Thursday, 06 September 2012 14:52

Obama Admin. Boosts Food-Stamp Participation by Targeting Seniors

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Despite already having record-breaking numbers of Americans on food stamps, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to campaign for more, as the agency has been espousing the government welfare program through parties featuring games like Bingo and crossword puzzles. Targeting the nation’s seniors, the effort was touted in a pamphlet released on the USDA website earlier this summer, which provides tips for recruiting potential recipients to the program.

“Forget Tupperware bashes and toga soirees — the latest rage is food stamp parties,” Fox News quipped in a June article. “The USDA is encouraging the nation’s food stamp program to promote the elderly using parties and games.” 

The number of recipients drawing benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, has hit an all-time high, with a record 46.7 million Americans now benefiting from the program. Participation in SNAP has been greater than 46 million all year, as unemployment remains persistently above the 8-percent mark.

"Too many middle-class families who have fallen on hard times are still struggling," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday in a statement. "Our goal is to get these families the temporary assistance they need so they are able to get through these tough times and back on their feet as soon as possible."

Food-stamp spending has more than doubled during President Obama’s tenure to a record $75.7 billion in the fiscal year that ended September 2011. Spending on SNAP totaled $6.2 billion this June, nearly half a percent higher than May and 2.8 percent more than in June 2011.

Still, despite these record-setting numbers, the USDA has rolled out numerous campaigns to further inflate the food-stamp rolls. The agency’s tool kit for promoting SNAP benefits to seniors does not mince its words, as it explicitly states, “The primary goals of the campaign are to increase enrollment in SNAP and to reinforce its role as a nutrition assistance program.”

Some tips include strategies to recruit seniors who are “potentially too proud to ask for government assistance.” In turn, recruiters should “Throw a Great Party,” advice given under the heading, “The Right Mix for Reaching Seniors.” The tool kit emphasizes ways of “Addressing Barriers and Challenges” by using “mini-scripts” to help recruiters “overcome the word ‘No’ when trying to convince seniors to sign up for food stamps.”

“For many in the Silent Generation, relying on ‘welfare’ or any type of public assistance is not acceptable,” one mini-script asserts. “This generation of ‘self-sacrifice’ was raised to be independent and self-reliant. They don’t want to ‘lose face’ in front of their peers.”

“Host social events where people mix and mingle. Make it fun by having activities, games, food, and entertainment, and provide information about SNAP,” the pamphlet continues. “Putting SNAP information in a game format like BINGO, crossword puzzles, or even a “true/false” quiz is fun and helps get your message across in a memorable way.”

Other tips the USDA offers to food-stamp recruiters are guides included in SNAP’s community tip sheets, including “Tips to get an Op-Ed Published” and “Event Planning for Senior Audiences.”

"Every $5 in new SNAP benefits generates $9.20 in an additional community spending," the agency explains. “If the national participation rate rose five percentage points, 1.9 million more low-income people would have an additional $1.3 billion in benefits per year to use to purchase healthy food and $2.5 billion total in new economic activity would be generated nationwide.”

In rolling out the campaign, the USDA targeted states such as California, Ohio, Texas, New York, North Carolina, and South Carolina with a flurry of radio ads. According to CNN Money, the effort cost taxpayers somewhere between $2.5 million and $3 million.

Despite a significant increase in food-stamp use during President George W. Bush’s tenure, the Obama administration continues to bolster participation in the program to unprecedented levels. Another example of such promotion was a 2009 State Outreach Plan Guidance, which explained why the SNAP program is so critical to the welfare of American society:

Outreach Can Help Increase Participation in SNAP Resulting in Multiple Benefits for Participants, States, and Communities: SNAP is the cornerstone of the nation’s nutrition safety net and an investment in our future. SNAP offers the opportunity for improved nutrition and progress toward economic self-sufficiency for participants who become stronger members of the community. However, too many low income people, especially seniors, working people, and legal immigrants, who are eligible for SNAP do not participate and thus forego assistance that could stretch their food dollars and help improve their nutrition.

All in all, spending on the welfare program has boosted 100 percent since Obama took office, and now a startling one in seven Americans receives the benefits. Comparatively, in the 1970s, only one out of every 50 Americans was benefiting from the program. 

