In a show of solidarity, Newark Mayor Cory Booker parades the Food Stamp Diet.
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According to Rector:
In FY 2011, government spent $927 billion on these programs, not counting Social Security and Medicare. Roughly one-third of the U.S. population received aid from at least one of these programs, at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient.
But the Census Bureau counts only about 3 percent of this $927 billion as “income” for purposes of measuring poverty. This missing means-tested welfare spending — taxpayer funds spent on the poor but not counted by the Census Bureau for purposes of measuring poverty — exceeds the GDPs of most nations on earth.
Thus, Booker’s stunt is based on a myth that the only resources that the poor have to buy food are about $4 per day in food stamps.
As Rector noted in a prior analysis of this topic, only a small fraction of those classified as “poor” are actually unable to provide basic necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing. When it comes to food specifically, Rector quotes some eye-opening data from a 2009 Department of Agriculture “food security” survey. (That Department oversees the food stamp program.)
It’s not just Cory Booker propagating the self-serving myth of national misery: Yesterday, while listening to Sirius satellite radio, I heard Sirius promoting its involvement in a Hungerthon campaign by saying that one in six Americans regularly suffers from hunger, a number that indeed sounds terrible but simply isn’t true.
In a speech on Tuesday evening at the Jack Kemp Award ceremony, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) offered further context to the magnitude of welfare spending in America (and implicitly to the failure of such spending): “Just last year, total federal and state spending on means-tested programs came to over one trillion dollars. What does that mean in practical terms? For that amount of money, you could give every single poor American a check for $20,000 – every man, woman and child.”
But with the Census Bureau not counting nearly a trillion dollars of wealth redistribution as income for its recipients, and a willingly gullible media parroting the necessarily corrupt resulting data, it is not surprising that so many Americans believe we are suffering an epidemic of hungry children. Unfortunately, just as when hypochondriacs are given medicine they don’t need, the “cure” for our imaginary problem will have very real, and potentially fatal side-effects.
Finally, none of this should be taken as my believing that there are no truly hungry people in our great country. There are, and they are worthy recipients of voluntary aid — and perhaps even of a government “safety net” with a narrowly prescribed mission and correspondingly limited resources — particularly to the extent that the able are trying to better their circumstances. However, while government is plundering us to conquer a mythical monster of “food injustice,” it is understandable that many feel less charitable toward those who may indeed be most in need of our help.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?