Love this economist’s numbers and pictures. See the one of the Dole Plantation in Hawaii (aka, the western White House).
Government fiefdoms must be expanded and protected. Even if what they're 'accomplishing' isn't worth doing ...or causes harm.
The video that is crying out to be made is “I don’t want a cheaper loan for my student debt. (another person) I don’t want another goevernment mortage deal. (another person) I don’t want food stamps. (another)I don’t want my parents medical insurance or their basement. Finally all of them - “I want a job.”
Food stamps are an irritating subject for me, because it is both very different than other forms of welfare, is much better than other forms of welfare, is not understood at all by the public, and finally could be reformed to be extremely good for everyone, including taxpayers.
Here are some little known facts on the subject:
1) America has, since the start of the 20th Century, produced *way* too much food. An overabundance of food can be even more economically destructive than a shortage of food. Even at the height of the Dust Bowl, when tens of thousands of farms were wiped out from Texas to Canada, food production was so high, during a deflation, that farmers were burning corn for fuel. *While* people elsewhere were starving.
2) Because of this, FDR basically nationalized American agriculture (using the National Socialist model), and it has remained nationalized ever since, the government pouring vast amounts of tax money at all levels of production, and buying up and warehousing surplus food, in very expensive warehouses, until it rots. It pays farmers to *not* grow food on their land. And today it wastes a huge amount of food producing ethanol.
3) Food stamp costs are deceptive, because it is a lot cheaper to give away food than to warehouse it. Reagan actually saved tens of millions of dollars by giving away vast amounts of government cheese.
4) Much of the management of the food stamp program needs to be turned over to the states, for some very commonsense reasons. The most important of these is that food stamps should only be used to purchase unprocessed (U) or just partially processed (PP) foods. People who buy their own food tend to buy processed foods (P), with only a fraction buying unprocessed or partially processed foods.
This means that vast amounts of U and PP foods could be given away *without* affecting the cost of P foods. And it would also significantly reduce waste of U and PP food past its freshness date.
5) Warehouse turnover needs to be changed so that food is given away before it rots. States could adjust accordingly based on the kinds of food they produce, so that when there is a surplus of a crop, it could be given as a free supplement to food stamps. For example, when they bought their groceries with food stamps, they could get 5 heads of lettuce thrown in for free. This would help both farmers and retailers to get rid of surplus that they have to sell deeply discounted and takes up valuable shelf space.
6) A major change to food stamps would actually discourage those who abuse the system. Lots of food, but you have to work to prepare it. That is, except for baby foods, you have to chop it up and cook it. No problem for those who truly need food, but it discourages the lazy parasite who want it both for free and prepared for them.
7) Finally, cutting off food to those who need it, unlike cutting off other welfare, is not a good motivator. When someone is hungry, their motivation is to get food to eat, not to get work so they can buy food in two weeks or a month. As in nature, where the pursuit of food is constant, people who are hungry do not try to improve themselves, because they are too busy getting their next meal, by hook or by crook.