Sunday, June 04, 2017

Trump's food stamp plan

Food stamps - more benignly known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) - make up a huge share of the US government's welfare bill. It only ever seems to grow (though has steadied in recent years.) The Daily Signal explains why and what Trump is proposing:

The food stamp program is 92 percent funded by Washington. Washington sends blank checks to state capitals—the more people a state enrolls in food stamps, the more money Washington hands out.
A dirty secret in American politics is that many governors, both Republican and Democrat, regard this type of “free money” poured from Washington as a benign Keynesian stimulus to their local economies. The more spending, the better.
The Trump budget recognizes that the food stamp program will become more efficient if the state governments that operate the program have “skin in the game.” Therefore, it raises the required state contribution to food stamps incrementally from 8 percent to 25 percent.


Mark Wahlberg said...

Has the food stamp program ever been considered as a viable option for New Zealand's welfare recipients?

From my own personal observations and highly unscientific research, I suspect large numbers of families don't get an adequate diet because booze, ciggies, fast foods and the pub pokies appear to be the priorities come benefit day.

Or do I start getting into the minefield of discriminating against the vulnerable's right to chose how to allocate their rightful entitlements?

Lindsay Mitchell said...

I don't know Mark (re your first question).

Many teenage beneficiaries now have their 'rightful entitlements' managed ie the money is loaded onto a card that can only be used in certain places. I would support that regime being extended to other beneficiaries (esp those with children) who cannot make their weekly income stretch so keep turning up at WINZ for supplementary assistance (which I think gets issued in the form of a supermarket voucher but stand to be corrected).

There are downsides to food stamps. Their propensity to be traded fraudulently being one example.

Mark Wahlberg said...

Thanks for that Lindsay. I often wonder how much opposition to the food stamp system might come from established business?

Come benefit day large amounts of money circulate around specific businesses and i suspect enterprises such as supermarkets and some pubs would take a hit if beneficiaries spending power was curtailed in certain areas.

I suggest small towns such as the one I live in would struggle if benefits were reduced in any meaningful way. I suspect one pub would close its doors for sure.

I believe most of the local churches run food banks of one sort or other and the demand often exceeds supply.

But I continue to be amazed, that in a land of plenty and in a world awash with dairy products, I continue to pay nearly $6 for 500 grams of butter!

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Back in around 2002 I was wooed to an ACT fund-raising dinner. Not long there, I was confronted by a man who said to me that ending the DPB would kill some businesses. That was a bad idea. I just stared and had no answer. Speechless because I was at an ACT conference and didn't expect an ACT supporter to be a subsidy acolyte.

There are suburbs/ small towns in NZ that would die without welfare. Doubtless. But what is the merit in preserving them? Any community that survives primarily on welfare is going nowhere. Yes, I know there are the green types who pretend to 'self-sufficiency' and living off the land but they are rarities and essentially, frauds.

Sorry. You reminded me about an angry moment in the past. But now I care less. Not enough time to get wound up.

Mark Wahlberg said...

Lindsay, I take your point. I took the "self-sufficiency" trip once. it was bloody hard work and found it impossible to meet all my needs without major injections of capital to rise above the level of Luddites.

While I found myself with a reasonable level of material comfort living off my 5 acres, I was back on the treadmill, working 14 hours a day,7 days a week running a small business out of my garage. But I suspect if we want a modicum of control over our lives there are sacrifices to made. I must have been mad!

Anonymous said...

The last Ryan budget had a far simpler solution: it abolished the program.

Anonymous said...

"ending the DPB would kill some businesses"

we need to end far more than the DPB: and yes lots of businesses will go.
How many hospitals will survive immediate & full privatisation? Schools? Rest-homes when super is terminated?

still: the right thing to do is terminate all welfare schemes as quickly as possible - with no notice.

nothing else will teach the country that socialism always fails and leaves people worse off than if they'd had nothing from the start.

Redbaiter said...

"Speechless because I was at an ACT conference and didn't expect an ACT supporter to be a subsidy acolyte."

I would guess most NZ so called businessmen are dependent upon govt largesse one way or the other. With the govt spending around $100 billion, injecting so much money into the economy, its pretty much guaranteed.

So many self professed "freedom" advocates will shout you down over same sex marriage or legalising drugs, but they hardly raise a whisper over a highly interventionist govt. I'm not surprised by your experience at the ACT conference.