How Food Stamps for Everyone Became the New Normal

by Gerri Willis

Government programs have a way of growing uncontrollably.

Even good ones!

What was supposed to be aid for Americans in real financial trouble - food stamps - have now become a new entitlement for the middle-class!

When food stamps were introduced in the 1970's, they were designed to cover about one in 50 Americans.

Today, it's one in seven.

Liberals blame the recession.

And yes, certainly that knocked a lot of folks off their feet, and they needed some help.

But if the rise in food stamps were just because of the punk economy, how do you explain this?

During the recession, spending on Medicaid, the government's other big welfare program, rose 27 percent, but food-stamp spending more than doubled, going up 110 percent! And as the unemployment rate has come down in the last few years, enrollment rates have only gone up.

Why?

They're blowing open the eligibility requirements!

The federal government and the states are just looking for excuses to expand the rolls.

For example, now anyone who qualifies for welfare, home heating assistance and the like is automatically eligible for food stamps.

So what's happening?

States are exploiting this by sending out checks to families for one dollar under the guise of a program to help pay the heating bill.

Because of that one dollar check, families can get $130 a month from the federal government in food stamps.

And most of those getting these one-dollar heating subsidies are living in government-supported housing where the utility bill is already covered in their subsidized rent.

The cost of this "heat and eat" loophole is closing in on a billion dollars a year.

So why are the states so gung-ho about adding to the rolls?

They get a half-billion dollar bounty from the federal government for signing up more people.

This is one policy that needs to go if we expect the program to have any integrity.

Today, over 46 million Americans get food stamps. It's become the new normal!

The government even thought the name “food stamps” was a turn-off for people so they renamed it the "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program" or SNAP.

In their effort to get everyone on the dole, they're running ad campaigns like this:

“Male anchor: SNAP offers help to all kinds of people.

Mom: So, wait can I be eligible if I have a job?

Male anchor: Yes you can, if your income is low.

Mom: But I have a car.

Male anchor: No problem. You may still qualify.

Mom: But I own my own house. So can I still qualify?

Male anchor: (Laughs) Yes, you might.”

So you can have a job, own a car, own a house - the American dream! - and still qualify for food stamps? Apparently, food stamps aren't about helping the needy anymore.

It's now a program to help you lose weight!

“Woman #1: Would you look at Margie; she looks amazing.

Woman #2: Yes, she sure does.

Woman #1: I wonder how she stays so fit. What's her secret?

Woman #2: Well, she told me that food stamp benefits help her eat right; and she stays active, too.”

These ads are your tax dollars at work, trying to convince more people to take your tax dollars.

In all, the government's set to spend $770 billion for food stamps in the next 10 years.

It's time for it to go back to its intended purpose - helping the needy. If our lawmakers were serious about cutting spending, they'd start here... In a SNAP.

The Dangers of Government Handouts

by Gerri Willis

The trouble with government handouts is that once you get hooked on the free money - it's really hard to give it up.

And it doesn't matter what kind of entitlement you're getting -- just this week, for example, we learned that the executives at Solyndra applied for a second government grant after wasting half a billion dollars in federal loans.

The stereotype of somebody on the government dole is a welfare mother living in urban poverty but the reality today is that it could just as easily be a graduate of Stanford University who holds an MBA -- that's a fair description of Brian Harrison, the CEO of Solyndra.

Government dependency, it seems, is a disease that is spreading. Census data shows nearly half of U.S. households have at least one member receiving some type of government aid or benefit.

That percentage has skyrocketed over the last few decades - only about a third of American households received that kind of support back in the 1980s.

And that 48.5% is four percentage points higher than during the height of the recession in 2008! So we are more hooked on Uncle Sam now than ever.

While it's true that the population is aging and more people are receiving Social Security -- we know they are receiving benefits they've spent a lifetime paying for. But there are other ways that people get public dollars - like ObamaCare. There are also the government's stimulus programs and other benefits. So who gets what?

The average American got more than $7,400 in benefits last year. That's up from under $4,800 in 2000. And under $3,700 in 1990.

The Wall Street Journal points out: Lower income households were the largest share of recipients. More than a third of Americans lived in a home that utilized food stamps, welfare, Medicaid - and other means-tested programs.

Also, more than 14% have someone on Medicare... And nearly 16% are receiving Social Security benefits. Couple all this with record high unemployment - and you get nearly half of American households paying no federal income taxes this year!

And interestingly, the fastest growing proportion of people paying no taxes is in the middle class -- people making $75,000 to $100,000 a year - because of the burgeoning number of tax loopholes and deductions.

Look, this Administration prides itself on "looking out for the little guy" not having the government turn its back on any American in need. But when the President says he needs $447 billion for a jobs bill - somebody has to pay the price - that's us the taxpayer!

The overabundance of handouts and ridiculous spending is putting this country in need - and that could have disastrous consequences for us all.

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