Republicans are jumping on the news that participation in the food stamps program hit a new record of 46.7 million individuals in June (about one in seven Americans). In a sluggish economy, an increase in food stamps participation is to be expected. Thus, it’s fair to hold up the increase in food stamps usage as being emblematic of the Obama administration’s failed economic policies. In addition, the president’s 2009 “stimulus” bill increased benefits and eligibility.
A new piece at the Library of Economics and Liberty written by Robert J. Bradley is a timely reminder that it’s often government policies that fosters bad corporate behavior—not the “free market” as the left likes to claim.
The latest conflagration over the media’s attempt to “fact-check” campaigning politicians centers on comments Paul Ryan made in his speech last night about a shuttered GM plant in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin:
Hurricane Isaac is heading for Louisiana, and everyone is hoping that individuals and government agencies are ready for the onslaught. Seven years ago, Hurricane Katrina caused huge damage, but to a large extent ”it wasn’t a natural disaster. It was a man-made disaster, created by lousy engineering, misplaced priorities, and pork-barrel politics,” noted journalist Michael Grunwald. Grunwald pointed his finger particularly at failures of the Army Corps of Engineers, as have others.
Jennifer Rubin, seeking to dispel “myths about conservatives,” takes on the idea that “the GOP doesn’t believe in community:
According to a recent article in the New York Times, that’s what a lobbyist for Exelon Corp. “proudly” called the Illinois-based energy company. It appears to be an appropriate label.
Let's try to put the ongoing debate over the future of Medicare into a little bit of context. Last year, Americans paid $274 billion in Medicare taxes and premiums. At the same time, the program paid out $564 billion in benefits. That amounts to a shortfall of roughly $290 billion. Looking into the future, even the most optimistic estimate by the program's trustees puts Medicare's future unfunded liabilities at more than $38.6 trillion. More realistic projections suggest the shortfall could easily top $90 trillion.
Speaking outside a helicopter museum in eastern Pennsylvania yesterday, Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan bemoaned the “irresponsible defense cuts” and subsequent job losses that would occur under the Budget Control Act’s sequestration spending cuts. That would be the same Budget Control Act that Paul Ryan voted for, and, at least initially, defended.
It’s always nice to hear from readers in the “real world” who deal with government programs first hand. I recently received an email from a credit analyst with a commercial bank who read my essay with Veronique de Rugy on terminating the Small Business Administration. I think it’s worth sharing (name withheld):
Economist Antony Davies and Catholic theologian Kristina Antolin argue in the Wall Street Journal that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ criticism of Paul Ryan’s budget policies is wrongheaded: