Food Stamp Nation
lessons of history … show conclusively that continued
dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral
disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national
fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a
of the human spirit."
These searing words about
Depression-era welfare are from Franklin Roosevelt`s
State of the Union Address. FDR feared this
self-reliant people might come to depend permanently
upon government for the necessities of their daily
narcotics, such a dependency would destroy the fiber
and spirit of the nation.
What brings his words to mind is
news that 41.8 million Americans are on food stamps, and
the White House estimates 43 million will soon be
getting food stamps every month.
A seventh of the nation cannot even
If you would chart America`s
decline, this program is a good place to begin. As a
harbinger of the Great Society to come, in early 1964, a
Food Stamp Act was signed into law by
LBJ appropriating $75 million for 350,000
individuals in 40 counties and three U.S. cities.
The Food Stamp Act became law half
a decade after J.K. Galbraith in his best-seller had
declared 1950s America to be the world`s great
Yet, when Richard Nixon took
office, 3 million Americans were receiving food stamps
at a cost of $270 million. Then
CBS ran a program featuring a premature baby near death,
and told us it was an infant starving to death in rich
America. The nation demanded action, and Nixon acted.
By the time he left office in 1974,
the food stamp program was feeding 16 million Americans
at an annual cost of $4 billion.
Fast forward to 2009. The cost to
taxpayers of the U.S. food stamp program hit $56
billion. The number of recipients and cost of the
program exploded again last year.
Among the reasons is family
disintegration. Forty percent of all children in America
are now born out of wedlock. Among
Hispanics, it is 51 percent. Among
African-Americans, it is 71 percent.
Food stamps are feeding children
abandoned by their own fathers. Taxpayers are taking up
the slack for America`s deadbeat dads.
Have food stamps made America a
Consider New York City, where 1.7
million people, one in every five in the city, relies on
food stamps for daily sustenance.
Obesity rates have soared. Forty
percent of all the kids in city public schools from
kindergarten through eighth grade are overweight or
Among poor kids, whose families
depend on food stamps, the percentages are far higher.
Mothers of poor kids use food stamps to buy them
sugar-heavy soda pop, candy and junk food.
Yet Mayor Michael Bloomberg`s
proposal to the Department of Agriculture that
recipients not be allowed to use food stamps to buy
sugar-rich soft drinks has
run into resistance.
"The world might
be better … if people limited their purchases of
sugared beverages," said George Hacker of the
Center for Science in
the Public Interest.
are a great many
ethical reasons to consider why one would not stigmatize people on food stamps."
The Department of Agriculture in
2004 denied a request by Minnesota that would have
disallowed food stamp recipients from using them for
junk food. To grant the request, said the department,
myth" that food stamps users make poor shopping
But is that a myth or an
What a changed country we have
become in our expectations of ourselves. A less affluent
America survived a Depression and world war without
anything like the 99 weeks of unemployment insurance,
welfare payments, earned income tax credits, food
stamps, rent supplements, day care, school lunches and
Medicaid we have today.
Public or private charity were
thought necessary, but were almost always to be
temporary until a breadwinner could find work or a
family could get back on its feet. The expectation was
that almost everyone, with hard work and by keeping the
nose to the grindstone, could make his or her own way in
this free society. No more.
What we have accepted today is a
vast permanent underclass of scores of millions who
cannot cope and must be carried by the rest of society
— fed, clothed, housed, tutored, medicated at
taxpayer`s expense for their entire lives. We have a new
division in America: those who pay a double fare, and
those who forever ride free.
We Americans are not only not the
people our parents were, we are not the people we were.
FDR was right about what would happen to the country if
we did not get off the narcotic of welfare.
America has regrettably already undergone
and moral disintegration, fundamentally destructive to
the national fiber."
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Patrick J. Buchanan
no introduction to
VDARE.COM readers; his book State
of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and
Conquest of America, can
be ordered from Amazon.com. His latest book
Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How
Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost
Paul Craig Roberts.