Cory Booker's Food Stamp Falsehoods

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who once appeared to be a different kind of leftist politician, is instead demonstrating that there really is no such thing as a different kind of leftist politician -- at least when ambition takes over.

That's too bad. In May, his fellow Democrats, especially including President Barack Obama, made the savaging of GOP challenger Mitt Romney's successful career heading up private equity firm Bain Capital a centerpiece of their campaign strategy. At first, Booker pointedly rejected the critique, observing: "I live in a state where pension funds, unions, and other people invest in companies like Bain Capital ... they’ve done a lot to support businesses [and] to grow businesses."

But in the first sign that his aspirations reach far beyond New Jersey's largest city and that he won't let little things like his own personal convictions and proven facts intervene, Booker backed away from his remarks in the face of withering criticism, saying that it was "reasonable" for the Obama campaign to go after Romney's business record. In practical terms, this meant that Cory was copasetic with Obama, his surrogates, and fellow party members lying shamelessly about that record to win an election.

Booker's latest stunt, one which has enabled him to gain nearly instant national prominence, is his participation in the bogus "Food Stamp Challenge."

To be clear, such challenges, if properly designed, could be worthwhile exercises, potentially serving as vehicles for helping financially strapped Americans make wiser, more nutritious, and thriftier food choices. Unfortunately, that's not at all what the Food Stamp Challenge is about. Instead, the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) promotes it to "help raise awareness of hunger in your community and the need to keep SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the government's official name for food stamps) strong." That translates in real life to "doing everything we can to keep food stamp benefits on their current expansionary, budget-busting path." Proof that my assessment is correct is found in FRAC's most recent research paper, which sets out to convince America, the worldwide leader in obesity, that the USDA's "Thrifty Food Plan" framework for determining benefits, which has been in place for decades, is woefully inadequate and that the government should therefore increase monthly food stamp benefits for a family of four by over 30%, or almost $200.

FRAC's Food Stamp Challenge is supposed to prove "how difficult it is living on the average daily food stamp benefit" of "about $4 per person per day." Booker used just under $30 as his full-week financial constraint, and predictably concluded his endeavor by calling for a "just and sustainable food system."

The Stanford- and Yale-educated Booker should know that the most just and sustainable food system ever devised goes by the name of "Walmart."

By totally revamping how groceries are distributed, sold, and tracked, forcing its competitors to imitate them or die, and constantly pushing the low-price envelope, the company has saved and continues to save American families untold billions of after-tax dollars. Except in places like Newark, where self-appointed social activists are determined to prevent its appearance.