Is the federal food stamp program a help-out, a hand-out or a hold-up?

Source: Hot Air

The second the Speaker of the House kabuki theater is over, I want whoever the new chair of the Ag committee is to crawl down the USDA’s throat. And stay there for a while. I understand food stamps/SNAP were meant to help –help not lifetime support – the less fortunate through hard times and keep food on the table. But it has turned into yet another Biden administration constituency hand-out, where taxpayers are being held up by the accomplished money launderers operating in the various departments.

One peril of a large administrative state is the mischief agencies can get up to when no one is watching. Witness the overreach of the Agriculture Department, which expanded food-stamp benefits by evading the process for determining benefits and end-running Congressional review.

Ho, boy, did they ever pull the razzle-dazzle, all without the required Congressional oversight. And the Government Accountability Office caught them.

…The sneak started in 2021 when USDA rejiggered the Thrifty Food Plan, a metric the government uses to determine foods that make up a healthy nutritional basket. Agriculture uses that information, as well as food prices and inflation, to set benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (known as SNAP, or food stamps).

…The [15%] pandemic increase was set to expire in September 2021, so the USDA hurried to push through its 2021 increase on an abbreviated time frame, increasing SNAP benefits by an average of 21%. The result skipped over procedural safeguards, evaded Congressional review and produced its increases without a project plan or program manager. According to a review by Angela Rachidi at the American Enterprise Institute, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the 2021 increase in the Thrifty Food Plan added $200 billion to the budget baseline over 10 years.

In a nutshell, what the GAO found was that the USDA took their TFP pandemic emergency 15% hike, rushed through another increase before that expiration could foul things up, which jacked up SNAP benefits by an average of 21%. The GAO called Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s department out for 3 specific breaches when they did so, and then noted that the USDA did basically an in-house review and sign-off of their own $200B sleight of hand.

…Specifically, USDA substituted a limited internal review of the TFP report for the formal peer review it had initially planned. This review was conducted by USDA officials who had been involved in the TFP reevaluation, and therefore were not independent.

Looks good to me! Look good to you?

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What does that mean, exactly – that it’s adding $200B over 10 years to the bottom line? How could it be so much?

Welp. Part of that is because we now have over FORTYONEMILLION people using food stamps and you read that figure correctly. Almost 12% of the country is on food stamps. I have the figures – along with how costs have exploded in all of four years – right here in this gruesome chart (and keep in mind this doesn’t include the $200B).


Highway robbery without the highway and zero accountability for any of it.

…Abuse of process doesn’t get much clearer than that. The GAO review won’t unwind the increase, which requires action by the USDA. But the GAO report should resonate with taxpayers who don’t like to see the politicization of a process meant to provide nutrition to those in need, not act as a vehicle for partisan agency staffers to impose their agenda without Congressional approval.

All of this undermines transparency and accountability for a program that provided food stamps to some 41 million people in 2021. The Biden Administration is using the cover of the pandemic to expand the entitlement state beyond what Congress authorized. House Republicans can draw attention to this lawlessness and use their power of the purse to stop it to the extent possible with a Democratic Senate.

I hate to be a cynic, but it does make one stroke a chin about able-bodied people sitting comfortably at home while jobs go unfilled. What is it going to take to flush them out?

What is going to be the Republican intestinal fortitude for doing so? Nobody wants to be the bad guys who pull back bucks that are already being spent, however illegal their origin. I don’t know if they’ve got the…intestinal fortitude. I’ll stick to that. At the very least they can pull Vilsack in and rag him unmercifully while clacking the purse shut as best they can. Not impossible, but the degree of difficulty with Schumer still running the senate hampers any meaningful action.

“Meaningful action.” I actually just typed that.

‘Tis to laugh.

But at least now you know about it.