The food stamp program has metastasized into an $82 billion a year monster that consumes 80% of the so-called Farm Bill. If you haven’t seen it before, this pie chart is shocking:
Under the Obama administration, spending on food stamps has skyrocketed, as an astonishing 46 million Americans, one-seventh of the population, are now on the program.
So Senator Jeff Sessions tried to introduce a minimal amount of fiscal discipline into the food stamp program by offering amendments that incorporated two basic reforms: 1) preventing states from waiving federal eligibility requirements for the program, and 2) eliminating the bonuses that the federal government now pays to states that deliberately swell the ranks of food stamp recipients. Given that the federal government pays 100% of the program’s cost, such bonuses create perverse incentives in the states, with predictable consequences. And at least 28 states have no limit whatsoever on the financial assets a household can have, and still qualify for food stamps.
One might think that a government running trillion-dollar-plus annual deficits would take common-sense reforms like those proposed by Senator Sessions to heart, but no: the Democrats voted them down. The prefer the irresponsible, free-spending status quo.
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