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Archive for Monday, June 10, 2013

Letter: Food stamps vital

June 10, 2013

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To the editor:

Whatever could the U.S. House of Representatives be thinking as it proposes deep cuts to the food stamp program? Food stamps, which have worked very well for several decades. Food stamps, which help millions of hungry people of all ages living all over our country, even in the suburbs. Food stamps, which help to keep the economy flowing as people on the edge can then use some food money for other necessities such as laundry soap or gasoline. Food stamps, which provide a steady market for farm surplus.  Food stamps, which return $1.70 in revenue for every $1 spent. Food stamps, which support sound nutrition that we well know is supremely important in all stages of life.

Oh, don’t worry , says the House. We’ll give the states block grants to make up the difference. Ha! Block grants can be shifted from one agency to another. Any state experiencing revenue shortfall in the wake of major tax cuts will not be compelled to spend the money as was intended.

Related nutritional programs will take a hit from sequestration. These cuts will deny food to pregnant women, infants, and women with young children.

Could it be that the House of Representatives is just not thinking at all?

Comments

Trumbull 10 months, 1 week ago

Good letter and true. Food stamps is among the most moral ways the government can stimulate the economy.

Where have we come when some economists do not recognize the multiplier? This is pretty basic stuff.

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anomicbomb 10 months, 1 week ago

When it comes to feeding potentially hungry people, I worry less about whether or not a person asking for food assistance is 'deserving' than I do about feeding hungry people (whether through a food pantry or through programs like food stamps).

Think of it this way. Say you run a food pantry and 10 people come to you for food. Of these ten, five of them truly need the help, and five of them are trying to take advantage of you, but you can't say for sure which of the five truly need the help. What is the best thing to do? Feed them all. It is the only way to know for sure that you are doing your job of feeding the hungry. I'd rather feed five people who don't need it than potentially leave empty stomachs to suffer merely because I picked wrong when I tried to decided who 'deserved' to be fed.

I know there are times of the year when food pantries run low, but the problem is getting more food to the pantries that need them, or in the case of food stamps, providing enough resources so that the program can help those it is designed to help. Will some people take advantage and should you try to limit this? Yes. But I'd rather err on the side of feeding hungry people even if a minority of people abuse such a service. This means keeping resources in such programs.

And in my experience with volunteering and working for food pantries, the vast majority of people seem to genuinely need the help. I'd rather feed 80 hungry people and let 20 liars get a few free meals too than deny 20 hungry people by accident to keep those liars honest.

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Satirical 10 months, 1 week ago

If we put $1 into the food stamp program $1.70 spits back out?!?!

If that is the case, we would be morons not to increase the current level of spending times 10. In fact, we would be crazy not to spend every discretionary dollar on this golden goose.

Demand Side Economics is infallible! Those who don't see the logic hate children and eat puppies for breakfast.

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seebarginn 10 months, 1 week ago

Perhaps the smartest, most humane, and best letter the LJW has ever published. Thank you, Sarah Casad.

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deec 10 months, 1 week ago

"The food stamp program pumps billions of dollars into the economy each year. Rather than turning to food banks and pantries for free groceries, SNAP recipients spend those dollars at retail groceries. In 2010, the USDA distributed nearly $65 billion in benefits. Supermarkets captured about 85 percent of food stamp dollars which meant nearly $55 billion in business. Small retail grocers, farmers markets and small specialty grocers earned about $10 billion from food stamp transactions. SNAP advocates argue that food stamps are an economic stimulus for the grocery industry that creates jobs and generates commerce. According to the Food and Nutrition Service, $5 in food stamps represents up to $9 of economic activity."

http://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/effects-food-stamps-grocery-industry-11777.html

http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/outreach/pdfs/bc_facts.pdf

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ontheright 10 months, 1 week ago

What did people do before free food, section 8, health care, education, and obamaphones?

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havecents 10 months, 1 week ago

Food stamps.... get a cart full of food and then pull cash out to buy your smokes. Seen it more than once and have to bite my tongue as I have a modest cart of groceries paid for by work. Too many lazy freeloaders taking advantage. Ruins it for the ones who truly need it. In my career, I see it every day. Lazy freeloaders.

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Larry Moss 10 months, 1 week ago

To increase the program at the unprecedented pace the current administration has done, it would take fuzzy math to justify it.

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Tomato 10 months, 1 week ago

I just wanted to help explain how $1 becomes more than one dollar.

Jafs manufactures a pen for 10 cents and sells it to Obama for $1. Jafs now has 90 cents after expenses.

Bozo manufactures organic gummy bears at the cost of 10 cents. He sells them to Jafs for 90 cents. Bozo nets 80 cents.

Liberty manufactures bullets for 10 cents a box and sells them to Bozo for 80 cents. Liberty nets 70c.

.90 + .80 + .70 = $2.40

Obviously the real economics of it all involve much more complicated math. And if Obama took that dollar from Liberty in the form of taxes, then it throws a wrench into it.

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Kate Rogge 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Both the US Senate and House of Representatives are proposing cuts to SNAP aid; they differ only in the percentage of the cuts. From the New York Times:

"The Senate bill would cut $24 billion from current spending levels, including about $4.1 billion from food stamps over the next 10 years. Groups fighting hunger said the cuts in food stamps would put millions of poor families at risk. A House version of the bill would provide for food stamp cuts of $20 billion, just one major example of how far apart the two houses are in adjusting spending."

