USDA Secretary Defends Food Stamps

June 14, 2012 10:54 AM

Proposed cuts to food stamps, particularly those being talked about in the House of Representatives in the 2012 Farm Bill, “are unacceptably high,” says Tom Vilsack, United States Department of Agriculture Secretary.

Vilsack made his comments at the noon luncheon that concluded the “Future of Food: Food Security in the 21st Century” held by the Washington Post today.
The 2012 Farm Bill is a huge appropriation, expending nearly $1 trillion over a 10-year baseline. Food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—SNAP for short—accounts for nearly 80% of that total. And that makes it a ripe target for budget cutters.
The Senate version of the bill would cut $4 billion from SNAP. House discussions have ranged from $33 to $130 billion in cuts, says Vilsack.
“It is penny wise and pound foolish to have such steep cuts in SNAP,” says Vilsack. For every $1 spent through SNAP, $1.80 in economic benefit is generated through the food system, he notes.
Plus, there is a real need for the program.  Forty-six million Americans rely on food stamps to meet their nutritional needs. Most of the recipients are the unemployed, the elderly and children. Only 8% of SNAP recipients receive welfare payments, says Vilsack.
The reason the cuts are so deep in the House version of the Farm Bill is that some departments such as Defense are totally spared from budget cuts. But in these times of dire deficit budgets and burgeoning national debt, “everybody has to share the burden,” says Vilsack.
More information on the SNAP program can be found here.

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Spell Check

6/15/2012 06:16 PM

  How else do you afford your substance abuse habits unless someone else pays for your food? If you can feed a hungry child in Africa on 50 cents a day or whatever how come we are buying twinkies and bon bons for folks who are too lazy to work if they can eat without working? The extreme cases who can't do anything at all? Yes, we should help them, that is called charity, everyone else can mow our lawn, pick up cans and so forth; they only need 50 cents a day so that isn't too many lawns. If they mow enough lawns or pick up enough cans they can even get their beer and smokes. The fact is that Americas welfare system funds the drug cartels in Mexico and if we cut that off then the cartels would have to go into a different line of business. As for the junkies they can't help themselves so long as we make it possible for them to feed their habit.


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