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Dependency Uber Alles

That must be the real goal of governors who have thwarted modest food stamp reform.

by
Tom Blumer

Bio

March 15, 2014 - 12:01 am
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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is a such a clever guy. He has just milked the social welfare system out of over $450 million per year that Congress and President Barack Obama allegedly did not wish to spend. For doing so, he is being treated as a hero. Other state governors have already copied Cuomo’s gambit.

That the program commonly known as food stamps, technically known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), is badly in need of reform should be beyond dispute. The number of households receiving SNAP benefits grew from 26.9 million at the end of fiscal 2007 to a peak of 47.8 million in December 2012, an increase of 78 percent. Total program costs and benefit payments are well over double what they were six years ago.

Though its post-recession performance has been the least impressive of any since the Great Depression, the economy has still managed to generate just over 8 million additional jobs in the 48 months since February 2010, the last month during which employers shed jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis. Until very recently, that growth in jobholders did little to halt the program’s runaway caseload, which grew by over 8 million during the first 33 months after that employment trough.

The first indications of a long overdue post-recession reversal in program participation occurred this past November and December. The total number of recipients fell by over 700,000 during those two months, and came in below 47 million for the first time since July 2012. Unfortunately, Cuomo and his copycats appear determined to slow down even that minimal amount of progress.

The Empire State governor’s move gets around a loophole many in Congress thought it had eliminated.

Here is the foundation under which Cuomo was able to pull off his con:

… to calculate disposable income, the state takes your total income and subtracts some allowable deductions for essentials. Since things like rent and utilities are considered household necessities, they’re subtracted. To calculate how much a potential food stamp recipient spends on utilities, states used to collect multiple utility bills from each and calculate the average. To streamline things, they came up with a standard utility allowance.

I would argue that the “streamline” was also designed to grow the dependency rolls and increasing dependents’ degree of dependency. Out of thin air, the “standard utility allowance” creates phantom expenses applicants don’t really incur, thus qualifying more households for benefits, and others for higher benefits.

Sadly, this aspect of the law’s administration hasn’t changed. The fact that it hasn’t is why Congress failed to fix the problem it thought it had solved, and why the advertised cost savings won’t occur. Here’s what the law does:

… The measure … involved stopping a practice in multiple states — the use of a program popularly called “heat and eat” that allowed residents who receive as little as $1 in federal heating assistance to also qualify for additional Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

The 2014 farm bill raises the minimum threshold in state LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) contributions to $20 for families to qualify for the extra food stamps.

States were even sending the $1 checks to households which don’t pay a utility bill for the sole purpose of increasing their SNAP benefits.

Even hardened leftists like Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, advocacy groups like the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, and press outlets like Mother Jones recognized Congress’s move as an attempt at genuine reform.

So how did Andy Cuomo ruin things? I’ll explain on the next page.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
You know, Tom...religious and moral teachings inculcated an instinct to help the poor. To this day that instinct is instant, deep and visceral.

However, those same tenets do NOT insist that I make a man poor to prove my "goodness".

It does not insist that I tempt a man to cheat, lie and steal to prove my goodness.

It does not insist that I keep a man down, steal his self-worth, and rob him of self-sufficiency to show off how much "goodness" is in my heart.

It does not insist that I seek...much less ask for...much less DEMAND something in return. My giving to someone in need according to the tenets of morality I was taught as a five year old in religious class, told me that my "reward" was not to be sought here on earth. And that it cheapened the act of giving if I sought a return favor, a payback, a vote ....or a fawning media coverage for having done it.

The act of giving was to allow a chance to get back on one's feet, not to keep my feet on someone's back.

The twin evils of "entitlements" are found in the very word. To suggest that government is engaging in an act of "goodness" by insisting that they make recipients feel "entitled" to "charity" as long as they keep voting for "The Party", unwraps the gift before it is given. With unclean hands.

It is not charity, because it demands fealty. It is not "entitlement" because it's offered to prove false "goodness". It is not government, because it seeks to punish fiscal restraint. It is not "goodness" because it is used entirely as a class warfare weapon.

It offends morality by pretending to be moral. And that, Tom...defines the seminal difference between being a radical leftist...and the "liberalism" they hide behind.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (13)
All Comments   (13)
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I think your blog is one of the top conservatarian blogs out there and I put you in my links. Keep up the good work. http://the-paste.blogspot.com/ , http://thedailysmug.blogspot.com/ mn,
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Of course this is just one part of the successful program to create a defacto national minimum income. And it's working. There's plenty of uptight, conservative, religious people taking these stamps. Don't delude yourself into thinking it's all kids with mohawks. All for one and one for all, the SNAP program is filling the fat faces of all kinds of Americans and non citizens. I remember living in Buffalo, hearing a fat ugly biker telling his hooker paramour to go out and blow someone so they could get food stamps. Last week, shopping at the CTown in downtown White Plains I was delayed while a few women who spoke only Spanish purchased large bags of shrimp with their SNAP cards. Maybe it's the long global winter but things seem pretty sad when you're a productive person, trying to compete for food, the most basic measure of success, with interlopers and scumbags of every shape and size. The program is working.
When I grew up, the unheard of epoch of the '70s I remember two refrains that were common in my mostly blue collar town of Hastings on Hudson. 1, "Never take a handout." 2. "Never pay for it." meaning a woman.
The town I grew up in now has bilingual signs, even though the only Spanish speakers are the illegals who bus dishes and clean houses. Anaconda Wire and Cable is gone. It was the world's largest wire mill until 1980. GM is gone. They moved their production to a place without unions. Otis Elevator did the same. So now people take handouts. As for paying for "it" I wouldn't know. But before we blame the left for this, let's remember, all the good jobs vanished because GM and Anaconda Wire and Cable and Otis Elevator were not willing to pay a wage that could pay a mortgage. That's just a fact. So yeah, people are taking the money and running. What we need are a sitload of good paying jobs, and that ain't happening as long as this laptop I'm on is made in China and the one you're reading this on is too.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hubby says, "beggars are easier to please"!!
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
File this under "Gee, we didn't see that coming." Look how many federally funded assistance programs (phones, housing food, heating, healthcare etc) are slowing morphing into... if you qualify for "A"... you automatically qualify for "X, Y and Z."

