Government & Politics

Income Redistribution: Food Stamp Cuts

House Republicans cut 5% from food stamp funding over the next decade. Democrats are apoplectic.

Sep. 20, 2013
Obama Entitlement Card

House Republicans passed a modified part of the farm bill yesterday, 217-210, cutting 5% from food stamp funding over the next decade, about $40 billion. Democrats are apoplectic, crying that the GOP wants to see some three million people starve. Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) called it “one of the most heartless bills I have ever seen.” This overblown reaction is inevitable from statists who would like nothing more than to increase the number of people beholden to federal “generosity.” But phony fear that millions of people will be left to starve is simply craven political theater meant to secure their own political base. The cuts Republicans passed would result from tightening eligibility requirements that would restrict participation for able-bodied workers.

It’s not surprising to see an uptick in enrollment during the Obama “recovery,” but the program has ballooned out of control. Enrollment doubled between 2001 and 2007, a period of relative economic prosperity. It doubled again between 2008 and 2012, in part because eligibility requirements were significantly loosened. There are now nearly 50 million people on food stamps, and many of them don’t need to be. Tightening the reins and cutting spending by 5% won’t result in mass starvation. It may just restore some much needed dignity and self-reliance to a significant chunk of the American people.

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