I recently dove into the hunger controversy (more on that here). There was a lot of back and forth about the relative seriousness of the hunger situation and whether government programs meant to address the problem are effective.
One research item from the Cato Institute argues that the SNAP (food stamp) expansion seen in recent years has done little to reduce hunger.
According to the report:
Even setting aside the growing cost and doubtful effectiveness, SNAP is an inefficient, fraud-ridden, and deeply troubled program.
For example, SNAP’s administrative costs are considerably higher than those of most other social welfare programs. In 2013, the program’s total administrative expenses at both the federal and state level are expected to top $7 billion, more than 9 percent of program costs. The federal share of administrative expenses alone is more than $4.5 billion, and that is expected to increase to almost $6 billion by 2023.
So, perhaps hunger is a serious problem in our state, but SNAP doesn’t seem to be a very efficient way to mitigate the problem. I remain convinced of the merits of the old “you give a man a fish…vs. teaching a man to fish.” We need to boost New Mexico’s economy and alleviate poverty, thus reducing hunger.
After all, government programs are not a long-term solution to poverty as they can only cure the immediate lack of food, but not the long-term issues.