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Michael Bugeja


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Cheapskate corporations dependent on food stamps PDF Print E-mail
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Who’s dependent on food stamps? Cheapskate corporations

The House of Representatives passed a farm bill on July 11 that, for the first time in 40 years, excludes authorization for food stamps. Although this omission doesn’t eliminate spending on what’s known formally as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), which can still receive congressional appropriations, it will likely result in substantial cuts. That’s because SNAP’s expansion has become a source of growing complaint among Republicans—most famously during the 2012 Republican primaries, when Newt Gingrich labeled Barack Obama “the food stamp president.”

The GOP’s objection to food stamps is that they create welfare dependency among recipients (even though they can’t be used for anything except food). As Rep. Paul Ryan put it in his 2013 budget document, “State governments have little incentive to make sure that able-bodied adults on SNAP are working, looking for work, or enrolled in job training programs.”

But this gets the problem exactly backwards. A majority of food-stamp families with an able-bodied adult do work, and more than 60% of such families work when they have children. They just don’t get paid enough to feed their families. SNAP is therefore principally a program to subsidize cheapskate employers like Walmart that don’t give employees enough salary to live on. It’s actually been called “the Walmart Syndrome.”

 


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