With all the problems with national funding and threats by conservatives to cut funding for the Supplementary Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP aka food stamps), the last thing you would expect is to see the government spend money to get more people on food stamps.
But that is exactly what the current administration is doing.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has spent about $2.5 million to $3 million for media advertising spots while using free public service announcements at the same time.1 These ads are being aired in Texas, Ohio, California, North Carolina, South Carolina and the metro area of New York.
Kevin Concaannon of the USDA explains the ads by pointing out that many people – particularly the working poor, legal immigrants and underserved seniors – are missing out on federal aid to help put food on their table. This essentially means that that not everyone who is eligible for food stamps is taking advantage of the program, despite 43.6 million Americans already receiving food stamp aid.
One of the ads points out two elderly women, with one of them saying that food stamps help her augment her fixed income retirement and helps her “eat right when money’s tight.”
It is easy, of course, to see vicious protests from the more conservative and libertarian-leaning parties of government. Chris Edwards of the Cato institute says that “We ought to be looking for ways to save money in the program, not to encourage more people to use it.”
What thinkers like these fail to remember (or refuse to acknowledge) is that food stamps do two things at the same time. One, they return 73 cents for every dollar spent on food and two, they help low-income families focus on furthering their careers and finding jobs instead of scrounging to feed their families.