Food stamp enrollment down as Trump’s economy keeps improving

October 9, 2018

Food stamp enrollment down as Trump’s economy keeps improving

Former President Barack Obama has been trying his worst to convince the nation that he should enjoy credit for his Republican successor’s roaring economy. The only problem? President Donald Trump has receipts — the latest of which comes courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and says that the number of Americans using food stamps has dropped to levels not seen since November 2009.

Food stamp fallout

Even as Americans slowly returned to work under Obama, the clearest indicator that the liberal president was overseeing an anemic and frustrating economic recovery was that citizens continued using government assistance to stock their kitchen cupboards and feed their families. By encouraging people to sign up for benefits and incentivizing fraud, Obama helped ensure that in 2013, even as he touted his jobs numbers, an all-time record of 47.6 million people were using food stamps.

Now, with a Republican in the White House who believes in fiscal conservatism, Americans are finally realizing their full economic potential. The latest USDA figures show that with just under 39 million Americans taking advantage of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or the federal program that administers food stamps, enrollment has dipped to a 9-year low.

Trump’s latest economic benchmark comes after months of declining food stamp enrollment, and the last time so few Americans took advantage of this entitlement was in November 2009, when 38,184,306 participated in the program. Since Trump’s first full month in office, the president has seen 3.2 million Americans come off of what has been billed as a program designed to see families through temporary hardship.

Big Brother breadwinner

The Obama administration saw things differently. With the assistance of blue state governments, the 44th president systematically eroded SNAP work requirements and instituted “categorical eligibility,” making it so that even receiving a brochure or telephone call regarding welfare benefits qualified a family for food stamps.

Addressing a crowd at the University of Illinois last month, Obama seemed to forget about the welfare state which he created. Instead, he took credit for the economic growth that differs so radically from the frustrating recovery he engineered for eight years via socialist reform:

When you hear how great the economy is doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started. I’m glad it’s continued but when you hear about this economic miracle that’s been going on, when the job numbers come out, monthly job numbers, suddenly Republicans are saying “It’s a miracle.” I have to remind them — actually, those job numbers are the same as they were in 2015 and 2016.

Despite the rhetoric, adjectives like “flat,” “sputtering,” “limp,” “suffocating,” and “rotten” were used to describe the “economic holding pattern” instigated by Obamanomics. In 2015, for instance, the federal Office of Management and Budget reported that for the first time in U.S. history, the government spent more on welfare than on national defense.

If the recovery started under Obama, then why weren’t American workers coming off of food stamps and other welfare programs? Under his Democratic leadership, states would compete among themselves to see which could sign up the most food stamp recipients and win millions of dollars in federal bonuses.

With Obama’s jobs recovery in full swing in 2013, more than 15 percent of the U.S. population received some form of food assistance, costing the federal government $76 billion on SNAP alone. At the same time, a scathing report from the USDA inspector general found that fraud, waste, and abuse among welfare recipients was out of control, with government funds being used as a means to purchase or trade for drugs and other illicit goods on the black market.

Thanks to the genuine economic recovery precipitated by Trump’s sound fiscal strategy, the federal government is now spending just $54 billion a year to pay for SNAP, and those figures continue to steadily decline. To deal with the rampant fraud, the administration hired an “integrity officer” whose sole mission is to prevent fraud within the government food stamp program.

Trump announced the “Harvest Box” program in February, providing families with a box of healthy food as part of their benefits package, rather than giving away the plastic Electronic Benefits Transfer cards that can be easily abused or transferred to undeserving third parties. Two months later, the administration rolled out an executive order which directed the USDA to draft updated SNAP requirements and potential workforce developments plans.

Abracadabra!

Democrats who are crying foul and suggesting that SNAP beneficiaries have been forced off of their entitlements are mistaken. Republicans have so far been unsuccessful at mandating that food stamp recipients work a certain number of hours per week, volunteer or participate in job training to receive assistance.

While several states have implemented work requirements which have successfully grown local labor forces, a federal Farm Bill promoting a similar program was passed along strictly partisan lines in the House, only to die on the Senate floor.

In other words, the dwindling use of food stamps has not been artificially precipitated and is the result of pure, unadulterated Trumponomics. This is the type of policy that nets the lowest unemployment rate since 1969, and encourages GDP growth that Obama never experienced in eight years at the helm.

The economic good news, rarely featured in mainstream media broadcasts and articles, continues to exceed the expectations of even the most optimistic economists. Trump increased average hourly earnings by 2.9 percent in September, the highest monthly rate since early 2009. Consumer spending, the stock market, and job gains continue their exponential increases.

And Trump didn’t even need a “magic wand” to do it.


Benjamin Baird

Benjamin Baird is a senior staff writer for the Conservative Institute. He is a veteran infantryman of Iraq and Afghanistan with over 1000 days in combat and holds a degree in Middle Eastern studies from the American Military University. Ben is a regular contributor at the Middle East Forum and has written for dozens of conservative publications, including The Daily Caller, American Spectator, American Thinker, New English Review and Yahoo News.