January 22, 2014

The epitome of a government entitlement program that is out of control is the Food Stamp program.  When Barack Obama was first elected president, one in ten Americans received food stamps. 

Today the number is one in seven, and it is rapidly increasing. In spite of improvements to the economy—such as they are—the number of people receiving food stamps is going up when it should be coming down.

The reason for this anomaly is simple: the Obama administration and its minions in Congress are doing everything in their power to increase the size of the food stamp rolls.

Before proceeding further some background is in order.  Anyone who has been paying attention since Lyndon Johnson initiated his ill-fated “war on poverty” knows that at some point federal entitlement programs collectively—including food stamps—morphed into a liberal strategy for buying votes. 

The strategy goes like this: Use the federal treasury to create a permanent dependent underclass made up of people who will vote for the party that promises to keep the entitlement dollars flowing.  Actually this is a brilliant strategy provided, of course, you don’t care about the people you are robbing of human dignity by turning them into helpless dependents or the taxpayers whose hard work pays for the entitlements. 

This caveat, unfortunately, is an apt description of the Democrat Party, a party that claims to “care” about people when in fact it has done more harm to Americans than all of the natural disasters experienced in my lifetime.

The misnamed war on poverty has cost the American taxpayer trillions of dollars but has done nothing to alleviate poverty in our country, and its centerpiece—food stamps—has become a racket that would make a mafia don proud. In fact, rather than alleviate poverty government entitlements have turned poverty into a permanent multi-billion dollar industry in which entitled recipients of government largesse spend their lives creatively inventing new and better ways to milk the government.  And they do this with the unstinting cooperation of government bureaucrats and leftwing politicians.

The permanence of federal entitlements was and is predictable since the number one goal of any bureaucracy is self-sustainment.  Once in place, a bureaucracy will fight tooth and nail to not just survive but grow.

The unspoken goal of any government bureaucracy is to grow too large to be eliminated. If a federal entitlement program somehow magically alleviated poverty, even if only slightly, bureaucrats would lose their cushy jobs, nice salaries, and comfortable pensions.  Hence, winning the war on poverty has never been the goal of the federal government and certainly not of the Democrats who see it as a way to ensure a loyal constituency.

To illustrate my point that government bureaucrats and Democrats have a vested interest in growing rather than reducing poverty, consider the current state of the food stamp program.  There is no better example of a federal entitlement program that has gone off the tracks than food stamps. 

What’s wrong with the food stamp program?  Everything.  Consider just a few of the problems with food stamps:

  • The Obama administration has gone into overdrive marketing food stamps as a way to increase the number of people who become dependent on this entitlement.  Think about this for a moment.  Since when do people who are truly in need require encouragement to seek help from the federal government.  If the government has to use slick marketing tactics to get people interested in food stamps, those people don’t need food stamps.  If the Obama administration is marketing food stamps—and it is—it can only be to increase the size of the dependent constituency the president and his fellow Democrats need to stay in office.
  • If the federal government were really interested in alleviating poverty, it would take steps to get people working rather than getting them addicted to government entitlements such as food stamps.  Receiving food stamps should be something people would want to do for as little time as possible.  Rather than erasing the stigma attached to food stamps, the federal government should encourage that stigma.  Call it tough love if you want, but at least it is love.  Making an individual dependent on the federal government is just another form of slavery.  Robbing an individual of his work ethic and personal liberty should be a felony.
  • In 35 states, the requirements to qualify for food stamps have become so relaxed that applicants don’t even have to undergo an asset check to ensure that they are really in need.  In other words, an applicant for food stamps could have more money socked away in a CD than you will ever have and still be eligible for food stamps in 35 states.  The concept is known in bureaucrat-speak as “broad-based categorical eligibility.”  Translated this phrase means if you want food stamps you can have them—forget the issue of need.
  • The Obama administration eliminated the highly effective work requirement that had driven down the food stamp rolls in his predecessor’s administration.  It is a fact that a work requirement encourages people to get off of food stamps and back to work.  Since the work requirement was eliminated by the Obama administration the food stamp rolls have swelled from 1.7 million to 3.9 million and growing.

Using the federal treasury to buy votes is one of the most unconscionable acts a politician could undertake.  Yet it has become a widely accepted practice in Democrat circles. 

Too bad for America, too bad for taxpayers, and too bad for the entitled who are the real victims.

We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.