Food Stamps: Rhetoric Vs. Reality

Food Stamp Fight: Great For GOP Base But Not For Outreach

As Brad explained Thursday, the plan would kick 3.9 million people off the food stamp rolls the coming year.After next year,it would reduce the rolls by about 2.8 million people each year. The American Community Survey by the Census Bureau actually keeps track of how many households in each cistrict are on food stamps (thank to Andrew Reamer for pointing this out). So I thought it might be interesting to see how food stamps usage in districts represented by supporters of the cuts differs from usage in districts represented by opponents. Unsurprisingly, supporters’ districts are less reliant on the program, with an average of 12.4 percent of households on SNAP, than opponents’, where the average is about 15 percent. Curiously, the 15 House Republicans who opposed the cuts had districts with lower average food stamp use (~ 11.3 percent) than either districts of Republicans who supported them or districts of Democrats (all of whom opposed the cuts): But this result is pretty fragile, and driven by Democratic domination of the poorest, most SNAP-reliant districts rather than by strong support for cuts in districts that aren’t very reliant on the program. The only three congressional districts with SNAP utilization above 30 percent of households including New York’s 15th district, covering much of the Bronx, where ise is about 50 percent are all represented by Democrats. So it’s worth asking if the share of households on food stamps has any effect on House members’ votes once you take their party affiliation into account. It appears they don’t. If you do a simple regression trying to explain how members voted with only two explanatory variables the member’s party, and the share of his or her district on food stamps the latter isn’t even close to statistically significant. Now, that doesn’t mean that members of Congress aren’t responding to the views of their districts, since presumably economic conditions of districts including food stamp usage help determine which party represents them. But Democrats in districts with barely any food stamp users (such as Henry Waxman, whose district’s SNAP usage rate is a paltry 1.7 percent) all voted against cut, and Republicans in districts with huge numbers of food stamp users (such as Hal Rogers, 29 percent of whose district’s households are on SNAP) almost all voted for them.

Bush’s presidency, Republican leaders won praise for expanding food assistance. Now the House GOP is drawing criticism for cutting it. Matt Rourke/AP The Republican-controlled House’s vote to cut $40 billion from the food stamp program is just the latest example of how the GOP balance of power has shifted rightward over the past decade. President George W. Bush isn’t fondly remembered by progressives for much. But anti-hunger advocates credited him during his administration for strongly supporting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (the formal name for food stamps) and other policies to help unemployed or low-income workers and their children escape the fear of not knowing where their next meals would come from. Under Bush, funding for SNAP doubled . When I talked with anti-hunger advocates fairly early in the Bush administration, they were already praising Bush for doing more than President Clinton to directly respond to the food insecurity crisis affecting many people. Whether it came from Bush’s sincere desire to help those most in need, political calculus or both, it was the kind of “compassionate conservatism” policy meant to appeal to voters beyond the fiscal conservatives in the Republican Party’s base. With its expansive aspects, softer edge and its potential to broaden Republican appeal to voters beyond the base, it resembled Bush’s successful expansion of Medicare benefits to include prescription drug coverage and the failed effort at an immigration overhaul. By contrast, with its focus on fiscal austerity, the House GOP’s approval of Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s bill to cut food aid more closely resembles a case of political base cultivation. It’s safe to say the measure will do little to expand the party’s national base and could even lose the GOP some votes.

those living paycheck to paycheck, they’re just a little bit lucky. those living unemployment check to unemployment check, but those living second of the month to second of the month, food stamp group, they have hit the jackpot. the second of the month being the time when funds get deposited on to the ebt card, at least in new york. for those who have never been fortunate enough to hit the power ball . joining me now is kayla williams , author of leadoff my rifle more than you. young and female in the u.s. ar army. >> i was on them out of and on when i was a kid. my mom was like so many others, among whom take advantage of the benefit, single mom and well fell on financial hard times and it kept me from going to bed hungry. >> did you find the allotment was lavish. it created a real huge food budget? >> no. it didn’t. supplemented by some lovely government cheese .

Stepping up to the plate to reduce food waste

They are simply a manufacturer’s suggestions for “peak quality” and a shelf life they set by their own market standards. The dates don’t tell you when your food will spoil, nor do they indicate the safety of food. A new date labels study released this week by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic reveals that this mass confusion imposes costs on consumers and businesses and leads to a staggering amount of waste. In America, we throw away 40 percent of the food we produce every year. That’s nearly half our food $165 billion dollars’ worth in the garbage, instead of in our stomachs. Nine out of ten of us discard food and likely are convinced we need to go out and buy more because of the mistaken belief that the “sell by” date has a food safety implication for ourselves or our family. It’s estimated that 160 billion pounds of food is dumped in the United States annually, in part due to this labeling confusion. That’s almost enough wasted food to fill up a football stadium every day. Discarded food is the biggest single contributor to solid waste in landfills. We’re throwing away perfectly good food at a time when one in six Americans is considered “food insecure,” meaning that they struggle to put food on their tables year-round. Globally, 28 percent of the world’s farmland is being used to produce food that is not being eaten. That’s an area bigger than China. This is a terrible waste, not just of the food itself, but of the resources that go into producing that food.