Anti-Stimulus (Food Stamps edition)

by pdxblake

Today’s [Food Stamp] cut is the product of a shabby deal Democrats made in December 2010, which accelerated the sunset of the benefit increase contained in the economic stimulus plan. Essentially, Congressional Democrats, cajoled by the Obama White House, gambled that they could restore the lost money before the cut became effective — a convenient but unrealistic bet given that Republicans were about to take control of the House.

Anti-hunger advocates expressed concern at the time about the bargain and its potential to seriously hurt food-stamp recipients not too far down the road — a worry, unfortunately, that has now become reality. (NY Times, Nov 1, 2013)

So because the Democrats thought they could somehow control the Republicans who were in charge of Congress, a bunch of people who really need food stamps will see cuts to their benefits.  Yet another reminder of why Obama needed to switch from “I will start negotiations with the policy I think can get passed by Congress and negotiate towards their side” policy to the “F*** you, now raise the debt ceiling and re-open the government” approach.

There is another side beyond just the cruelty of the cuts.  Food stamps turn out to be a highly effective form of stimulative government spending.  From CBPP:

“Economists consider SNAP one of the most effective forms of economic stimulus.  Moody’s Analytics estimates that in a weak economy, every dollar increase in SNAP benefits generates about $1.70 in economic activity.  Similarly, CBO rated an increase in SNAP benefits as one of the two most cost-effective of all spending and tax options it examined for boosting growth and jobs in a weak economy.”