May 25, 2024

How Did Americans Feed Themselves Before Food Stamps?

We can pretend not to see it but something is very wrong when 45 million people or almost 15% of the entire population of the U.S. allegedly can’t earn enough money to feed themselves.  Is the explosion in the food stamp program a result of fighting hunger in America or is it the result of ridiculously loose eligibility requirements and a maladroit attempt to “stimulate the economy”?

Many states have ridiculously loose eligibility standards for food stamps that consider only income but not assets.  This results in the absurd situation under which millionaires are legally eligible for food stamps.  In Connecticut, for example, applicants with millions of dollars in assets but low income are qualified to receive food stamp benefits of $367 per month.

One severely misguided politician from Maryland has gone so far as to promote the food stamp program a means of boosting economic growth.

As a contentious “farm” bill rages in Congress, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) argued Tuesday that unemployment insurance and food stamps (which are included in the legislation) are the two “most stimulative” measures to boost economic growth.

In commenting on the Bush tax cuts and the overall state of the economy, Rep. Hoyer told reporters on Tuesday that the continuance of funding government welfare programs is vital to a struggling economy. “If you talk to economists,” Hoyer contended, “they will tell you there are two things that are the most stimulative that you can do — one’s unemployment insurance, the other’s food stamps, okay?”

“Why is that?” Hoyer posited. “Because those folks who receive those resources must spend them. And they’ll spend them almost upon receipt. Most economists with whom I talk believe that those with significant discretionary income — that that’s not the case.”

Of course, the ideology that government spending, particularly in the area of welfare spending, helps stimulate economic growth is not a new phenomenon, as Hoyer has joined a growing list of other top Democrats who adhere to a similar philosophy. Hoyer exemplifies the tired old Keynesian economic theory first presented in The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, published in 1936. (The Keynesian theory stands in stark contrast to the traditional, free-market or Austrian school of economics advocated by Ludwig von Mises.)

And Hoyer and Vilsack are not alone in their welfare-driven economic ideologies, as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered a similar economic philosophy in July 2010, when she asserted that unemployment benefits generate jobs more quickly than almost any other program, because they “inject demand into the economy.”

The notion that taking money from productive taxpayers and handing it to out to expand the food intake of hapless “victims” defies all common sense and is economic suicide.  Economic growth is based on sound investment of capital that produces jobs and expands overall wealth – not on transfer programs that diminish the purchasing power of one group in order to subsidize the purchasing power and eating habits of another group.


If a massive expansion of food stamps could put us all on the road to economic prosperity, then why not expand it another 10 fold?  Lunatic theories of welfare-driven economic policies have been tried in many failing economic states and they simply do not work – dividing the same size pie into smaller pieces merely creates general impoverishment.

Here’s a neat Food Stamp Nation infographic that visually shows the massive expansion of the food stamp program

Speak Your Mind