Millions to starve with a pandemic benefit ending
Tens of millions of Americans are teetering on a “hunger cliff,” guaranteeing massive suffering and perhaps even famine.
That’s the refrain of CBS News, Salon, Business Insider, and a host of other outlets. But the latest food stamp hysteria ignores how the program is undermine The health of Americans.
During the pandemic, anyone eligible for food stamps automatically received the maximum benefit.
Individuals who had some income and would have accumulated only $23 in monthly benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program received $281 per month.
Congress voted in December to end bonus benefits, but the media is pretending that Ronald Reagan rose from the grave to slay food stamp recipients.
Eighteen states have already phased out excess benefits, and the bonus expires this month for the remaining 32 states.
Even after the end of the bonus, food stamp benefits are still higher than in 2019.
President Joe Biden issued an executive order in 2021 permanently increasing food stamp benefits by 23%. Higher benefits were partly justified, the according to the US Department of Agriculturebecause so many food stamp recipients are now obese and need additional food to “provide enough energy to support current weight.”
The Government Accountability Office concluded that Biden violated federal law with that edict, since Congress has jurisdiction.
But GAO has no power to make Uncle Joe obey the law.
Any reduction in food stamps, however, panics the media.
Food banks point to an increasing demand for free food, touted as evidence of impending catastrophe.
On Saturday, The Washington Post published a piece with a kilometers of cars in Kentucky waiting for free food.
Many of the vehicles were expensive last-model cars – not like the rattling old truck from ‘The Grapes of Wrath’.
Regardless, the Post hyperventilated: “From the front to the back of the line, the sea of despair and hardship along this desolate Kentucky highway foreshadowed what lay ahead for millions of Americans.”
The Post miraculously read the thoughts of everyone in the mile-long line: “All described feeling hungry.”
That included people smoking cigarettes while complaining about the cost of food.
The protector profiled a single mother from Battle Creek, Michigan, who decried the “terrible timing” of the benefit cut.
She lamented that her youngest son “wouldn’t be able to eat two bowls of cereal every morning.”
But every student in Battle Creek Public Schools is entitled to it free breakfast and lunch. How many bowls of cereal does that kid need?
How many journalists have failed math classes in college?
whined USA Today“Some seniors may be feeling a double whammy” because “after receiving an 8.7% cost-of-living adjustment in January . . . some seniors have already seen their SNAP benefits drop.
The newspaper did not explain how recipients are worse off despite a net increase in government benefits.
Food banks have grown tremendously in recent years, but their help doesn’t always provide relief to those most in need.
According to a New York Post contributor Jason Curtis Anderson, “Churches are holding food drives and giving people full Trader Joe’s shopping bags. Recipients take the food and sell it at the East Village Thieves Market, along with things they stole from pharmacies.”
Measuring hunger by the demand for free food has never made sense. If prostitutes offered free sex to needy men, the number of guys claiming to be sex-hungry would skyrocket.
Activists rely on federal food security surveys to argue that higher food stamps are needed.
But those surveys usually reflect how many people vote worry about missing meals at a later date or being unable to afford more expensive food they prefer.
The FBI chooses not to measure actual hunger so that politicians can continually declare emergencies to justify more handouts.
The latest uproar ignores how “SNAP households actually spend slightly more than non-SNAP households per month on food to eat at home”, the American Enterprise Institute reported.
Food stamp recipients, unlike working Americans, receive automatic benefit increases to offset inflation.
Federal food aid has been a nutritional disaster.
According to a 2017 study, food stamp recipients are twice as likely to be obese as eligible non-recipients BMC Public Health study.
Harvard nutrition professor Walter Willett noticed in 2015: “We analyzed what SNAP participants eat, and it’s horrible food. It’s a diet designed to cause obesity and diabetes.”
But Team Biden opposes food stamp reform to end payments for sugar-sweetened drinks and junk food.
That solution would do much more to curb unhealthy eating than Biden’s decision to force companies to “reformulate food products”.
Tens of millions of Americans are being hit hard by the rising price of food — one of Biden’s worst legacies.
We can sympathize with hungry individuals without perpetuating the excesses of a federal program that is swelling America.
James Bovard is the author of 10 books and a member of the USA Today Board of Contributors.