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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Separating Fact From Fiction In Food Stamp Debate

Newt Gingrich has been criticized for repeatedly calling President Obama, “the food stamp president.”  And Gingrich is not backing down.  In a new ad out this week, Gingrich claims “more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history.”

But according to USA Today,  as of December, more people had gone on food stamps under President Bush than under President Obama.

Guest:

  • Mark Rank, Washington University in St. Louis professor of social welfare

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Amanda in RI

    Hi, Robin,
    The president of the NAACP is Benjamin Todd Jealous, not Benjamin Todd as you said.

    • hitesh

      Hello, hitesh here, one of producers.  Amanda, thanks for the correction,
      that was a typing slip, I fear. h.

  • Nicole

    Listening to Gingrich say that he wants to ‘teach’ people how to get a
    job and excel in it is incredibly aggravating. I am educated–I even
    have a Master’s degree, and I have a full time job, but I still need to
    be on food stamps. This is the exact same case for a friend of mine.
    Thank goodness that the program is in place. I wish that its income
    thresholds were actually more flexible so that more people could be on
    food stamps–they are a necessary form of support from our government.

    • kathy

      Abuser

  • Audrey

    we were on food stamps for a while, during grad school because my husband could not work and do school at the same time.  We will be paying back into the system (as he is now a Dentis)t and needed them while in school, but there were many people at the food stamp office who didn’t look like they needed it. New cars, well dressed, manicured nails  etc.  My opinion is food stamps is a great help to people, but it needs to be limited for a certain amount of time in order for people to not abuse the system.

    • Just Thinking

      I have a large problem with your post.  Just because someone hits hard financial times doesn’t mean they should roll out of bed, not bother to brush their hair, and put on spoiled clothes.  Looking, or keeping yourself to a standard, should be a clue that these are not the type of people who plan to stay on food stamps for the rest of their lives.  Very judgmental on your part!

    • Mallen

      What does a person in need “look like?” It amazes me that you were checking out nails, the parking lot and what people had on. Are people to dress in grungey clothes to go to the food stamp office? Can’t a more fortunate friend with a Mercedes give them a ride, did you check the DMV to see who actually owned the car. Please stop judgeing people by what you think you see. Poor or in need does not mean without pride. Make sure hubby pays back all of his student loans, accepts medicaid patients,  and does some pr-bono work too!

  • Anonymous

    I have a terminal degree my husband has a bachelors. He recently became unemployed, I work 4 jobs consulting and adjunct teaching our total income for the year is 15,000 or less in CA. He has put in 100′s of applications and I cannot get a job with benefits we recently began using food stamps so we can feed our son. While these politicians disparage us I wish they could help us find GAINFUL employment!

  • Olorcain2

    Well that just goes to show you how out of touch our politicians really are.  Didn’t Newt think unemployment would have something to do with food stamp use?  He also seems to be carrying on the myth that White America believes that only Black Americans are on welfare.  And of course people would rather be working but when you send all the jobs away, or at the very least move them out to the suburbs that are almost unaccessible to people in the city who have to rely on public transportation, how can they get jobs. 
    I think before we start blaming presidents on spikes in food stamp usage, let’s take a look at why people do not have jobs, or jobs that can sustain them (could you live on minimum wage?) and try to get everyday employment back into cities.

  • Wendy

    I’m a social worker, and have a variety of clients who depend on food stamps to get by. Most of them either work at a low-wage job or are unemployed. Many are supporting minor children. Most of them are white. In fact, I spoke with a colleague yesterday, who was teaching as an adjunct professor at our local community college after being laid off from her fullt-time position as an elementary school teacher. She was informed that her classes for the spring semester had been given to a full-time professor, thus leaving her with little or no income for the next several months. She told me that she had been reluctant to try to get food stamps but that without them, she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to make it while she works to obtain a master’s degree that will allow her to get a more stable career. She’s a perfect example of why this assistance is so critical for many in our country today who just need a temporary helping hand. Should she be considered a freeloader?

    • Servehim2003

      Absolutely not! I was a single Mom who went back to school at 54 years old to complete my degree in Social Work in order to get a more stable career. I fell for the myth that a degree would make a difference. I worked like dog and graduated in 2009, just in time for the economy to crash. I also became disabled during this time, but stayed in school. Since I graduated I have worked exactly six weeks. I worked from the time I was 14 years old, served my in the military and was always independent. I’m still applying for jobs, because I can’t pay rent and utilities, car insurance and buy groceries at the same time…not with the $16 I get in food stamps! 

