number of people on food stamps without any particular nuance to it, with nothing more than your standard anti-Obama vitriol.

If you have specific concerns, why don't you express them instead, without reference to the President? Not that your bland statements here are of substance, because those are problems with anything done anywhere, private or public. What I see from you is an ignorance that shows you haven't even bothered to look at the process, which spends considerable amounts on verification and testing, sometimes in ways that punishes people more than it prevents harm.

But no, you won't think about that, you'll just wring your hands, with the terrible thought, that somebody, somewhere, might be getting money meant for the poor under false pretenses...and while that might seem noble, I think it's because you despise the program, not because you are upset at the fraudster. That may be unfair to you, but not from what I've seen of your posts in the current Clay Bennett image.

February 4, 2012 at 12:44 p.m.
conservative said...

Notice that whenever government programs are discussed, Lieberals focus on INCREASING the number of participants and NOT DECREASING the number of participants. This is because Lieberals are invariably Socialists.

February 4, 2012 at 1:12 p.m.
macropetala8 said...

acerigger said... macropetala8, stay tuned,looks like Romney AND "The Newtster" are about to face voter fraud charges in the near future!http://www.bradblog.com

OH NOOOOO!!!! Not the party of "Christian" and family values, integrity, and patriotism?! The same party that has repeatedly condemned all those "lefty" "dirty" liberals and every one else to hell and back over and over? The same party that has been on the attack on the issue voter fraud? Cain't be. ;)

February 4, 2012 at 1:43 p.m.
acerigger said...

There are many variations of socialism and as such there is no single definition encapsulating all of socialism.

What's your definition conservative?

February 4, 2012 at 2:28 p.m.
conservative said...

One can never go wrong by quoting GOD:

Psalm 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

February 4, 2012 at 3:29 p.m.

conservative, you mean you want government services to cover less people, and do less effective jobs? What next, you going to find Wal-Mart wanting to have less customers?

But strange, you're quoting something used by "socialists" such as Lenin...did you know that? What does that mean?

Did they do wrong, or is quoting the Bible wrong?

February 4, 2012 at 5:25 p.m.
conservative said...

Think the food stamp program is not abused: Note especially the "no limit on the amount of assets a food-stamp recipient can possess" to receive food stamps.

"A more troubling reason for the increase is that state governments have found it easy to get their constituents federal money — that is, money mostly raised from current and future taxpayers in other states — by making more people eligible for food stamps. According to a mid-2010 report from the Government Accountability Office, 35 states have no limit on the amount of assets a food-stamp recipient can possess. More and more states — the count was 36 at the time of the report — are providing “categorical eligibility” for food stamps to anyone who receives welfare services. Merely getting an informational brochure from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program counts as receiving a service"

http://floppingaces.net/most_wanted/why-gingrich-is-right-about-food-stamps/

February 4, 2012 at 6:09 p.m.
acerigger said...

Since the "Bushies" blew up the economy in '08,with 4-5 applicants per available jobs since,more people are on food stamps? Whoda thunk it?

February 4, 2012 at 7:36 p.m.
conservative said...

Here is another example of food stamp abuse and how the taxpayer is being ripped off:

"Another way that states and localities can get federal money flowing to them is by providing token amounts of assistance with home heating bills. Even a dollar of energy subsidies can make someone eligible for food stamps, or increase the benefit level for someone already on SNAP. Vermont, for example, sends $5 checks to public-housing residents, even though their subsidized rent already covers heating, to qualify them for food stamps. Liberal activists call this strategy for getting federal money “heat and eat.” http://floppingaces.net/most_wanted/why-gingrich-is-right-about-food-stamps/

February 4, 2012 at 8:06 p.m.

Good idea conservative, let's make people sell off their assets to get food instead!

That's a sound choice!

Ever think it's the needless rules that focus more dollars on determining people's qualifications and away from actually helping you that are the waste? Who's behind those rules? Well, maybe the same people saving Florida -200,000 dollars on drug tests for welfare recipients!

February 4, 2012 at 8:20 p.m.
macropetala8 said...

Just like conservative to take words out of context then resort back to a Bible verse to gain traction.

The Bible also states, The poor will be with us always. Meaning we do have a responsibility to our poor.

The biggest welfare and foodstamp recipients are actually corporate America. They rely on all kinds of federal dollars (yours, mine and everyone's tax dollars) and tax breaks from the federal government.

The reason so many more Americans qualify for assistance is because more and more Americans are out of work. The recession began under Bush's watch. Republicans have blocked everything the president has tried to do to jump start the economy.

The Republicans start his hate the poor campaign everytime they've heavily beein in the White House. In the '80s they actually had people following individuals around in the grocery store to see what they were buying and watch if they paid with foodstamps or not. They even got the media involved. Some of the poor were actually attacked by poor haters in checkout lines.

Today's Republican Party is not the party of Lincoln. Lincoln's Party would not recognize them.

February 4, 2012 at 8:48 p.m.
acerigger said...

I'm just an "ol'country boy",but even I can figure out that there's a war on the poor going on!

Whatnhell happened to the America that used to take pride in caring for the less fortunate? Now it's "I got mine so scroo you"! Shameful!

February 4, 2012 at 8:49 p.m.
shoe_chucker said...

straight from the top

Deuteronomy 24:19

New International Version (NIV)

19 When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

Deuteronomy 24:20

New International Version (NIV) 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow.

February 4, 2012 at 10:38 p.m.
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