4 comments

  • Comment Link Frank M. Pelteson Friday, 07 September 2012 09:48 posted by Frank M. Pelteson

    We need to understand the bottom line. Karl Marx, in his Communist Manifesto said "From each according to his ability to each according to his need." The purpose of this is to destroy the Middle Class in preparation for a One-World Socialist Police State under the United Nations.

    The acceleration of government-enforced charity is programmed by the INSIDERS, the semi-covert men above and behind every presidency. It does not matter which president is in office, this acceleration will occur regardless.

    The only solution is to join The John Birch Society to help expose the INSIDER CONSPIRACY. You can find out about this CONSPIRACY by reading the book "NONE DARE CALL IT CONSPIRACY" which you can buy at https://www.jbs.org/shop/none-dare-call-it-conspiracy .

  • Comment Link Linda Joy Adams Thursday, 06 September 2012 19:32 posted by Linda Joy Adams

    Once upon a time, not too many years ago; Congress did an under cover study at Social Security offices to make sure that if anyone indicated they were hungry or had a need for food or were obviously eligible,, etc. they were referred for food stanps. In fact if someoone was in a household where all were getting SSI, the low income program for aged, blind and disable; we coul take the application and evidence and forward it on to the food stamp office for processing. We were on high alert to make sure we got pepole signed up and no one was to go hungry if they were able to get some food stamps. This happened under Republican and Democrat administrations. Times have really changed. What happened to comapssionate conservatism of just a few years ago? We are to help one another help themselves and some of those programs our soicety had put in place have been budget cutted to give the money to ? where?Faith based groups can't do it all! to scream socialism as something horrific is to think its the same as communism or fascism. When one goes out to drive on a road, one drives on a socialistic shariing of our monies where we the peopls still have the say as to whether to build the road or close i or fix it it through our votes. and we still have llour constitutional right as defined in the Bill of rightss. Unlike communism where we belong to the state and the ; parrty; in charge deicdes and we have no deity or each other to be acocuntable too and no accountability to society by those who ave ganed power. In fascism, any one that isn't able to work and produce or just not liked by the bullies who have grabbed power are just killed or let to die as a few bullies have gained act as gods and have total control and don;t care about any diety or what society thinks about them as they are to be worshiped or else eliminated!: ! Linda Joy Adams

  • Comment Link REMant Thursday, 06 September 2012 17:22 posted by REMant

    It's another irritating illustration of the president's belief that govt builds things, which justifies his re-election. Whether it is needed welfare is hard to assess, but to argue there's a multiplier effect has been proven false many times over.

  • Comment Link nofluer Thursday, 06 September 2012 16:14 posted by nofluer

    "Every $5 in new SNAP benefits generates $9.20 in an additional community spending,"

    Sounds good, doesn't it? With our government putting out numbers like these, no wonder the nation is going broke! They can't add or think! So let's look at what they REALLY said.

    "Every $5 in new SNAP benefits..."
    comes directly from the pockets of the US taxpayers or is borrowed. If it's borrowed, then it will cost MORE than $5. So the $5 they hand out would have been spent in the economy anyway - only it would have been spent by a working citizen. ie Every $5 in new SNAP benefits takes $5 away from a worker.

    "...generates $9.20 in an additional community spending,"
    Not true. Already explained above is that $5 of that "$9.20" would have been spent by a worker. So it generates only $4.20 in "new" spending. How does it do that? By someone selling the stamp recipient $4.20 worth of goods, then the seller can spend the $4.20.

    So it's likely that had the original worker spent that $5, then the $4.20 would have been spent anyway. And since the worker would not be limited in what he/she could spend their stolen/taxed $5 on, there's a strong possibility that it would have generated MORE than $4.20 in "additional spending."

    In addition, the worker wouldn't get off paying $5 in taxes for the $5 the government is giving away because the government would have to pay for the expenses of the tax collection and disbursement. So the worker would have to actually pay MORE than $5 for that $5 food stamp handout, sop the worker would have MORE than $5 less to spend.

    So once you get down to structure, you can see that there would be absolutely ZERO "additional spending" - and given the taxation handling expenses, very possibly LESS spending.

    Yeah... say the DEMS - but the government money is FREE!!! Uh huh. Sure it is.

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