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Ag Secretary: Food Stamps are ‘Stimulus’

By Doug Powers  •  August 16, 2011 04:34 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

To paraphrase Forrest Gump, sometimes there just aren’t enough adjectives.

Real Clear Politics:

Obama’s Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack: […] “I should point out, when you talk about the SNAP program or the foot stamp program, you have to recognize that it’s also an economic stimulus. Every dollar of SNAP benefits generates $1.84 in the economy in terms of economic activity. If people are able to buy a little more in the grocery store, someone has to stock it, package it, shelve it, process it, ship it. All of those are jobs. It’s the most direct stimulus you can get in the economy during these tough times.”

Jay Carney disagrees: unemployment checks are the most direct stimulus the government can provide. But Tom and Jay will have to meet halfway and agree that, under their logic, America’s economy will only be firing on all cylinders and have full employment when everybody is on food stamps and getting unemployment checks.

I can’t help but wonder though… if every dollar of food stamps puts $1.84 into the economy, instead of the $860 billion stimulus, why didn’t the administration just send every single American $2,800 worth of food stamps and thereby generate $1.58 trillion in economic activity?

How much is this administration stimulating the economy? According to the Department of Agriculture, 45,753,078 people were on food stamps as of May of this year. Of those, 31,983,716 were inherited from previous administration, which means there are roughly 13,769,362 more people on food stamps than when Bush was president, which according to Secretary Vilsack means the economy is being helped that much more.

Click one of this administration’s stimulus machines for the video:


Bonus insanity:

The New York Times reports that in order to increase jobs, your administration is considering creating a “Department of Jobs” by, among other things, merging parts of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Commerce Department, and economic divisions of the State Department.

How would a “Department of Jobs”create jobs? Probably by hiring people to work in the “Department of Jobs” (problem solved). But if the government hires people to work in the Department of Jobs, that could pull somebody off unemployment compensation and/or food stamps, which of course would be bad for the economy. It’s all caused quite a conundrum in the bustling Paradox Situation Room at the White House.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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Categories: Enviro-nitwits, fiscal stimulus, Politics