This week our nation celebrates a glorious milestone: the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. You will hear much media discussion as to whether this program, costing untold billions, was a success or failure.
Tangential to the arguments of those claiming “victory” is a chart that our government released on December 6, 2013 revealing the costs of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka SNAP, see also “food stamps.”
This SNAP chart reveals the official cost of the program in Fiscal Year 2013.
- 47,636,085 persons participated in 23,052,389 households.
- The average monthly benefit per person was $133.08 and $274.99 per household.
- The overall cost of this participation was $76,070,295,282.
Now, most likely the vast majority of the 47 million people receiving SNAP are in desperate need of them, at least temporarily. However, what is troubling is the growth of SNAP during the past five-going-on-six years of the reign of President Obama (or “Food Stamp President,” as Newt Gingrich dared to call him during the 2012 election and was summarily ripped to shreds by the media for doing so).
But SNAP facts are in fact inconvenient and even more inconvenient when they appear in a government chart. This chart above only goes back as far as Fiscal Year 2010 but what does it show? The cost of SNAP back then was “only” $64.7 billion, compared to $76 billion in 2013 (an increase on $11.3 billion in only three years).
The number of participants in 2010 was 40.3 million people compared with 47.6 million in 2013. Household participation was 18.6 million in 2010 compared with 23 million in 2013. How could the SNAP program have grown so fast from 2010 to 2013? Obviously something is going terribly wrong.
The truth is that this bloated program is riddled with fraud, waste, and abuse. In other words, it is your tax dollars at work. For those with a relatively high pain tolerance, here is a comprehensive report about SNAP from the well-respected CATO Institute.
So let us celebrate the 50th anniversary of the War of Poverty by visiting the grocery store and seeing if you spot find any ladies carrying designer handbags using SNAP cards. Or maybe snap up a few SNAP cards on Craigslist.
This all reminds me of a famous 1976 quote from Margaret Thatcher: “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”
Cross-posted at BizPacReview