Are people (those with common sense) really surprised when states cities, or even individuals exploit loopholes, like in this case? Nope.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
About 15 years ago, my BFF got her Daughter into a Federally Funded Education Program so she could become a Medical Assistant. Neither had the resources to send her to school, so they availed themselves of "the system". The Daughter graduated, got a job in the field, worked her way up & today is a well paid successful Office Manager of a large medical group affiliated with an excellent hospital & has more than paid enough in taxes to cover the freebie she received while in school. A few years after her graduation she went back to visit Teachers at the school. The Teachers COULDN'T BELIEVE that she not only graduated but was successfully working in her field. One of the Teachers was so excited when she said, "no one has EVER graduated from this program, let alone got a job because of it. We are SO PROUD of you, let's take some pictures with you"!! It turns out that this Bill Clinton program has a "glitch" in it (surprised?...yeah, me neither). IF you are in this program & decide that what you are studying just isn't for you, you can quit that program & sign up for a different course of study. The ENTIRE time you are in the program, you qualify for food stamps, welfare & section 8 housing. But GOD FORBID that you ACTUALLY GRADUATE, then you have a small window of opportunity to find a job, before the "gravy train" ends!! Thus creating a welfare class of "perpetual students"!! Ain't education grand?
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
You know, Tom...religious and moral teachings inculcated an instinct to help the poor. To this day that instinct is instant, deep and visceral.

However, those same tenets do NOT insist that I make a man poor to prove my "goodness".

It does not insist that I tempt a man to cheat, lie and steal to prove my goodness.

It does not insist that I keep a man down, steal his self-worth, and rob him of self-sufficiency to show off how much "goodness" is in my heart.

It does not insist that I seek...much less ask for...much less DEMAND something in return. My giving to someone in need according to the tenets of morality I was taught as a five year old in religious class, told me that my "reward" was not to be sought here on earth. And that it cheapened the act of giving if I sought a return favor, a payback, a vote ....or a fawning media coverage for having done it.

The act of giving was to allow a chance to get back on one's feet, not to keep my feet on someone's back.

The twin evils of "entitlements" are found in the very word. To suggest that government is engaging in an act of "goodness" by insisting that they make recipients feel "entitled" to "charity" as long as they keep voting for "The Party", unwraps the gift before it is given. With unclean hands.

It is not charity, because it demands fealty. It is not "entitlement" because it's offered to prove false "goodness". It is not government, because it seeks to punish fiscal restraint. It is not "goodness" because it is used entirely as a class warfare weapon.

It offends morality by pretending to be moral. And that, Tom...defines the seminal difference between being a radical leftist...and the "liberalism" they hide behind.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
WOW...simple, elegant, logical & to the point...it doesn't get any better than that!! cfbleachers...you nailed this...KUDOS!!
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
You do realize CFBleachers didn't write a single word which is contradictory with anything Tom Blumer wrote, and CFBleachers wrote his post as if he was making a counterpoint.

Additionally, Mr. Blumer wrote this:

"This whole episode demonstrates how difficult if not impossible it will be to get federal spending, 70 percent of which consists of payments to individuals, under control before national insolvency “solves” the problem in a very painful way."

I conclude CFBleachers has little to no reading comprehension skills, and neither do his fanbois.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
"CFBleachers wrote his post as if he was making a counterpoint."

CFB presented the foundation for why, beyond the simple fact that we can't afford it, the welfare state's "entitlement" programs twisted what had been good (judiciously administered charity) and turned it into a dependency racket.

It would appear that you're the one who is comprehension-impaired.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not even slightly.

"However, those same tenets do NOT insist that I make a man poor to prove my "goodness"."

Where did you write anything to the contrary, to merit such correction or ostensible counterpoint?

"the welfare state's "entitlement" programs twisted what had been good"

They cannot be good, when at the federal level the constitution does not authorize them.

"It would appear that you're the one who is comprehension-impaired."

It would appear, you haven't made the case for that.

RINOs delenda est.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's amazing we have politician that have no problem bankrupting this country. and the sole reason why they want to bankrupt this country is so they can stay in office. in a sane world this would be treason.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
It should be obvious that the collective intent of the progressive political annex criminals is to so burden the system with mass dependence that it collapses and they're maintaining the need for handouts with policies that perpetuate problems like unemployment but are deliberately mislabeled as things like low income relief and health care reform to squelch opposition who would be branded as lacking compassion by those they aim to help.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
A dependent class is an obedient class at least until the money runs out or the money won't buy enough anymore.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
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