The 'Farm' Bill Is No Such Thing:
From its name, you'd never know that 80% of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act goes toward the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly referred to as food stamps. But it does—and, like most programs rooted in the New Deal and Great Society, this one has grown exponentially.
Thanks to misaligned incentives for the states and a consistent weakening of eligibility criteria, the cost of the food-stamps program doubled between 2001 and 2006. Then, thanks to President Obama's stimulus, it doubled again between 2008 and 2012.
Taxpayers now spend $80 billion a year on food stamps, an amount the Senate "farm bill" would essentially lock in for the next decade. The bill passed by the House Agriculture Committee is almost as bad, shaving just 2% from the stimulus-era levels.
In the 1970s, just one in 50 Americans received food benefits. Today that number is one in seven. In other words, 15% of the U.S. population is dependent on food stamps. Half of all food-stamp spending goes toward individuals who have been on the program for eight years or more. There can be no doubt that we are in the midst of a dependency crisis, and conservatives especially shouldn't settle for locking in Obama-era levels of government dependence.
We’ve all heard the old saying:
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
The new version, initiated by “compassionately conservative” Republicans during the Bush Administration and enthusiastically embraced by the Obama Administration, would be:
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Give a man food stamps and you teach him to be dependent on government for a lifetime.”