This is pretty funny if one looks at it properly. Salon creates a strawman, calls it “the right’s food stamp embarrassment”, and then writes about a flailing leftarded icon, FDR.
Food stamps became part of American life 50 years ago this Sunday when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Food Stamp Act into law on Aug. 31, 1964. The program has been a whipping boy almost ever since, especially from conservatives who call the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, the contemporary name for food stamps) a costly and demoralizing example of government overreach.
But SNAP was not an idea first created by liberal do-gooders of the 1960s. Food stamps emerged three decades earlier with active participation of businessmen, the heroes of the exact group of people who want to see the program dissolved today.
The early Great Depression was marked by a “paradox of poverty amidst plenty.” Massive crop surpluses led to low prices for farmers. At first, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration tried paying farmers to plow under surplus crops and kill livestock. In theory, decreasing the supply would raise farm prices incentivizing farmers to get their crops to market. But the plan was met with outrage from hungry citizens who said they could have put the destroyed “surplus” food to good use.
After this failed start, Roosevelt tried another plan. Government purchased excess crops at a set price and distributed them at little or no cost to poor Americans. But this system was also met with criticism, this time from the sellers of food goods. Wholesalers and retailers were upset that government distribution bypassed “the regular commercial system,” undercutting their profits.
The Roosevelt administration started the first pilot food stamp program in 1939 to integrate businesses in getting food to the hungry. However, there were concerns about the food stamp program’s success. A newsmagazine at the time reported, “there was no difficulty in selling the idea to grocers,” but some feared that the “real beneficiaries” wouldn’t cooperate. Unlike the image conjured up today of the poor clamoring for government aid, in the time of perhaps the greatest need in the past century, businesses were more excited about the federal assistance than the hungry individuals who were to benefit.
And, then, shocks of all shocks, when businesses were to receive payments from the government for the goods they sold to people, they liked the idea!!!
Well, what businessman wouldn’t like the idea of a guaranteed check from the government for doing something they want to do anyway? In this instance, the grocers liked the idea that Uncle Sam was going to give them money for selling things people otherwise couldn’t afford to buy. Whodda thunk it?
But, I thought this was funny that they had to detail FDR’s idiocy and misanthropy in order to build the strawman.
What moron, in the depths of a depression thinks it’s a good idea to destroy crops and kill farm animals? What moron, in the depths of a depression with unemployment through the roof, thinks its a good idea for the government to set up a program which directly harms businesses which provide jobs and feeds people? The left’s uber hero, FDR,that’s who. Continuing ……
And it turns out businessmen had good reason for their glee; in the first months of the pilot program, grocery receipts were up 15 percent in the dozen “stamp towns.” Conservatives appreciated people “going through the regular channels of trade” and not relying on “government machinery” to bring food to people. The program proved to be so successful that it expanded to half of the counties in the nation by 1943. But the conditions that led to the program’s creation, high unemployment and large agricultural surpluses, disappeared in the WWII economy and the pilot program was shelved
Oh, wait!!! You mean government programs can go away? So, what happened to food stamps when we had the economic resurgence during the Reagan era? The Clinton era? And, even W’s?
Salon finishes with this ……
SNAP recipients, then, are not the program’s only beneficiaries. Businesses profit handsomely from them, too. How ironic that in today’s concentrated grocery-retail market, the chains most ideologically opposed to welfare spending benefit the most from this welfare program. Even more ironic is the fact that the idea behind SNAP originated with grocery men in the 1930s who saw a way to route welfare spending through their businesses. When will today’s conservatives claim as their own these daring and entrepreneurial businessmen who, in part, made the Food Stamp Program possible?
What grocery chain is most ideologically opposed to welfare spending? Name one! Every one of the retail chains are for welfare spending, and grocery stores are squarely for the food stamp program. And, as far as I can remember, it’s always been this way.
Salon, it isn’t daring to have a business which much of their profits are derived from guaranteed government checks being sent to them. It’s simply business.
Further, the left’s characterization of many on the right’s perspective on things such as food stamps is beyond parody.
Very few, if any actually are, advocate the abrupt shutdown of the food stamp program without something to replace it which works better. Pretending the SNAP program isn’t rife with fraud doesn’t make the problem go away. Pretending the SNAP program doesn’t disincentive success at the work place doesn’t make the problem go away.
Also, clearly, what was meant as a hand up, and not a hand out, has failed, miserably, in that regard. We now have 4 and 5 generations of families who have used food stamps. It’s become a way of life for millions of Americans.
No one wants to see the hungry starve ….. well, except FDR, he seemed rather malicious when it came to that. But, the rational people of the world wants to see the hungry fed. But, we also want them to be able to gain and grow from our largess, rather than be entrapped in a perpetual world of need. Clearly, food stamps/SNAP is wanting in this regard. To continue on, with this madness, instead of even acknowledging the problems, much less addressing them, does a horrible disservice to the poor of this nation.