America’s food-stamp mentality |
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America’s food-stamp mentality

As a woman and advocate for limited government, I find it is pretty natural for me to try and break down complex public policy matters to how they impact the kitchen table.

So let me give you this one:

You know how your family food budget has gotten tighter and tighter — the harder you work, it feels like you’re stretching every dollar just to feed your family.

Well, there’s a reason for that. You’re not just feeding your family anymore. Nope. You’re feeding someone else’s family as well.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released statistics showing the number of Americans receiving some sort of subsidized food assistance from the federal government has risen to 101 million, or roughly a third of the U.S. population.

This means that the number of Americans receiving food assistance has surpassed the number of full-time private-sector workers in our country.

I care about the poor and sick and needy. But there are entirely too many people receiving public assistance, including food stamps, who simply do not need it.

There. I said it.

I have a family to feed, too, and the fact is my husband and I work a lot — like so many other husband and wives — and it gets harder and harder for us to feed our family and have the kind of life we want because there are too many people in the wagon and not enough people pulling it.

When FDR started the food-stamp program, people could use the stamps to get the basics — bread, rice, milk. Now, it’s a debit card, administered by big Wall Street firms making major dollars off the program.

I believe Arthur Brooks said it best: “While food stamps are … an important part of the American safety net, the program is no longer fulfilling its intended purpose. Over the decades, the restrictions on food-stamp purchases have been lightened dramatically. … While we need to protect those falling on hard times, we also must take care to avoid teaching dependence and encouraging behavior that reduces one’s ability to delay gratification and earn success.”

There is also a broader concern we must take into account : What happens when the government grows so big we can no longer sustain it?! Isn’t this the tricky question that must be a part of every spending conversation? What happens when more people are on Social Security than working to pay into the system? What happens if we expand an already broken and bloated Medicaid system? How much debt do we want to leave our children and grandchildren?

Too many working families — working multiple jobs — are struggling to pay the bills and feeling like they are working to support other people’s lives.

This is the legacy President Obama and the big spenders in D.C. have given us. If you haven’t spoken up, you better.

Jennifer Stefano is with Americans for Prosperity — Pennsylvania (

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