Department of Agriculture
An article from Suffolk, VA came to my attention on my Facebook page this weekend. It was about how Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) aka food stamp use has nearly doubled in that area since the beginning of the economic downtown in 2007. We also had announced last week that the US Department of Agriculture was recommending “food stamp parties” to target seniors into enrolling in the program.
“Throw a Great Party. Host social events where people mix and mingle,” the agency advises. “Make it fun by having activities, games, food, and entertainment, and provide information about SNAP. Putting SNAP information in a game format like BINGO, crossword puzzles, or even a ‘true/false’ quiz is fun and helps get your message across in a memorable way.”
This “food stamp party” idea is an addition to other advertising campaigns going on across the country to increase enrollment. The results of this advertising have been very clear:
In the 1970s, one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today one our of every seven receive the benefit. After the recession, the ratio is expected to hover around one out of every nine, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The USDA even promotes the food stamp program as economic stimulus:
In his book, Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal, Joel Salatin discusses the plight of the small farmers and all the cumbersome regulations and laws surrounding the sale of food direct to consumers. In an ironic twist, PDA officials took this book during one of the raids on Mark Nolt’s farm in Pennsylvania. The title of the book begs the question “why is a farmer writing a book titled Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal?”
Read the full story at Campaign for Liberty.
Andrew Breitbart, the conservative firebrand who passed away early last year, has won the narrative on Pigford. The conservative blogger, who founded the Breitbart blogging/new media empire, worked hard to shed light on the corruption, cronyism, and fraud that were rampant in Pigford payouts. However, his focus on the scandal was dismissed by an uninterested media.
But after years of ignored the story, it finally got some interest. Sharon LaFraniere of The New York Times recently examined the background of Pigford, which stems from a lawsuit — Pigford v. Glickman — filed by black farmers who claimed they were discriminated against when trying to secure federal loans from 1983 to 1997. The settlement in the case required that the Department of Agriculture payout $50,000 farmers affected by the discrimination. Hispanic and female farmers who also claimed discrimination tried to secure the same payouts from the government, but were initially unsuccessful.
What we now know about the story is nothing short of stunning. What was once meant to be a temporary settlement with farmers was expanded in the 2008 farm bill, funded in 2010, and is now rife with cronyism that could cost taxpayers billions.
“The compensation effort sprang from a desire to redress what the government and a federal judge agreed was a painful legacy of bias against African-Americans by the Agriculture Department,” wrote LaFraniere last week. “But an examination by The New York Times shows that it became a runaway train, driven by racial politics, pressure from influential members of Congress and law firms that stand to gain more than $130 million in fees.”