      • V_auckerman

         I hear you. I too worked all my life, now I’m disabled. I applied for food stamps and got 23.00 a month. Where do we turn when we dont make enough to pay the bills and make to much to qualify for any assistance. my medicine costs 320.00 every 3 months but they dont count that because its not over 35.00 each. 

    • LAMBrewster

      I am a teacher. In fact, I just hung up the
      phone after speaking to a gentleman about reopening my case because I
      accidentally clicked something when I applied online, stating that my son was
      the applicant as opposed to myself.  He was denied assistance because he
      is a full-time student and I am taking care of all of his needs. (He can’t work
      because he has an open case in court).  I have taught at the same school
      for over eleven years. I have taught for nearly twenty years. I am not a
      freeloader and I know many teachers, such as myself, who are struggling right now
      because we only work ten months out of the school year but our contracts or
      lack thereof suggest otherwise.  I was told by one person that I have
      “reasonable assurance” of having a job and that maybe I should tutor.
       I don’t object to tutoring and will follow up on this suggestion but I am
      hungry now and need help today.  My son is hungry now and needs help
      today.  How do I go back to work, give an Open- house and teach for the
      next two weeks on an empty stomach?  I tell you I find it even hard right
      now to write an intelligent reply to your statement.   I help children all
      year long.  I feed them, I buy their school supplies, I spend more money
      on my classroom than I do groceries or on myself year in and year out and now
      here I am, asking for a little help.  Not long-term assistance, just
      something to help me until I receive a pay check.  Asking is not easy. In
      fact, it is one of the most help
      me until I receive a pay check.  Asking is not easy. In fact, it is one of
      the most difficult things I have ever had to do.  I went to school -
      finish high school, college, raised my two sons as a single parent without any
      child support or public assistance and did everything the way I was brought up
      to believe a good citizen is supposed to do… So, how does this happen?  It’s
      been coming down the pike since 911.  I don’t blame Obama. I blame each
      and every one of us that continue to believe and to buy into the fantasy that
      here, in America we take stock in our children and in educating them.  We
      don’t.  Teachers will continue to leave the profession, not because we
      want to but because we have to.  Believe who you want on the issue of
      “saving teachers by cutting off food stamps” but it was just as bad
      when GWB was in office.  This “hunger” I am feeling right now
      began to settle in before Obama was sworn in and is eating me up inside today
      because so many people are so dead set on proving this man is unfit to be in
      office that they will not do anything that will prove or show they have
      confidence in him.  I lived and worked under GWB as a teacher in Texas
      before I came to Florida.  I know there are a lot of rich Republicans out there
      and others who REFUSE to help people like me just so Obama will come out
      looking like a skunk.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch we are hungry.
       You can’t SAVE teachers by cutting funding to Social Services because
      Teachers, like me are in need of these services too.  We are in line, just
      like everyone else. The only difference is, when we get in line people deny us.
       We are EXPECTED to be a part of the working poor, but without receiving
      any of the same benefits granted to everyone else.  I think the waiting
      period is unreasonable.  It isn’t even a matter of feeling insulted at
      this point. The insult was that I thought my education, my degrees mattered.
       It doesn’t. Not in America.  I am a month behind in rent, my
      checking account is over $200.00 negative and the bills keep coming…I even
      applied for overseas teaching jobs. I am that desperate.  How am I supposed
      to do my job when everyone and everything is telling me, I don’t matter. Be
      hungry. Go without. Keep accepting a pauper’s salary despite your record of
      being an effective teacher and meeting or exceeding academic requirements to
      have your job.  We don’t care how you do it because if, and when you quit,
      you will be replaced.  The economy is not the problem, if you ask me.
       That’s been one big skid mark for as long as I can recall. Shame? What’s
      that.  I am too damn hungry right now to worry about a little thing like
      pride.  This time next week, I will probably be eating #2 pencils with hot
      sauce. 

