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Every $5 of food stamps generates up to $9 in economic activity.

The thing about cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—whether the benefits cuts that go into effect November 1 or the $4 billion a year in further cuts that House Republicans are pushing—is that if you're a House Republican, you don't care about the people who will be left hungry. You don't care about all of the people whose employers pay them so little that government assistance is the only answer for survival. You don't care about all of the milk, broccoli, bananas, eggs, and spaghetti that people won't have to feed themselves and their kids starting this week. You don't care that half of all children get food stamps at some point during their childhood, and half of all adults get them sometime between ages 18 and 65. Because if you're a House Republican, screwing poor people—children, adults, working, unemployed—is pretty much an article of faith. So here's another argument: Food stamp cuts are bad for the economy and for small business owners, as well as for long-term health care spending:

Economists have found that every dollar of SNAP spending generates roughly $1.70 in local economic activity. The USDA has calculated that food stamps generate an even bigger bang for the buck. So pinching food stamp recipients will ripple into the broader U.S. economy. Among other effects, that could dent revenues for the nearly 250,000 groceries and supermarkets around the country that accept SNAP payments, potentially affecting everyone from store workers and truck drivers delivering food to consumers, as food sellers raise prices to offset the loss of revenue.

Meanwhile, research suggests that reducing food aid could not only increase hunger, but also undermine public health. In a six-year study, Children's HealthWatch, a nonpartisan pediatric research center, recently found that young children in families that got SNAP benefits were at significantly lower risk of being underweight, which is linked with poor nutrition, and of developmental delays. That jibes with research by Northwestern University economist Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach. She has found that since food stamps were introduced in the 1960s, women in the program have seen a reduction in low-weight births and a decrease in infant mortality.

::Breaks out in bitter laughter:: I'm sorry. What was I thinking? House Republicans don't care about small business owners, either. Or the economy, except as it relates to the biggest corporations and the wealthiest individuals. And if you don't actually care about human consequences, long-term health care spending on things like low birth-weight children is only something you worry about if you actually intend that they should be taken care of. So, again, not a House Republican concern. The rest of us should be scared, though.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 08:10 AM PDT.

Also republished by Hunger in America and Daily Kos Labor.

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Comment Preferences

  •  GOP = Grinchy Old Party (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PSzymeczek, jan4insight

    Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

    by GreenMother on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 08:12:40 AM PDT

    •  What about their right to life? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jan4insight, shoeless

      Oh yeah, that's right ... they're kids now, not fetuses.

    •  I've been watching this for 40 years (0+ / 0-)

      And....I get carded buying beer: If I shave real close.
      Madison: SNAP is a massive subsidy to a system that is the obvious outgrowth or result of decades of poor Farm Policy.

      A subsidy is a subsidy is welfare.

      If corporations are people, and they pay no taxes yet are subsidized, then that is socialism.

      Why not subsidize actual breathing, real, people?
      Who, by the way, see no reason to excell because then they will have to actually pay federal income tax.

      While being preyed upon by all kinds of systemic financial powers that can destroy them?

      Who, in turn, have purchased the local, State, & Federal Governments?

  •  Lower class people spend every penny they get (7+ / 0-)

    into the local ecnonmy and one cannot say that about the rich.

    help the poor, help the economy
    help the rich, only the rich do well

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 08:19:17 AM PDT

  •  I am hitting my stupid (4+ / 0-)

    Rep - Renee Ellmers with this information hourly - with a different reason why SNAP benefits - actually benefit all of society - but she is such a dimwitted NURSE - she wouldn't understand.  

    Houston Barnes (Dem)  just announced the he is running against her.  I plan on working on his campaign unless he displays any Blue Dog tendencies.

    Why do Republicans Hate Americans?

    by Caniac41 on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 08:20:43 AM PDT

    •  What have you got against nurses, Caniac41? (0+ / 0-)

      I don't doubt you that Rep. Ellmers is dimwitted. I applaud you for supporting an opponent.

      But why bash her as a nurse? Nurses are the best.  

      •  She should know better (0+ / 0-)

        Can't speak for Canlac, but my take on reading it was not a slam on nurses but on this particular nurse. I read it as nurses have the training to realize the importance of good nutrition, especially for children, so Renee Elmers is especially dimwitted if she can't apply her professional education to understanding this issue.

        •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

          She might have managed a 'Wound Care Center' in Dunn but she must not be able to put two and two together -  a lot of diabetics get wounds that don't heal and i suspect a lot of her patients are either on Medicare/Medicaid and maybe even food stamps.

