National Journal reports
[$] that the administration wants more rural development programs in the next farm bill. Responding to congressional criticism that the administration isn’t sufficiently attuned to rural America’s needs, USDA secretary Tom Vilsack said that subsidizing biofuel facilities and high speed Internet service are “about a renaissance of the rural community.”
The Government Accountability Office recently reviewed 18 federal programs that provide food and nutrition assistance to low-income households, a subset of the nearly 70 programs that provide food and related subsides.
Food stamp enrollment has reached a record high of almost 40 million people. You can blame the recession and legislated benefit increases under presidents Bush and Obama. According to Obama’s latest budget, the total cost of the program will reach $73 billion this year, or more than double the 2007 price tag.
Sentiment for reducing government spending is rising, and the unstructured tea party movement is its most visible representation. However, Americans unhappy with overspending in Washington need to get more specific about where it thinks the federal budget ought to be cut.
Food stamp usage is on an upsurge
as a result of the economic downturn and liberalized eligibility. Thanks to some good journalistic work from Aleksandra Kulczuga of the Daily Caller
, we’re getting a better picture of how government dependency is spreading to a new generation.
Americans pay a lot more for sugar than do people in other countries. The culprit is the government, which imposes trade barriers and other damaging regulations on the industry.
Food stamp usage is at record levels according to the New York Times, with one in eight Americans now receiving benefits. There are several reasons for the upswing, including expanded eligibility in the 2000s and the severe economic downturn. The following chart shows the dramatic rise in spending for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as the Food Stamp program until 2008 when Congress changed its name to sound more palatable.
The Washington Times recently used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain letters sent to the USDA by numerous Republican lawmakers seeking stimulus money for their constituents. All of these Republicans had publicly criticized the stimulus and voted against it.
It’s become standard fare for senior government leaders to declare that any and all subsidies are good for economic growth. Two weeks ago it was the Economic Development Administration’s John Fernandez.
This week it’s USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack in a speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
This weekend while watching a football game with a friend, I saw a commercial for Pepsi “Throwback
.” This is a new product containing real sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup. My friend was incredulous when I explained that soft drinks manufactured for sale domestically generally don’t contain sugar because government protection of the U.S. sugar industry from imports make its use cost-prohibitive.
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