  • Cathy

    The program better served the population when it was actual surplus food. People were given cheese, beans, meats, peanut butter, canned goods and powdered milk that actually met nutritional needs. Handing out debit cards and stamps encourages shopping that dissolves into purchases of Coke and pastries. Both American farmers and families probabaly fared better.

    • jason

      I receive a debit card for food stamps.  I may be in the minority but I buy scratch ingredients and make fresh food.  I buy organic, local products and serve my family 3 meals a day.  I have to supplement my benefit with cash to make it through the month but since food stamps don’t work at places like McDonalds, don’t work for alcohol purchases, or prepared food, I am not sure about your argument. 

      • magdamae

        I’m in the same boat.  Tired of people thinking that all people on SNAP eat junk.  Cook from scratch, takes loads of time.  Eat healthy, lots of fruits and veggies.  We don’t drink soda or buy it.  “Snacks” are minimal because they are so expensive.

    • Servehim2003

      I agree wih you, but because I am poor does that mean I can’t have a Coke or my kids can’t have a donut now and then? And as far as American farmers are concerned the “american farmer” has gone the way of the dinosaur. Your groceries don’t come from the farmer down the road, they come from Con-Agra and other giant food conglamorates that get millions of our tax dollars in farm subsidies, while these “farmers” enjoy the high life in New York City penthouses. There is still plenty of surplus food being warehoused across the country and you are paying the rent on the warehouse…call your congressman!

      • magdamae

        Yes, it is demeaning and unjust that people think kids getting SNAP can’t have a treat like the rest of America.  They have yet to try on our shoes.

  • Johey

    I was a single–working–mom with 2 small children and receiving sporadic child support.  It was a humiliating experience but I needed to feed my children.  I always knew how to work hard.  I started working at 14 years old.  I am now a registered nurse and no longer need help, but I will never for get that time.  And I would never be so arrogant as to assume that just people are struggling they are somehow less than me.

    • Jason

      I totally agree. I’ve worked from the age of 18. At the age of 40+ I finally realized I needed to change my direction because retail was no longer giving me what I needed, not to mention after I was laid off I couldn’t find a job to replace the one I had. I struggled for two years before finally swallowing my pride and asking for help. Snap (the correct name for food stamps) helps me continue to feed my family healthy nutritious home made meals.

  • Tony

    People are not “on” food stamps; they receive them, as a federal benefit that is need-based under clearly prescribed conditions.  The mere use of the phrase is dehumanizing and stigmatizes the people who need them, and  should be rejected.

  • MARSHP

    while shopping at a grocery store, I observed the people in front of me (caldean or Iraq)  buying several cases of gatorade on food stamps.  Once they left I asked the checker why they can buy so much on food stamps.. she indicated it happens alot.. they buy the gatorade at 69 cents and take it to their liquor stores and sell it for 1.49 or more per bottle.  I asked her why this should not be reported…. she just shook her head.. THIS TO ME IS FRAUD. 

    • Stitchels

      Yes it is, marshp.  But fraud is a human thing, not an economic one.  Our own Wall Street and real estate meltdown, that put 10′s of thousands out of work, certainly made that clear enough. 

  • Duke

    I work as a cashier in a grocery store which has plenty of healthy options for customers to purchase.  It bothers my co-workers and I that certain sectors of the population ( I will not elaborate ) have balances on their ‘debit’ cards of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars… and continue to purchase chocolate, desserts and soda pop with their benefits.  Forgive us for being judgemental, but we struggle financially, don’t get a dimes worth of free groceries, and wake up at 4am to bag groceries in order to pay the rent!  We see a pattern of benefit users who have literally never worked a day of their life in this country, and it bothers us beyond belief …because to us, it appears that there is no justice in this country.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_COYLJ5NAXLAWMKU5KD6YRDI2MI John B

    After listening to your food stamp story in the parking lot of the Westford, MA market basket, I watched the young – perhaps teenage – mother in front of me in line use her card to buy artisan bread, premium ice cream, and imported cheese. She then went and bought cigarettes with cash. She left in a Mercedes C-class sedan.

    I still remember the nondescript white cans of peanut butter and dry milk that my great aunt got when I was little. What was wrong with that? Why are we for the government buying and distributing prescription drugs in bulk, but somehow it’s socially unacceptable to do the same with food-aid?

    • Anonymous

      The Republicans prevented the government from buying drugs in bulk.