          Why do Republicans Hate Americans?

          by Caniac41 on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 09:16:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I respect Nurses (0+ / 0-)

        more than anything.. My sister is a nurse - I have many relatives that are nurses-- Renee Ellmers is not a 'nurse' like I would want anywhere near me - she lacks that 'caring gene' that nursing needs....

        Why do Republicans Hate Americans?

        by Caniac41 on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 09:14:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Cannot imagine telling my child I have no food (10+ / 0-)

    for them, really can't .

    I was not really able to breastfeed my daughter so she cried a lot as I was being pressured to keep trying....and I cried because the one job I had was to feed my baby and she was that moment I felt some of the pain of the poor around the world who cannot feed their children and I still hold back tears....

    good grief, WHAT have we become??

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 08:21:43 AM PDT

    •  We've become what we've always been. (5+ / 0-)

      This faction that we are fighting has existed as long as this country has - and if you want to broaden the scope - probably as long as humans became "civilized".  IN the US every 30 or 40 years (give or take) you can map a rise of like minded individuals gaining a degree of prominence.  It takes a while to tamp down but they have always returned.  Think, Birchers and know nothings and KKK and Father Coughlin etc etc etc.  

      At it's worst it brings on Gilded Ages - which I believe we have now.  And I think matters are worse now in great part due to how our campaigns are financed.  There is zero incentive for change since the politicians bread is buttered by the people who benefit from soaring corporate profits, soaring stock market and the like.  They do not benefit as much from a robust economy.  And they are extremely short sighted.  Why make $100 million every year for the next 30 years when you can make a Billion this year?  If we stop fighting them in the legislatures there will come a time that the fighting will be brought to the streets.  And that will be catastrophic for all.

      "I'm not left wing because i'm ideological, or passionate, or angry. I'm left wing because I'm informed." - Mikesco

      by newfie on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 09:00:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Most families in the world (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      have to do this regularly, at least during the lean parts of the year. Most mothers eat last, to leave something for the children even if mom doesn't eat at all.

      We should not be surprised when increases in food prices -- and outright shortages -- due to drought (and climate change) cause rioting in the streets of Egypt or Syria.

      What I would argue to these Congresscritters is more basic: The social safety net is what has kept the bottom half of the country from rioting in the streets and lashing out in any way they can. If you destroy that safety net, be prepared for widespread anger, some well-targeted and some just random violence. You can't build enough prisons to contain it.

  •  House Republicans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    only care about bringing down the government. Nothing else matters.

  •  You'd think they'd at least want big Agri (4+ / 0-)

    to have more customers.

    But hey a twofer, punish the poor especially their kids and worsen the health of the country.  See, we told you we'd take down the ACA.

    And of course private charities cannot begin to stem the tidal wave, but here is one place you can donate if you choose;


  •  Brats (2+ / 0-)

    Where is their au pair?  Does she not feed them?  Excuse me.  I really have to take this call.

    •  I know (0+ / 0-)

      And then they're tired at work.  When the child is up at night, I have to get up too.  Then go to the top of the stairs and scream for the governess.

      Really, is that so hard for them that they can't go back to sleep?

      (-6.38, -7.03) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

      by Lonely Liberal in PA on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 09:45:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Now FOX will spin the story (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    judyms9, shoeless

    FOX will spin the story and claim Obama and the Dems are the ones who cut SNAP because republicans needed to follow a Paul Ryan budget to save enough to support food stamps.

    Even though Ryan's budget would cut SNAP anyway. They will continue to lie and blame Dems and Obama for cuts republicans are responsible for.

  •  Repukes are stupid AND evil, they're multitasking (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But they are more evil than they are stupid.

  •  Some democrat needs to take to the floor (7+ / 0-)

    and hold it for 21 hours about the meaning of providing for the general welfare.   Jobs are not being is not being loaned and people for the most part cannot grow their own food. Slave labor and police bruatlity.  You can't even beg.    What does that say about America?  It is going to keep on until the UN will get involved on humanitarian issues reagarding this country.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 08:30:41 AM PDT

  •  Meanwhile just plain Republican Republicans... (5+ / 0-)

    Plain old not-in-Congress Republicans live in an alternate reality bubble where facts like these are simply not allowed to penetrate inside.

    They've swallowed their own racist kool-aid, and take it as an article of faith that SNAP hurts the economy while austerity measures help the economy--despite all evidence telling us the opposite.

    Instead, they cling onto the myth of the lazy black single mother welfare queen, and feel with their racist guts that it's more important to punish lazy blacks than it is to help the economy.

