Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Food Stamp Fight

Newt Gingrich is receiving a lot of well deserved criticism for calling President Obama “the food stamp President" but as Dottie Rosenbaum notes cutting the food stamp program is part of Paul Ryan’s long-term budget plan:

The House-passed plan to convert SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps) to a block grant and cut the program by almost 20 percent rests on the false claim that the program is experiencing “relentless and unsustainable growth.”

Figure 1 of her CBPP discussion says a lot. First of all – the rise in food stamp recipients is a consequence of the Great Recession. As the economy recovers, food stamp payments are projected to decline. Of course countercyclical fiscal policy is seen as a bad thing by this generation of Herbert Hoover Republicans.

The other thing to note is that food stamp expenditures were less than 0.3 percent of GDP before the Great Recession and are projected to fall below 0.3 percent of GDP over time. As usual – GOP fiscal “discipline” is limited to big cuts in small programs.


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