  • Anonymous

    The program is called Nutritional Assistance, NOT food stamps! 

  • Granny Dee

    I have 2 friends who are on food stamps.  One is elderly 72 and is unable to work and makes very little social security.  The other one is a young 35 year old who is undergoing treatment for cancer and cannot work because of chemo.  I am so glad that there are programs in our government that help people.

  • Courkent

    I am a 24 year old white female university student, working part time while being completely financial independent. I grew up in a middle class family and am almost done with my B.S. I get food stamps and could not be happier about it! Being independent, working, and going to school full time is a lot to take on. Food stamps help me eat a balanced diet and still have money for rent. I am disgusted that this topic has entered the Republican debate the way it has.  

    • Lambrewster

      I cried when I read this. Why? Because I am a mother and I am a teacher. I am hurt that someone, like yourself is depending on food stamps just to eat a balanced diet.  Even more so because there is no such thing as support for students like you or like my son to help you to reach or to achieve your goals without having to delay your success or your achievement.  I love, honor and respect our American servicemen but when I consider the fact that we are taxed to pay for the room and board of the military and people in prisons, it makes me wonder why we can’t do the same for you.  For my son, and for other people who are forward thinking and trying to do something progressive and meaningful with your life.  If we reward academic effort with the promise that your tuition would be paid then used your academic record as a means to determine your eligibility for hire, then maybe we could all level the playing field a little bit and people would get serious about the importance of supporting struggling students.  As a teacher, all I can tell you is that people like you are why I have a hard time leaving my job.  I am happy you receive some help.  

  • Kathy c

    I am 53, single, self-employed and raising my 4 year old grandson.  The birth father, although court-ordered to pay child support, stays below the radar so he doesn’t have to pay it.  If it was not for food stamps, I’m not sure how I would be making it right now. 

  • Aimes

    As a hairstylist, my career has been affected by the economy. People start cutting back luxuries when times get rough. When I became pregnant with TWINS, my income no longer balanced out with the cost of childcare. My husband and I would not be able to afford our mortgage and bills if I did not take advantage of WIC-the nutrition program for mothers and children. It is humbling to ask for help, but I would offer it to others if I could, so I am appreciative of this program and the wonderful people who make it educational and helpful.

  • Salinaz

    This is thesame issue that Republicans have been talking about since the 80′s/90′s. Our world has changed since then. You would think their concerns for this country would have changed by now. We should not be debating the same topics that were discussed when I was junior high. Newt was race bating.

  • food4thought

    Food stamps are overly exploited by people who don’t need them.  I am all for food assistance, but why are tax dollars going towards soda, candy, and procesed “foods” leading to an unhealthy population and higher health care costs. We need to change what people can purchase with these programs and set up healthy whole foods regulations for what can be bought.  Maybe use some of these funds to set up more community gardens which will also bring people together and teach what food is and where it comes from. The problems with welfare are more than surface deep.

    • Mary

      Please get off your elitist soapbox. Food stamps and anything else is exploted by people who have a cheater mentality…period. You question why are tax dollars going to soda and candy…my question is why are tax dollars going to “farm subsidies” to multi-millionair businesses that don’t grow houseplants, never mind food. I remember when food stamps replaced surplus food, there was a long list of what you could’nt by. Who are you to say my kids or myself can’t have a treat once and a while if that is what I choose? Because people are poor does that mean they have to exist on rice, beans and potatoes. There is more healthy food info out there than ever before…but people still have choices!

    • Johey

      How about being able to use food stamps for soap and hygeine products?

    • Jason

      Yes food education is important. The problem with this attitude is that we need to stop screaming why are my tax dollars going towards……. and instead say – why can’t we help……
      The people receiving food stamps are often the hard working people that are bagging your groceries or making your coffee, no one that I know that receives food stamps is completely unemployed. Most are underemployed.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QHWAGKYFYKMPDCUNUTG623KU7E Chris

    I am a 37 YO white male who is a student and works 2 part-time jobs. I recently applied for Food Stamps and thought that I would never have to do it. However, having worked for the past several years, I have “paid into” the system and I am glad that something such as this is here when people like myself need it. In the mean time I have been trying to get yet another part time work to pick up the slack from the others…

  • Mark Johannson

    Rather than looking to food assistance to cut funds in the name of “incenticizing” people to fend for themselves I’d like some of these political talking heads to just once say that, gee-whiz, there’s a heck of lot more outright fraud in the Medicare program as both a percentage of the program and the sheer amount of money not to mention the untold millions, if not billions, that have gone unaccounted for in Iraq and Afghanistan due sheer neglicence, criminality or corruption. That’s where the wa$te is and should be addressed before threatening the lives of the neediest population in this country. 