  •  It's about short term extraction, not sustainable (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    newfie, tardis10, shoeless

    economic growth.  You're asking the people who are robbing the jewelry store to please leave something behind for someone else.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 08:34:05 AM PDT

  •  For every fact we have, there is an "anecdote" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Batya the Toon, jan4insight, shoeless

    that they have.  For every story we tell, there is a personal experience of "the woman with the designer coat using that EBT card.*"

    Add that to the "bad poor people" and the "bad brown people" memes and you've got a potent emotive argument.

    This battle isn't about's about emotions.

    (*with no conception/understanding that her circumstances might have changed that fast . . . or it was a knockoff . . . )

    "Where some see a system for encouraging discussion . . . others see an echo chamber of bad grammar, unchecked stupidity, and constructive interference . . . " -- Ars Technica

    by Rikon Snow on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 08:34:15 AM PDT

    •  GOP Goobers Who All Live In Areas With No Jobs (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      judyms9, shoeless, Rikon Snow

      I made the comment in the local newspaper blog that all these self righteous Republicans with EBT horror stories seem to live in areas where there are no jobs and the economy runs on government benefits.  The comment did not get printed.

      Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

      by bernardpliers on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 08:49:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Because people who used to be well off (6+ / 0-)

      are impervious to falling on hard times...

      My husband and I have never been rich, but we were never really poor either.  We had enough money to buy nice things, smartphones, big screen TVs, nice clothes.  However we both lost our jobs within a few months of each other.  He got denied unemployment, and my unemployment compensation was a joke.  We racked up a ton of debt before we decided to turn to the government for assistance.  We were on food stamps for several months until he was able to get a job again.  

      Are people suddenly expected to sell off all the remnants of their previous life?  I wish these conservatives would ask themselves when they see someone who "shouldn't have food stamps" if perhaps this person came on hard times, and the reason they're dressed nicely is because they're trying to look presentable enough to find a new job and no longer have to depend on foodstamps.  

    •  Or maybe the coat came from a thrift shop. (0+ / 0-)

      I've found lots of great designer things at Goodwill.

      "If they give you ruled paper, write the other way" Juan Ramon Jimnez

      by Teiresias70 on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 01:35:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is a Question, not a Comment. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, shoeless

    If SNAP has a positive effect on the economy in general, doesn't that suggest that since SNAP pays for food it should have a substantial positive effect on the farms that the Farm Bill is written to support?

    Do the USDA numbers break down to show the effect of SNAP dollars on the agricultural portion of our economy?

    "The Trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat." attributed to Lily Tomlin

    by uniqity on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 08:45:50 AM PDT

    •  The House just separated the ag bill from (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shoeless, uniqity, tofumagoo

      the food benefits bill so you wouldn't take note of the connection.  Food stamps were initiated to help provide a predicatable market to farmers.  It's "divide and conquer" stategy again.  So is the rightwing email being forwarded today that pits disabled vets against those "welfare queens."  The GOP no longer wants this to be the UNITED States of America.  That's what the neo-secessionists are all about.

      Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

      by judyms9 on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 09:24:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, SNAP helps food prices (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      uniqity, tofumagoo

      This was the reason in the 1960s that conservative Democrats from rural states voted for the program. It was seen as a supplement to price supports, which weren't working very well as prices fell over the course of the 20th century.

      Recently farm commodity prices have risen as, for example, ethanol requirements for gasoline have served as a price support. Agribusiness, which now controls most farming, doesn't see food stamps as very important. Hence the spectacle of 10 House Reps who receive  subsidy payments voting against Food Stamps.

  •  People should be calling their grocers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, judyms9, shoeless

    who should be calling their reps.  That is money that's not being spent in their stores.  If people have to rely on food banks or charities which are already over-stressed, they're not buying groceries and that impacts the Wal-Marts and Krogers, etc.

    "Forever is composed of nows." Emily Dickinson

    by Leftovers on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 08:50:06 AM PDT

  •  I'll bet good money that a majority of the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, shoeless, Teiresias70

    people supporting this have never had to go to bed hungry, nor missed a meal in their entire lives.

    They keep on blathering on about 'freedom', but they're starting to resemble the French aristocracy in ways that even they must be nominally aware of.

    I'm a sanctimonious purist. Whatchya gonna do about it?

    by speedingpullet on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 08:50:33 AM PDT

  •  Walmart will be hurt, have spent millions lobby (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless, tofumagoo   "Retailers and food companies including Wal-Mart have spent millions over the past couple of years lobbying lawmakers over nutritional assistance, according to federal records. The current Congress, however, appears inclined to implement even deeper cuts as lawmakers in Washington resume negotiations this week over a new U.S. farm bill. "

  •  We have a congressman here in TN that has received (7+ / 0-)

    over three million dollars in farm subsidies since

    Of course, he's screaming bloody murder about the "takers" mooching off of the taxpayers by accepting food stamps.

