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Oct. 18, 2013

Income Redistribution: Food Stamps and Hunger

Food stamps perpetuate poverty and don't alleviate hunger.

Abandoned Walmart carts

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps, has grown exponentially over the last decade and now redistributes $80 billion in confiscated wealth every year to nearly one in six Americans, making it second only to Medicaid in cost. And we saw just this week what happens when there’s a glitch in the program that endangers this entitlement – a run on Walmart that ended with abandoned shopping carts when the system came back online. Now that the federal government is up and running again, Congress will revisit the $500 billion “farm bill,” a large chunk of which involves food stamps.

Just in time, Michael Tanner at Cato Institute issued a new study showing that SNAP “has a high rate of fraud and abuse.” In fact, “SNAP [is] one of the most frequently abused non-health care social welfare programs.” Tanner further blames deliberately lax eligibility standards for the explosive growth of the program. All the while, he concludes, “[T]here is little proof that the expansion of SNAP has significantly reduced hunger or improved nutrition among low-income Americans.” On the contrary, “[T]here is evidence that SNAP, like other welfare programs, can increase dependence and undermine the work ethic.”

So much for the Left’s “generosity” and “compassion.” In fact, Democrats have nothing to lose and everything to gain by spending your money to grow the size of their poverty-plantation constituency. For their part, farm-state Republicans gladly extend government-subsidized purchases to their own constituents. Where the farm bill is concerned, real reform is too much to hope for.

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