  • Connieingalls

    We are parents in our 60s who by and large support a 40 year old daughter who is the single parent of 2 young people. She has a degree from a 4 year university and most of her adult life his been employed. Since Bush left office, she has been only intermitently employed and the “victim” of corporate downsizing and bankrupsies so unemployment is now gone and all she has is our support and food stamps. I am furious that people see food stamps as some bounty for the lazy.  There is not enough in food stamps to support the food needs of her family and she is one of the most careful users I can imagine. Stop already.

  • Whitney

    At several different points in raising my children and both my husband and myself establishing careers, we have been on food stamps.  I consider myself to be conservative in my political beliefs, and I do appreciate what food stamps offered myself and my family.  What I don’t understand though, is that at one point we were receiving over $400 a month to feed two adults and two small children.  While being able to feed my family in a healthy way, I don’t understand how anyone could responsibly spend that amount on a family of four a month.  That money cannot be taken away even when you no longer qualify for food stamps.  We saved that money and were able to use it for an additional six months after we no longer qualified.  I think that the amount of money that is distributed could be done more responsibly. 

  • Smith

    It would be unpopular to say this, but the rejection of Pro Choice is bound to increase the number of children on food stamps. Many of my generation felt that having a child when one did not have the means to support the child was not the choice we wanted. Many women also used birth control from Planned Parenthood. Now the conservatives want everybody to be forced to have unwanted babies and they are vowing to wipe out Planned Parenthood support. I believe it is the right of women to have unplanned babies but it is also a right to terminate pregnancy. What happened to the people who want to control the overpopulation problem that leads to unemployment and hunger?

  • Rick

    I spent 25 years as a welfare caseworker, did thousands of home calls, and capped it by evaluating fraud complaints during the last 3 years.  This included food stamps from the beginning.  Having talked to thousands of recipients, including recipients who have cheated the system, I am repeatedly struck by the parallel justifications used by welfare cheats and those who cheat on other government programs, and those who cheat on their income taxes in particular.  If you have talked to enough people, you simply cannot miss not only the repetitiously similar excuses, but also even the similarity of speech constructions–all leavened with a heavy dose of self-pity and an “us versus them” mentality, where the “them” (of course) is the government, disregarding the fact that the rest of us are paying for the operations of the government. 

  • Mustangdude86lx

    I think that this is a good program for many people however when you see people outside the grocery store dumping a twelve pack of Pepsi that was purchased with a bridge card to return the cans for deposit and buy beer and liquor it angers me to see a good program being abused. They could easily say no products with a deposit may be purchased with a bridge card to fix this. It’s ridiculous this hasn’t been fixed and its taking food away from families that need it and giving it to alcoholics.

    • Mallen

      What are those cans worth!?

      • Mustangdude86lx

        .10 cents each so 1.20 towards a cheap 1.50 beer. I see it every week outside a quality dairy in lansing . Someone outside with three to five twelve packs dumping them. Tax money literally being poured onto the ground.

  • Sharpesuz

    My family currently receives nutrition assistance (food stamps) and have been for the past year. I’m 30 years old and have worked since I was 16 years old. I was laid off over two years ago and have not been able to find anything other than a part time job driving a taxi. It’s completely humiliating to use food stamps but without the help we would not have dinner each night. I’m thankful for the assistance and look forward to the time when we no longer need to use them and can start donating to local food banks as we used to do.

  • Jdick

    My mother worked for the department of human services in Flint and was fed up with high/drunk people coming in and getting food stamps. She couldnt deny them because of this. Although many hardworking people need them at times, in general, the system is flawed and needs reform.