    The stupider you are, the stupider you don't think you are.

    by jnhobbs on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 08:55:19 AM PDT

  •  I don't know if I'm wrong here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless, catilinus

    But I think that Corporate farms CAN get Government subsidies? If this is so then slash what they can get, give it to family farms and SNAP.
    Namaste WF

  •  It's really stunning what Congress is planning (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, shoeless, tofumagoo, Teiresias70

    Chris Hayes did a good segment on what he calls The Hunger Cliff. Not a very snappy name, but a well-researched report.

    The Democrats are cool with cuts to SNAP/Food Stamps that equal all charitable giving currently done in the US. This is about to happen, beginning November 1.

    That's tomorrow.

    The Republicans are looking for a cut of that size every year for the next 10 years.  

    And, since it's much easier to not spend money on the poor than it is to spend money on them, it's very likely that the cuts will grow from the Democrats' inhumane figure toward the Republicans' catastrophic number.

  •  Nearly 47 million people on food stamps (0+ / 0-)

    That's a LOT of people @ $75 billion a year and growing.

    Would it not be economically more efficient (with even more secondary benefits than SNAP) to address the causes of poverty, say by raising the minimum wage or even spending money on jobs programs?

    •  yes, and increasing Social Security (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tofumagoo, Liberal Jon

      and veterans' benefits and etc.etc.

      The one advantage of SNAP is that people can only use them for food (except for fraud, which is a different issue). If you give people a $100 increase in their overall monthly income, they may or may not choose to spend it on food.

      But yes, the number of people on SNAP is an indictment of market capitalism. Without SNAP (and heating assistance, rent subsidies, Medicaid, Head Start, and the other subsidies), it would be clearer that half the population is so poor that they can't afford the basics, even when working full-time.

      •  Yeah, I guess I seemed to ascerbic in that comment (0+ / 0-)

        But my point is that maybe it's not so great to push for more and more food aid money, to be spent on unhealthy mass-market corn fructose products.

        Maybe it'd be better to spend more of that money on addressing the causes of poverty.

        But really, the diary was about economics. Is there not an economic point where it's more efficient to spend that money on something other than direct food aid? (E.g. minimum wage increase, jobs programs, training, etc. etc.)

  •  Call me crazy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vetwife, tofumagoo, Teiresias70

    but I'm willing to raise (my OWN) taxes to the point where most SNAP cards have money left on them at the end of the month.

    You know.  Good diet.  It's the keystone to health, good education (since you sure aren't paying attention if you're hungry), good performance at work, and a major contributor to contentment with life, whatever else is going wrong.

    At least you won't starve.

    (-6.38, -7.03) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

    by Lonely Liberal in PA on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 09:48:30 AM PDT

  •  Ahhh but you have a heart and they don't. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    speedingpullet, tofumagoo

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 09:52:37 AM PDT

  •  There might be an even bigger issue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What happens when millions of people suddenly aren't getting enough to eat?
      Well, as you can imagine, people will get sick.

    But even before that, people will get desperate. That means petty crimes go up. Most likely violence.

      And there is one thing that is more likely than anything else to get people to finally participate in the political process - an empty belly.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 10:05:19 AM PDT

  •  According to (0+ / 0-)

    the two companies that will get hit the worst aren't small businesses, but our favorites, Target and Wal-Mart, who account for an increasing share of grocery purchases (along with everything else) in poor communities. (That's separate, of course, from their dependence on SNAP to keep their poorly-paid employees from going hungry.) Are the Walton family lobbying for SNAP increases? Or are they putting ideology above self-interest?

  •  Everybody should be on foodstamps! (0+ / 0-)

    Think of the economic success that would result!  If $5 of foodstamps generates $9 of economic activity, think how much economic activity there would be if everyone was on public housing assistance, too!  

    Economics is so simple!!  Sheesh!

  •  This can't be right (0+ / 0-)

    I was talking to Dick Cheney the other day.  He said the absolute best way to circulate money in the US economy is to start 2 unfunded wars on the other side of the world (one of which should simply be the wrong country for fun).  Apparently 70% of the funds spent in these wars were spent in beans, that must be great for our local economy....right?  His friend Rummy came by and added...make sure you have absolutely no gameplan 6 weeks into these wars except hunkering down in the green zone and asking our 19 year old kids to drive in figure eights until they find the land minds on the road.  That's how we should spend our treasure...isn't it?

    There's room at the top, they're telling you still, but first you must learn how to smile as you kill. -J Lennon

    by noelcor on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 01:29:45 PM PDT

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