More Government Welfare Doesn’t Equal Poverty Relief

A new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture states that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, more commonly known as food stamps) helps “alleviate” poverty.

Essentially, the report says that by including the dollar amount of food stamps as part of a family’s income, fewer families are considered poor—or at least not as poor.

No surprises here. Not even the federal government can spend over $70 billion on food stamps annually and have no impact on a family’s bottom line. (Of course, federal poverty calculations don’t include the value of food stamps or most of the benefits received from federal welfare programs as part of a household’s income, so it’s little wonder that federal poverty rates have remained nearly unchanged over the last several decades despite massive increases in welfare spending. But that’s another story.)

The report also notes that “SNAP’s contribution to reducing poverty increased between 2000 and 2009, a period when the SNAP caseload nearly doubled and total SNAP benefits more than quadrupled.”



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