    • Jason

      So if people are drunk or high they shouldn’t eat? The use of drugs and alcohol is not limited to the bottom of the income spectrum. Think Rush Limbaugh and ill-gotten pain killers. Snap is not dependent on social status or drug or alcohol use, it is dependent on family size and income. Snap also provides the access to counseling and health care so these people have the best chance at recovery when they are continually exposed to the resources.

  • Skippydohickey

    While I believe food stamps are an essential part of “our need to help country”, I don’t believe they should be able to go into stores such as Wawa and buy hoagies, chips and sodas.  This does not feed your family, just your face.

    • jason

      This is in part due to a problem with education and the American food market.  People are not taught to cook from scratch and a hoagie chips and a soda are probably every bit as nutritious as something from the frozen department of the grocery. 

  • Servehim2003

    Of all the drivel that Newt Gingrich  has driveled, calling President Obama “the food stamp president” is the dumbest thing I ever heard! What actually is “being on food stamps” mean? I am on disability, 62 years old and unemployed for a little over a year. The SSA benefits I recieve which are less than $700 a month qualify me for $16 a month food stamp benefits. WOW Mr. Gingrich you spend more than that on daily snacks. Before stupid comments like that are made find out what “being on foodstamps” means. Single, elderly and the disabled get very little in food stamps.

  • Jason

    When I was a child my mother took my brother and I and left his abusive father.  My mother hadn’t worked in years as a stay at home mom and reentering the work market meant working at minimum wage on an assembly line.  With two young children at home she went back to school in order to further her education and get a job in the field of engineering.  She had to rely on food stamps, subsidized housing, and the kindness of others.  I can remember the day that mother, out of food and running short on stamps, having run out of money long before brought home the box from the food bank.  Nothing was fresh, everything was processed and almost all of it was new to me who had been raised on fresh food and home cooking.  The funny thing is during this time I have some of my fondest memories of childhood.  Thanks to food stamps, government subsidies, and help from strangers we lived through this time with only a little bit of strife.  
    Now I am an adult, 45, and back in school.  After 20 years in retail management I needed a change.  Going back to school at this point may seem selfish since I have two children and a wife I am responsible to but I am trying to teach my children the importance of education, doing what brings you fulfillment and the importance of family.  If it wasn’t for financial aid and food stamps I wouldn’t be able to do this.  The job market right now is dismal and while I could certainly find a job to support my family I don’t know that it would bring me the fulfillment that would enable me to be the father that I need to be.  

  • Beth Ann Diamond

    I would like to hear from Newt Gingrich about how he would provide jobs for the unemployed people on Food Stamps.  Would they be minimum wage jobs?  Many people who already hold minimum wage jobs are on Food Stamps.  Has Gingrich talked to people on Food Stamps, whether working or not?  All these discussions seem to ignore the elephants on the coffee table.  1.  The fact that unemployment figures do not count those who have already run out of benefits, and 2. The fact that our jobs are now being done in China where greedy American companies can get away with paying low wages.  Was it Shakespeare who said “There is nothing new under the Sun”?  Greed has existed from the beginning of Civilization, but it seems to me that in the last 20 years or more the Greedy have just gotten greedier.

    • Mallen

      No Beth Ann, not Shakespeare but King Solomon: Ecclesiastes 1:9New International Version (NIV)
      9 What has been will be again,    what has been done will be done again;    there is nothing new under the sun.

      • Beth Ann Diamond

        Thanks, Mallen.  I’m never sure when I come upon one of those great and timeless quotes whether it is Shakespeare or the Bible!

  • jason

    One thing that is left out of most conversations about food stamps, social security, medicaire, and other “entitlements” is that as a country we have a social obligation.   It is the security that government provides, local and federal, that allows individuals to start businesses, trade, do business internationally, and to do so in a safe environment.  It is also the government that provides the means to prosecute criminals, engage in a lawsuit when you are wronged, and puts out the fire in your home.  These things are all provided in our social obligation to each other as a nation.  “Entitlements” help to protect people from the lows in their lives, or sometimes help to protect people from having lows.  Food stamps are an inexpensive way to help our less fortunate neighbors and they are there if we are ever in need ourselves.  Too much attention has been put recently on not raising taxes and granting tax cuts.  Food stamps when used to buy groceries, and food items help to employ someone at the local grocery.  That someone then pays taxes, and spends their income buying goods and services which in turn help employ others.  Contrary to the trickle down theory it is not the rich creating jobs, or Presidents, or congress, it is a lively and active economy.  If support such as food stamps, subsidized housing, medicaire, social security goes directly back into the economy (the poor don’t save their money, they spend what they have because they have to) then this can help the local economy. 