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/11/us/politics/senate-passes-farm-bill-house-vote-is-less-sure.html?ref=foodstamps

And from the Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/senate-set-to-pass-half-trillion-dollar-farm-bill-that-would-cut-some-subsidies-expand-others/2013/06/10/2dcbef4e-d1f4-11e2-9577-df9f1c3348f5_story.html

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jhawkinsf 10 months, 2 weeks ago

So where exactly did the first dollar come from, the one for that first food stamp? One of two ways; either the government simply printed it, like they print money. The government simply printing money causes a certain harm to the economy as the value of that money eventually has to be lowered. The other way the government got that initial dollar was that it came to the government by way of a tax on someone else. Of course given the way the government works, it would need to tax that taxpayer two dollars, launder it through the government bureaucracy, and then spit out the one dollar food stamp. So no matter how much business activity it produces, $170 for each dollar, etc., as long as the government is compelled to tax two dollars to produce that one dollar food stamp, the net benefit will be less than what it is removing from the economy. The real beneficiary of this scheme is the bureaucracy, which of course is the 900 pound gorilla sitting in our living room that no one wants to talk about.

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Leslie Swearingen 10 months, 2 weeks ago

A parents obligation is to provide for the child and then for themselves. Spending money on alcohol, cigarettes or marijuana is highly immoral and is teaching the child/ren that flaunting the law is acceptable.

What do children think when they eat junk for supper and watch their parents drink beer and smoke dope? Are those parents in any state of mind to provide love for their children? Can they tend to them if there is an emergency or will they be so "mellow" they don't care?

I get food stamps and am very aware that I should be a good steward of them though I am not always. I have to stop indulging myself with so many sweets for that is what it is, sheer self-indulgence. A treat now and then is acceptable. Several times a day is not. But, everyone has to come to this realization themselves, it can't be forced on someone.

Those of you who were raised with parents who were loving and knew how to properly discipline, not too much, not too little, should thank God every day of their lives for it, because believe me those children who are being raised by pot smoking, beer drinking parents have no solid foundation.

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Richard Heckler 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Food stamps bring tax dollars back home to the community and help keep people employed. Nourishment helps keep bodies healthy otherwise taxpayers pay medical bills.

What's wrong with that.....

Far more productive than throwing $47 million tax dollars at AMC to move across the state line. Yes Sam ALEC Brownback did exactly that.

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Steven Gaudreau 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Food stamps are necessary. The thought of kids going to bed hungry is a painful reality. The downfall, once again, is the corruption and abuse of the program. The bad apples always spoil it.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 months, 2 weeks ago

The important point is that funds that go into food stamps don't just vanish into the ether. Those dollars are spent 100%, and by far most that spending is in the private sector.

Another important point is that a very high percentage of food stamps goes to feeding kids. Kids who go hungry thru their childhood are less likely to be fully productive members of society after they become adults.

So while it may feel good to assert your inherent moral or other superiority over anyone who uses food stamps, a society that lets people go hungry just to fulfill the Schadenfreude quota of some of its members is one that's surely on a downward spiral.

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kawrivercrow 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I know a woman, married with one child, who is on food stamps. She also gets an unclear number of other state benefits because the kid has some mild learning disability (a nonspecific apraxia), even though he is at the head of his class. She works part-time in a clerical role at a small business and her husband works full-time in the capacity of unskilled labor. She has calculated her margins of eligibility for the food stamps and other benefits and she won't work more than X number of hours per week so she won't exceed the income criteria. She and the husband smoke cigs and she buys her kid organic gummy bears. She always has pot, even if it's cheap Mexican schwag. She has satellite dish TV and one of the best smart phones on the market.

How many 'needy' recipients meet some or all of this woman's profile traits?

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Sam Crow 10 months, 2 weeks ago

For jafs: Your high school teacher was wrong. In your example, after the pen is sold four times, or any number, in the end one person has the value of a pen and everyone else has their original dollar back. The only actual economic activity generated is the manufacture of the one pen. This is an example of simple money changing. Almost like a Ponzi scheme.

Additionally, do you think those at the top dont spend their money like those "at the bottom"?

For KansasConscience: Moodys used the classic static thinking of a liberal, where one action has no effect on another. What Moodys did not consider is that when you take a dollar from me and give it to someone else, I cant spend that dollar, and that economic activity is lost. It is a mere substitution of economic activity. Moodys also did not consider the expenses of the government to administer the program. The government does not generate economic activity when administering such a program, because nothing is created.

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Fots 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Is this the scientifically best way to raise humans to be productive in the future? Feed them. House them. Medicate them. To what end?

Or are they being used to for the $1.70 profits?

This is sort of like farming.

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ljreader 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Food stamps are so great, we spend tax payer money on radio, billboard ads promoting their use- Hell, our tax dollars are spent to advertise food stamps in Mexico- Food stamps aren't just for food anymore- they can be used to purchase just about any nonessential junk imaginable. Food stamps- they're not just for dinner, anymore.

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10 months, 2 weeks ago

@fred Granted it's 2008, but CNN Money indicates a $1.73 return to the economy for every dollar spent. http://money.cnn.com/2008/01/29/news/economy/stimulus_analysis/

For something more recent, The Economist references a report by Moody's Analytics showing a $1,73 return for food stamps and $1.62 for unemployment insurance

http://www.economist.com/node/18958475

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ontheright 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Free food, gas, housing and insurance for everyone! I need some of that free stuff!

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Jackie Jackasserson 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Don't buy the block grant story either. Block grant funds are spent on salaries not consumers or clients.

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Brock Masters 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Can anyone provide a source for the 1.70 in revenue claim? Just not buying it.

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ljreader 10 months, 2 weeks ago

And in the beginning God created food stamps. And it was good.

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