But on Thursday, the House voted to cut $40 billion from food stamps over a 10 year period.
To achieve these cuts, it would be made harder for able-bodied adults with no dependents to get waivers. Healthy adults with no dependents would be limited to three months of food stamps over a three year period, unless they enroll in a government job training program or land a part time job.
The program would also be means-tested more aggressively to focus on the truly needy, and eligibility rules would be strictly enforced.
The proposed cuts are enclosed in the House Republicans’ Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act of 2013.
Rep. Marlin Stutzman from Indiana was a strong advocate for the cuts. On the House floor he said, “In the real world, we measure success by results. It’s time for Washington to measure success by how many families are lifted out of poverty and helped back on their feet, not by how much Washington bureaucrats spend year after year.”
But most Democrats do not agree.
Democrat Debbie Stabenow is the chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. On the Senate floor, she said the bill “will never see the light of day in the United States Senate.”
Nancy Pelosi said the bill is “dangerous” and takes food away from needy mothers, children, and families. Similarly, Rep. Donna Edwards from Maryland called the cuts “mean.”
Rep. Rosa DeLauro from Connecticut said the cuts are “immoral,” and that it “goes against decades of bipartisan support for fighting hunger and would be disastrous for millions of Americans.”
Regardless of what the House passed this week, food stamp spending will almost definitely not decrease. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that if the bill gets to his desk, he will veto it.
Good grief. When will the spending stop?
Food stamps are well intended, but it is time for politicians to start thinking with their heads instead of their hearts.
A temporary and effective safety net to help those in need is absolutely necessary. But when one sixth of the American population is receiving food subsidies, there is clearly something wrong with the system.
Government spending is not the sole answer to poverty. If it were, America would have the lowest poverty rate in the world. Instead of making poverty more comfortable with government handouts, incentives should be created to encourage hard work and self-sufficiency.
Anyone who has taken an intro economics course knows that people respond to incentives. When you subsidize a benefit, there will always be more people seeking out that benefit. Why are Washington bureaucrats oblivious to that?