  • Beth Ann Diamond

    As for what a President is or isn’t responsible for, our education system in this country needs to reinstate the subject of Civics.  I doubt that most Americans have any idea about Presidential power or about  any other aspect of how our political system really works.  It is my opinion that most Americans could not pass the Citizenship test.

  • soda man

    i am a soda salesman this would kill my 1st of the month paycheck, but make them bye food actual food. 3/4 of my sells are in the first week of the month. Most of the time that is my best ad’s, its not only food stamps buying my soda but its a large part of it. WIC makes them get actual food why cant the food stamps program have some not allowed items

    • John

      Hey Soda Man, I totally agree. I have seen where food stamps can’t be used for items like alcohol, cigarettes, and other non-food items…but it kills me when someone can buy 6 16oz cans of Starbucks iced coffee with food stamps. How is that nutritional?

      • Luckyjones

        Hi John, Sodaman,
        I have heard this kind of thinking before, on Amazon, but the opposite. A man said that he was in line behind a woman using food stamps, and he was shocked to see her buying very high quality bacon. When, do you think, the action of taking help, makes you subject to the criticism of the giver? I mean this as a real question too, because I don’t understand the connection between needing help and making “bad” choices as anything more than judgement. Help me understand where you’re coming from.

        I get it, that we as a society should establish rules for what benefits can be used for. I also get that people make poor food decisions. But where do they collide?

        I work in the food field, and know that half the food economy is based on bad food decisions. I think to myself, that the man behind the high quality bacon lady was shaking his head in disgust, while buying a frozen dinner. Or that you, sodaman, arguably a big cog in the machine, are crying for Food to be the standard, whilst peddling HFCS…makes me think we could use some national reflection, you know?

      • magdamae

        Why does everyone think that EVERYTHING that SNAP buys HAS to be healthy.  Half of America has health issues and they are judging others.

    • Gizmo

      FYI – Food stamps do have restrictions.  You can’t even buy toilet paper with them, and you cannot buy alcohol or tobacco.  If you are seeing these products purchased at the same time as someone is using food stamps, perhaps that person also has a debit card and is using that for whatever is not covered under food stamps.  Once you run the card through the card reader, if there is something not covered under food stamps, the balance is then paid in other ways such as cash, debit cards, checks etc.

  • John

    I was able to catch the very end of the show and I have to disagree with what I heard. I do understand the food stamp program may have been created to provide nutritional items to families in need and yes, most people may use it for that…but having worked in two different major grocery chains I was 1st witness to people who did abuse the system even with the revamped “debit card” process. Many, and I say MANY would come through my checkout line with items such as energy drinks, bottled coffee, chocolate covered cookies, and many other non-nutritional items. The would then take out their food stamp card and bam, they were out the door with no issues.

    I think this whole Food Stamp idea is great as long as it is used properly. There are families that can’t afford food on the table and this is exactly what this program is for, but it does need a serious REVAMP! Why not make it similar to WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) to where you are only allowed specific items such as bread, cereal, milk, cheese, formula, items that are needed by both the adults and children of the house hold. I don’t see how a Ice Coffee or energy booster can be considered nutritional especially for children.

    Someone in Office needs to step up to the plate and make this change! Who is willing to take on that challenge?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YI7JPHPR4F6T2PALUHX4CXUHWQ It

    I was really looking forward to your coverage of this topic because I did not like this topic being exploited by Gingrich but this was terrible. Your guest was more eager to prove that it was not Obamas fault than give facts. He kept going back to the obvious fact that most are white. Give the percent of whites in country vs whites on the program, then blacks, and so on. The only stat given was 36% White, 22% Black, 10% Hispanic so I can only assume that 32% are other.  That is a lot of others so I don’t know if I believe that stat.  The only thing said about it was when Robin made the statement that the percentage of blacks was disproportionate. Good try by Robin to shed light on this subject, but get a guest who is more about the facts than proving his point.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YI7JPHPR4F6T2PALUHX4CXUHWQ It

    … and take out the children and elderly to give me the facts of working age adults which was the point of Gingrich.

