STIGMERGY: The C4SS Blog
Missing The Point On Food Stamps

So Congress is set to pass another gargantuan ($100 billion per year) “farm bill.”

And of course, the 500-pound gorilla is the “food stamp” portion of the bill, which is set to be cut by a whopping 1%, while the overall measure increases “farm bill” spending by 37% over that of its predecessor bill over its 10-year projected life (I say “projected,” because the last “10-year” farm bill was passed six years ago).

I got that figure from Michael Tanner, who got it from Chris Edwards. Both of them are with the Cato Institute. And being able to get that figure from them was convenient, since it’s Tanner’s latest article on the “farm bill” that I’m about to take issue with. To wit, Tanner writes:

No doubt conservatives will complain about the food-stamp spending, but whatever one thinks about our ever-growing safety net, there is simply no excuse for the farm portion of the bill, which is pure corporate welfare.

Well, no. It’s all corporate welfare.

“Food stamps” aren’t about feeding people. They’re about making taking money from people and then giving some of it back with the requirement that it be spent on farm goods instead of on, say, televisions or tennis shoes.

Ditto for WIC, “school lunch” programs, etc.

No, I’m not saying that these programs don’t feed poor people. I’m just pointing out that the feeding of poor people is a fig leaf, an incidental side effect. The purpose of these programs isn’t to feed people, it’s to transfer money from your bank account to Big Ag’s bank accounts whether that’s where you prefer to spend your money or not.

[cross-posted from KN@PPSTER]

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