JANUARY 22, 2013
Just when you thought the bloated food-stamp program couldn’t get any bigger a government-sanctioned audit makes a case for expanding it by, among other things, claiming that it doesn’t account for inner-city barriers to finding affordable, nutritious food.
The probe, requested by the Obama Administration, also determined that food-stamp benefits lag behind the increasing cost of food and that the welfare program penalizes recipients with jobs. The impact of inflation and other factors on food prices causes a lag in the benefit adjustment that can significantly reduce the purchasing power of food stamps, according to the National Academy of Science (NAS), an independent group that advises the federal government.
The administration requested the NAS investigation to help assess whether food stamps are adequate for beneficiaries to access a truly nutritious and healthy diet, which the president has established is disproportionately available to wealthy suburbanites. This goes hand in hand with Michelle Obama’s $4.5 billion measure to end childhood obesity in low-income neighborhoods by brining government-subsidized healthy foods to inner-city areas.
“For many Americans who live at or below the poverty threshold, access to healthy foods at a reasonable price is a challenge that often places a strain on already limited resources and may compel them to make food choices that are contrary to current nutritional guidance,” the NAS report says. It goes on to state that the goals of the food-stamp program include “raising the level of nutrition among low-income households and maintaining adequate levels of nutrition by increasing the food purchasing power of low-income families.”
Mission accomplished if you consider the numbers. An unprecedented 46 million people in the U.S. get free groceries from Uncle Sam at an astonishing cost of $80.4 billion annually, according to the government’s own figures. The number has increased drastically every year under Obama. In 2009 the tab was $55.6 billion and by 2010 it skyrocketed to around $70.5 billion. Out-of-control government programs like this are always vulnerable to fraud and corruption and we’ve already seen evidence that it has struck this one, which is managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Last spring the USDA Inspector General revealed that many food-stamp recipients use their welfare benefit to buy drugs, weapons and other contraband from unscrupulous vendors. Some trade food stamps for reduced amounts of cash. The fraud has cost taxpayers nearly $200 million, according to the USDA watchdog, which provided various examples during testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
A separate federal audit revealed last year that many who don’t qualify for food stamps receive them under a special “broad-based” eligibility program that disregards income and asset requirements. This is sticking American taxpayers with a multi-million-dollar tab to feed hundreds of thousands of people who can well afford to feed themselves.
This insanity has been created by the president and his mission to eradicate “food insecure households” in the U.S. To accomplish it, the administration has spent millions of dollars on ad campaigns to recruit more food-stamp recipients, even doling out hefty cash rewards to local governments that sign up the most people. One state even bragged about a $5 million performance bonus it got from the feds for its “swift processing of applications.”
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