Demos: Food stamps key to economy
by A. Long Rowe
LAS VEGAS, Nev., Oct. 7, 2010. — Democrats meeting at the Palazzo casino resort today fired back at Republicans who are critical of the growing number of people who rely on food stamps.
"Food stamps are the best bang for the buck that we have," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a luncheon attended by more than 100 Democrats who are running for Congress. "For every dollar that we spend on food stamps, $1.79 is put back into the economy. Food stamps are the best stimulus program we have."
Georgia Senatorial candidate Pace Carr, a former NASCAR driver, said food stamps are so effective in driving the economy that he is proposing a measure that would require all residents of the U.S. to buy groceries and meals with food stamps.
"The more we spend in food stamps, the better off we'll be," Carr said. "I strongly support President Obama's and Nancy Pelosi's goal to put everybody on food stamps. The only exception will be for coin-operated food dispensers, but those will be phased out by 2013."
Nationally syndicated economist Erin Dailey, a liberal New Hampshire congresswoman whose financial predictions appear in 138 newspapers every day, agreed to explain in ordinary English how food stamps help the economy.
"It costs the government only 21 cents to print a dollar's worth of food stamps," she said. "So if you subtract the actual cost of the stamps from their value, you end up with 79 cents. Now, for each dollar's worth of food stamps, we collect $1 from the Internal Revenue Service. You add the $1 to the 79 cents and you come up with $1.79. I might be off a little bit off because economists at the Department of Agriculture estimate that the financial stimulus of $1 in food stamps actually amounts to $1.84."
Optometrist Redd I. Ball, a Texas Democrat who is runnng for Congress, said he is so mad at Republicans who don't like food stamps that he can't see straight.
"Don't the Republicans get it?" he asked. "The more we spend on food stamps the better off we'll be. And they want to reduce the number of people on food stamps? Can't they see what's going on?"
Vermont congressional candidate Polly Ester, dressed in an artificial fiber pant suit, said some Americans are under the misconception that they have to pay for the food stamps that are used by the others.
"Nobody pays for food stamps but the financially fortunate, which we define as those who are lucky enough to get a regular paycheck," the self-labeled progressive said. "After all, the only people who pay income tax are the financially fortunate. As Obamanomics takes hold, we hope to level the playing field and reduce the number of people who receive surplus income."
Carr's bill would require financially fortunate citizens to pay a progressive rate for their food stamps.
"Americans who earn $10,000 a year or less would be pay no more than face value for food stamps," he said. "But citizens who earn more would pay a prorated amount, $1.50 per $1 for those who earn $15,000 a year, $2 per $1 for those who earn $20,000 a year, and so forth."
Carr said his program's chief benefit is that the extremely wealthy would pay their "fair share for food."
"Somebody who makes $500,000 a year would pay $500 for each $1 in food stamps," he said. "Right now the wealthy spend only $1 for each $1 in food, which is a totally unfair and untenable situation.
"The current system allows the wealthy to eat a disproportionate share of the most healthful and tasty foods, such as lobster and organic vegetables. Under my system the wealthy won't be able to afford as much of the best foods, which will reduce the demand and, therefore, reduce the price for the rest of us.
"Won't that be nice seeing millionaires lined up for artery-clogging value meals at McDonald's?"
Republican Newt Gingrich, formerly the Speaker of the House, and a possible candidate to replace President Barack Obama, disputed the Democrats' mathematics in calculating the economic impact of food stamps.
"Americans want paychecks, not food stamps," he said. "And they see the Democrats as the party of food stamps and the Republicans as the party of paychecks."
Assistant White House Press Secretary B.A. Lohney said Gingrich is sadly mistaken.
"Most Americans would rather receive government subsidies than have to go to work every day," he said. "We are seeing a higher percentage of people every month switch from a regular paycheck to governmental programs.
"Some of the newer members of the Democrat Party report that they were losing as much as 40 percent of their monthly paychecks to deductions for state and local taxes, health insurance and retirement programs.
"Under our program, they don't have to work and they can keep 100 percent of what President Obama supplies to them in terms of welfare, earned income credits, rent subsidies and the like. We believe that if more people were using food stamps, the costs would go down due to volume, and these new voters are likely to retain Democrats in office."
Florist Mary Gold, who won the Democrat senatorial primary in Tennessee, said food stamps are more important then ever because Republicans are threatening to take control of Congress and postpone the automatic tax increases that are due to take effect in January as the so-called Bush tax cuts run out.
"The main reason I'm running for the Senate is that the economy has just about ruined my business," she said. "Hardly anybody buys flowers anymore. It used to be that all kinds of wealthy people would come in and order flowers for weddings and funerals and such. But the Bush tax cuts have had a disastrous effect on the economy, and now the rich are just hanging onto their money. I've had to let most of my employees go. It's high time we raised tax rates on the rich and made them buy food stamps. They need to be forced to contribute to the economy."
Dr. Macon Paine of Michigan, who hopes to join other medical doctors in the House of Representatives after the November election, said food stamps would benefit many of his patients.
"A lot of my less fortunate patients are extremely obese," he said. "They can't afford good food, so they just buy the cheapest stuff they can find, which is full of calories, like cookies, chips, hamburger and so forth. If they had as many food stamps as they needed, they could afford tofu, soy milk, whole wheat bread, fish oil and broccoli."
Jesús Están Camino, an Arizona Democrat who is running for the House of Representatives, promised to ensure that any new food stamp bill includes complimentary food stamps for undocumented workers.
"If immigrants can't buy food with dollars or pesos, undocumented workers would starve without food stamps," he said. "Therefore, it is vital that food stamp legislation include gratis food stamps for immigrants. Persons who can prove they are in violation of U.S. immigration law should be rewarded with adequate food stamps to sustain life."
First Lady Michelle Obama said her proposed food regulations, which outlaw sugary drinks in schools, should be expanded to cover all food stamp recipients.
"My vision of ObamaFare is that no unhealthy foods can be purchased with food stamps," she said. "If everybody living in the United States could not buy food without food stamps, it would be a very simple matter to regulate the types of foods allowed in the country and not just in schools. Soda pop, candy, ice cream, fried fast food and all sorts of other health-threatening foods could be totally eliminated, just as we have eliminated smallpox."
Quote of the Day
"Your food stamp allocation will be terminated in six months because we have received notice that you have succumbed to terminal cancer. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances." — New York Department of Welfare Services.