Of course food stamps (and agriculture subsidies) can be reduced

The “we can never cut any government program” crowd was in full-force recently on the Albuquerque Journal’s opinion pages with the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty arguing that any cuts to food stamps would be a “profound mistake.” The arguments trotted out were very typical:

1) Welfare as economic stimulus;
2) Without food stamps, children will starve or won’t get enough food to eat and this will ruin their lives.

Of course, the implication is that food stamps are always and everywhere being used to benefit those who need them and that the doubling in food stamps since just 2008 is a direct result of the poor economy.

As Jim Scarantino reported, there has been widespread abuse of the cards given to recipients including in strip clubs. The legislation designed to curtail this situation somewhat was held up by Majority Leader Michael Sanchez. One wonders where the NM Center on Law and Poverty is on that issue.

The reality is that many of the funds allocated to food stamps do not go to poor people but the government is not eager to provide data that would allow analysts to better understand how the program is being abused and/or used to purchase junk food.

Of course, conservatives should not limit themselves to just attacking food stamps. They need to go after all of the wasteful agriculture subsidies in the farm bill (which is pretty much all $16 billion of them). After all, if you are perceived rightly or wrongly as being mean to poor people, you’ve got to take on the recipients of subsidies, most of whom are wealthy.