Monday, December 10, 2012


The SNAP program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is enjoying a record amount of success as it recorded a huge  monthly increase.  The Federal Government released September data showing that the foodstamp roles added more than 600,000 participants, the largest monthly gain since December of 2009.

The current count shows that we have more than 47.7 million Americans obtaining food through the program, this is about 15.5% of the US population.  The projected MONTHLY cost of this support is $6.4 Billion.

As the number of citizens and non-citizens on foodstamps increase the politicians cannot help themselves but wade into the mess and attempt to make the folks on SNAP feel good about themselves.  In fact, politicians like Corey Booker, mayor of Newark, NJ go further and attempt to make the point that the nation should INCREASE foodstamp benefits for recipients.

Corey Booker tweeted his experiences and shared the misery of living on $4 a day which is about the amount that he would receive as a single person that qualifies for benefits in the program.  Unfortunately, Mr. Booker hasn't keyed in on a significant part of the program that is revealed in the name, which is SUPPLEMENTAL ASSISTANCE.  The foodstamp program is not intended to be the food source for 100% of a participant's food and is not envisioned to be a long term provider for a single person or family.

In my opinion, the real reason Mr. Booker took the challenge and has made this a big issue is that he has grand aspiration of higher office like governor or senator.  

Politicians understand how this works better than most of us.  See, Mr. Booker sheds light on just how hard it is for his constituents to live on foodstamps, and he is perceived as a guy who fights for the poor.  The federal government increases their monthly allotment and then they vote for him.  Or, sometimes it is the other way around.  They vote for him and then they expect him to "BRING HOME THE BACON".  At least that is how Joann Watson of Detroit believes it should be done.

Fox 2 News Headlines

My guess is that Mr. Booker will get elected to some office and he'll deliver more taxpayer money to more foodstamp participants ensuring that they get something extra.  I personally wish that we'd work to add jobs not an extra portion of hog.

The federal government has a target of 3.8% error or fraud rate for the SNAP program, that means they are hoping to only waste or have stolen $2.5Billion this year!

I think one of the largest issues I have with the SNAP program is that our federal government attempts to "sell" this program as if it is good to everyone.  Here are a couple of examples;

  • Advertising to add more recipients - The SNAP program spent millions earlier this year in LA and Texas attempting to add more people to the foodstamp roles.  They purposefully try to reduce the stigma associated with "getting some bacon".

  • Politicians tell us it just isn't enough.  Mr. Booker is a perfect example of this problem.  There would never be enough to satisfy people.  Even if we raised the benefit by 50% we'd be told that the amount isn't enough to buy organic fresh veggies or meat.  

  • Sales -  For some reason the USDA believes that it needs to sell taxpayers on the merits of the program.  Their website tells us that for every $5 dollars spent on the program it generates $9.2 in economic activity!  Yeah!  Frankly, I don't need to be sold on the need to help someone out and get them back to work.  I actually support the idea of the SNAP program and don't need to be sold on the idea that the program is good for the economy.

Don't get me wrong.  There are people that are in poverty that need "temporary assistance" to get to a self sustaining level.  I feel strongly that programs like SNAP, housing assistance, free Obama phones, and more make life more comfortable than it should be FOR MANY able bodied men and women.  I think the fact that SNAP continues to increase despite all of our government's reports that show how the economic situation is improving.  If our economy is better and the employment rate is lower, how is it possible that the SNAP program continues to expand at an even greater rate? 


Goatmug is an investor that cares about you and your family. Goatmug's Blog - Financial Perspectives From The Mountain Top is a collection of thoughts on our economy and how it impacts the lives of investors and average people. While several specific investments are named in many of his posts, these articles are simply invitations for you to do your own research and reference to these securities does not constitute financial advice. Your situation is complex and unique and you should seek professional assistance with your trading and investing. Please visit Goatmug and share your comments at

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