WASHINGTON, October 15, 2013 — From 2009 to 2013, the number of people allowed to enroll in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — SNAP, or food Stamps — has skyrocketed. This is due in part to a crushing recession that put many people out of work, but there is another agenda, one ushered in by an administration that promotes an entitlement society.
The FDA provided pamphlets to the Mexican embassy alerting those entering our country illegally that they do not have to answer questions about their documentation status to apply for food stamps for their naturally born children. The same administration spent taxpayer dollars on a pamphlet called The Life of Julia, which shows a typical American how she can become dependent on the state from cradle to grave.
The same administration, in a heightened effort to increase the food stamp rolls, spent taxpayer dollars on public service announcements to convince Americans that there is no stigma attached to seeking out food stamps and various government entitlements.
Meanwhile, some journalists were uncovering outrageous fraud within the system.
One Fox News segment showed how a surfer bum was using food stamps to support his surfing-by-day and partying-by-night lifestyle. When asked how he supported himself, he unashamedly said that he just walked down to the California food stamp office, signed up with no requirement to show that he was attempting to get work, and was able to live off the government.
It would not be too much to ask for others in the mainstream media to look with a more critical eye at the unbridled increases in food stamp enrollment levels. When Republican legislators say “enough is enough,” and that there has to be some type of prioritization and oversight to end the out-of-control growth of this entitlement, they should be applauded for seeking to rein in this type of abuse.
However, as is typical in the liberal media, the editorialists got the knives out and tried to resurrect the stereotypical image of Republicans as cold-hearted, intolerant robber barons wishing to push grandma off the cliff and starve hungry children.
A September 20 Newsday editorial, titled “Hunger is Nonpartisan,” not only criticized Republicans for being insensitive to the downtrodden, but also suggested they were politically stupid for not understanding that people who were on food stamps were just as likely to vote Republican as Democrat. The editorial was tortured and would be laughable, were it not also misleading.
Here is what Newsday said:
“Of the 254 counties in the United States where food stamp recipients doubled from 2007 to 2011, 84% were carried by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney last year, according to Department of Agriculture data compiled by Bloomberg News. Republicans are trying to cut $4 billion per year out of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. They argue that much of the money goes to freeloaders, and seem to believe the freeloaders are generally Democrats. But recipients are, quite often, neither.”
Readers were astute enough to see through the Newsday Editorial Board’s critique and posted comments in response to the piece:
“Food stamp spending doubled between 2007 and 2012, going from $40 billion to $80 billion. Cutting 5% from the $80 billion is a good start. (And it’s not even a 5% cut. It’s a reduction by 5% of what it would have otherwise grown to)…”
“What a misleading column. Cherry-picking a statistic and shape an editorial around it? Nice work for a propagandist! But, pathetic for a “journalistic” enterprise. And, whoever wrote this stunningly vapid piece is either intentionally lying or just plain stupid. The question is not what candidate a county chose in the election. Rather, it should be what candidate did the SNAP recipients in that county choose. Your paper knows just as well as the rest of us that a vast majority of those on food stamps are supporters of Barack Obama.”
The knee-jerk reaction of some in the media to eviscerate those who dare say an entitlement needs to be reigned in and more closely monitored is one of the very reasons such blatant fraud and abuse perpetuates.
Steve Levy is President of Common Sense Strategies, a political and business consulting firm. He served as Suffolk County Executive 2004-2011, and as a NYS Assemblyman.
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