  • Johey

    No matter if you deem an adult “worthy” or not by your judgement of their appearance, car, etc. which child would you choose to go hungry?  Or should that 4 year old just suck it up and get a job?

  • pburgnj

    I have worked in grocery retail for more than 10 years. I have witnessed an appalling increase in the number of people using foodstamps. I stand at a cash register 8-1/2 hours a day, 6 days a week, in constant pain from spinal stenosis. I resent witnessing outright fraud on a daily basis by able-bodied people using foodstamps. A large majority of them are from Pennsylvania. I asked an able-bodied white male on foodstamps why he didn’t apply for work at my store. He said they couldn’t pay him enough to work there. Able-bodied people, regardless of race or gender, should not be allowed to use foodstamps. They should be forced to clean toilet bowls instead of getting a free ride, popping out more kids for the rest of us to support.

    • Gizmo

      Really?  Who are you to judge who is able-bodied?  There are many of us who are on middle-aged, living on disability who have no outward appearance of being disabled.   And my $16 per month helps every month.  Next time you want to judge someone based on their appearance, I suggest you look in the mirror.

  • Wayner

    I went through a long period of unemployment and took food stamps. I used was given about 4/3 of what I needed and used the balance after discontinuing the program. I was not happy that I could not use them at the farmer’s market or to buy bulk grains through a buying club. I know others that get food stamps and sell their surplus food.  It is apparent that the benefits are too high.

  • mama Di robert

    I am a 34 years old single mom, i wish i could continued worked like i did before and not to worry about a single thing.  but i have a child, not by choice. daycare cost more than the rent, nearly $800, that takes more than an entire month of paycheck to pay for it, not to mention, paying rent, utility, and necessities.  I don’t have a relatives nearby, just me on my own. I am wearing same clothes for last 3 years and i can’t afford clothes, much less a 5 dollars t shirt, or pant, especially it is cold out. but i makes sure my child have everything he needs. i put him first, even if it means to be on food stamp that he can eat fresh food, apple oranges, and banana is his favorite.  i buys things on club sizes, cheap grocery brands, so i can divided them into smaller packs. so i do stretch my food stamp budget to have plenty to get by. I am forced to stay home to take care of him.  i don’t get no child support. lucky i finished school long before i had a baby. coupons helps with budgets too.  right now i worried how am i going to pay for my prescriptions because i have to fork over 35 dollars for the prescriptions plans. i already forking over $100 for health insurance just for me. my child is covered by medicaid, not me, i don’t qualified. but better him than me.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_P4MZJUTSCUSZM6J6Y757IUSBUE John

    Yes, Bush started this to make it look like Obama caused it, but we all know this is Bush’s fault…

  • David

    So much for being a historian, Newt.

  • ifgliyg iug;iugb

    Comparing 8 years to less than three in your logic there.

    Newt is right.

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  • Kimmi

    The government benefit system has always been  broken.  Those who are willing to lie and take advantage of the system eat steak, drive nice cars and chill at home.  While those who struggle at a minimum wage job can’t afford rent and food,  but make too much to qualify.
    We can’t drug test recipients because if they stop getting benefits, they’ll just steal from everyone else to support their habit. 

    There aren’t enough government employees to weed out the real from the fake. 

    Take the initiative yourself!

    - Stop having babies you can’t afford to feed, clothe and house.
    - Stop doing drugs you can’t afford to pay for
    - Stop dropping out of school…Get an education, you’ll get a job.
    - Don’t take what doesn’t belong to you and earn your own way in life.

    Then when you really fall on hard times and need the help, I’ll be happy to lend a hand.

    • ExcuseMyLifeChances

      You’re very confused sweetheart.
      1.Not everyone receiving benefits are drug addicts.
      2.Not everyone receiving benefits are multiplying like mice.
      3.Not everyone receiving benefits are dropouts.

  • Ladytrizelle

    There is no wrong way to feed your childten. ireally don’t see why rich people complain atleasy their hard earned money is doing some good. just because it can’t be announced to the world they get mad and talk ish.as long as my kids eat every morning and everyday idc what anyone has to say. even tho my bf was working and paying our bills it still wasnt enough to cover the food so I’m thankfyl for gocernment help.

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