What Congress Did While You Were Talking About the State of the Union
by Amy Payne, Heritage Foundation, January 30, 2014
Cartoon by Glenn Foden
Congress is very fond of two things: throwing a bunch of stuff into one bill and rushing bills through while Americans are focused on other news. While people were talking about the State of the Union, they’ve done it again with the $1 trillion farm bill.
The “farm bill” passed by the House yesterday has projected costs that are even greater than those of the Obama stimulus, and about 80 percent of the bill is just food stamps.
The bill is filled with special handouts to agriculture special interests and is a model of central planning. When it comes to food stamps, the bill is just as bad.
Food stamps should go to those truly in need. So it may surprise you to learn that you can qualify for food stamps even if you have millions in the bank. The new farm bill does nothing to address this absurd loophole.
A loophole like this undermines the legitimacy of the program and certainly does nothing to help people who really need help.
Food stamp recipients also aren’t required to work—a disservice to them and to the taxpayers who are assisting them. A work requirement empowers people, as we have seen with welfare reform.
So the food stamp program, with plenty of encouragement from the Obama Administration, has grown far beyond what it was supposed to be. Heritage expert Daren Bakst reports that “food stamp spending has quadrupled since [fiscal year] 2000 and doubled since 2008.”
The food stamp issue is not just about numbers. It’s about policy reform—developing policy that empowers Americans instead of creating a dependency that harms them.
Now this food stamp—er, farm—bill disaster goes to the Senate.
Read the Morning Bell and more en español every day at Heritage Libertad.