One of the sad side effects of the recent record in food stamp participation is that apparently the 44.2 million Americans who now subsist below the poverty line and rely on the government for basic food needs, have become quite a drag on otherwise insolvent state and local governments. And with monthly increases projected to keep rising in line with the Russell 2000 as the Wealth Effect is constrained to Wall Street, and no end in sight to the Poverty Effect, states are getting nervous. Never fear: the US taxpayer is here. In a press release, the USDA has just announced that it "will award grants to improve access to and increase participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The grants are for state and local governments and private non-profit organizations to develop projects that simplify SNAP application and eligibility systems and find efficiencies in the administration of the program with the goal of providing critical nutrition assistance to those in need." Translation: the Fed is about to add the bailout if the Food Stamp program to the infinite list of subsidies that rely exclusively on the generosity of Vassarionovich-Packard.
And the funniest thing about the release, if one can call the progressive conversion of America to an improverished country funny, is the math provided by the USDA to justify the expansion of SNAP.
SNAP benefits, which are provided to recipients electronically, also provide an economic stimulus that strengthens communities. Research shows that every $5 in new SNAP benefits generates as much as $9.00 in economic activity. SNAP benefits move quickly into local economies, with 97 percent of SNAP benefits redeemed within a month. It is estimated that at least 8,900 full-time equivalent jobs are created from $1 billion of SNAP benefits.
So according to this Keynesian version of a perpetual engine, if only all of America's 330 million were to start collecting foodstamps, the benefit to the economy would essentially be 80%. As for the efficiency of the SNAP program, dividing $1 billion by 8,900 jobs, means that each job ends up costing a modest $112,360. That's government efficiency for you.
And the platitudes from the release continue:
These grants are part of a larger effort to end domestic hunger and improve the nutrition of all Americans in need," said Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. "The funding leverages our state and local partnerships to better reach individuals at risk of hunger and to increase SNAP participation among eligible households."
In 2009, more than 50 million individuals in the United States lived in food insecure households--over 17 million of them children. These households had difficulty providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources at some time during the year. SNAP provides crucial support to low income households by enhancing food purchasing power. Increasing access to this important nutrition program will help struggling individuals and families purchase more healthy food.
In other words, just like the Libyan invasion, this is a humanitarian intervention. Perhaps the government can just start shooting silver-tipped rockets at its population thereby creating an infinite economic growth curve once everyone is homeless, jobless and hungry. We can only hope that just like in Libya, Obama will use silver-tipped rockets which can subsequently be recycled into currency, which will immediately result in several million charges of domestic terrorism.... Assuming of course there is enough physical for that modest "wealth effect" detour.