As one of our millions of FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to contact your representative and urge him or her to vote NO on H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act. Although this bill is popularly known as the “Farm Bill”, eighty percent of the bill’s spending goes to food stamps, and much of the rest goes to subsidize large farm corporations at the expense of small family farms.
The first and most obvious reason to oppose this bill is that it spends close to a trillion dollars over ten years. Although the Congressional Budget Office has scored this House version of the bill at $939 billion, past farm bills have always greatly exceeded their cost analysis, and this one will certainly do so.
The “Farm Bill” is a misnomer for a bill which is 80 percent food stamps. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP, the government name for food stamps) has increased its enrollment over 70 percent just since 2008, and now accounts for over $800 billion in spending over ten years. Riddled with inefficiencies and fraud, the SNAP program desperately needs structural reform. Instead, it is tucked away in the farm bill, as an $800 billion earmark used to get urban Democrats to vote for the agricultural subsidies in the rest of the bill.
Finally on top of all the corporate welfare in the farm bill already, Republicans in the House have piled on a brand new entitlement program, shallow loss crop insurance. This new program would give farmers, who already receive massive subsidies on insurance coverage for catastrophic crop loss, more subsidies to protect against just making less revenue than the previous several years’ average. This essentially locks farmers into the current record-high revenues for years, even after crops inevitably fall back to average price levels.
I urge you to call your representative and ask him or her to vote NO on the farm bill, H.R. 1947. We will count their vote as a KEY VOTE when calculating the FreedomWorks Economic Freedom Scorecard for 2013. The Scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes Members of Congress with voting records that support economic freedom.
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At a congressional hearing in March, Senator Ron Wyden asked the question that a leaked FISC order answered weeks ago. “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”
“No sir,” replied James Clapper, the NSA’s Director of National Intelligence. “Not wittingly.”
This was, needless to say, a lie; the NSA is trampling upon the Fourth Amendment on an appalling scale, collecting all of Verizon’s phone records on “an ongoing, daily basis.”
For the past few weeks, our public servants have tried to assure us that all is well. It would be comforting to believe these reassurances; nobody wants to think that our government has become intrinsically malevolent. The NSA’s deception, however, leaves us with little reason to trust them. It seems probable that Edward Snowden’s revelation is only the tip of the iceberg.
Even from the programs we know about, it’s apparent that the Obama Administration is ushering in an era of cradle-to-grave surveillance. Absent a severe course-correction, a child born today will be tracked for his entire life in a litany of ways.
The Common Core initiative, for instance, will mine data from public schools, indexing students' income, religious affiliation, and blood type. The Orwellian program will track students’ homework completion, “appreciation for diversity” and “cultural awareness and competence.”
Moreover - thanks to a recent Supreme Court ruling - police may take DNA samples from people who they arrest for any reason. Americans who have never even received a speeding ticket may now have their genetic material permanently stored in a state database.
Perhaps the most ominous of these new programs is the Obama Administration’s Federal Data Services Hub. In the near future, this database will collect reports about Americans from government-approved health insurance providers. The IRS will monitor these reports and cross-check them against tax returns. Given recent events, I can hardly be blamed for speculating that the IRS might use this new power to persecute its political enemies.
President Obama says (correctly) that “you can't have 100% security and also then have 100% privacy” – and its clear which option he’s chosen for us. His policies are propelling us towards a dystopian future in which government intrusion has left the reasoned constraints of a republic far behind.
Pixar’s WALL-E presented a dystopian vision of humanity’s future as a result of our culture of disposable products. WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) was the robot responsible for cleaning up an abandon earth trashed by consumerism and corporatism. This is an extreme vision of how many view electronic waste, known as E-waste, overrunning the United States if the government doesn’t step in to tackle our waste problem. In reality, government creates more problems than it solves by placing burdens upon manufacturers for consumer behaviors and forcing recycling over better and more responsible market choices.
With the American ‘Newer is Better’ approach to electronics, the rates of disposing of old electronic goods have skyrocketed. According to a report by ABI Research, the e-waste market is expected to reach nearly $15 billion by 2015, up from $5.7 billion in 2009. Fortunately, a market has emerged to deal with the problems of E-Waste, refuting three major myths of government involvement in addressing E-waste.
Myth 1: Companies would rather dump waste in landfills than address E-Waste responsibly
The assumption of many government bureaucrats is that landfills are terrible. While Landfills may not be ideal environmentally, they are often the best option for companies. E-Waste can cost hundreds of dollars as compared to dumping in landfills. Yet, as recycling is becoming cheaper and the resources more valuable, landfills will gradually be used less.
In fact, the worst solution landfills may be recycling mandates for many electronics. Current E-waste regulation has actually increased the amount of electronics in landfills. When California required companies to recycle E-waste, certain items were incredibly difficult and expensive to recycle. This led to people trashing thousands of computer monitors for “recycling,” which often ended up in landfills.
Myth 2: The Free Market will not address E-Waste Recycling
Not only will the free market handle E-Waste best, it already has begun discovering timely solutions. Manufacturers are recycling End-of-Life (EoL) products more efficiently and cost effectively than government. Dell, EBay, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard and IBM all have initiatives to reuse or recycle e-waste. Companies selling electronic products such as Verizon, Sprint, Staples and BestBuy have expanded electronic take-back initiatives for customers. While these companies may often lose money recycling, companies benefit through customers coming to their stores and improving their image as environmental friendly.
Myth 3: Exportation of E-Waste to Developing Countries is harmful
While some E-waste is exported to countries for recycling, the majority of E-waste in many countries is sold for reuse. A 2010 report showed that at least 87 percent of imported end-of-life computers went to reuse as opposed to recycling in Peru. Much of the developing world including Africa, South America and Asia has lucrative markets in used electronics.
Yet, not all exported E-waste is resold for reuse. Much of the E-Waste is recycled in the slums of poor developing countries. The conditions are often dirty, dangerous and polluted but New York Times reporter Nicholas D. Kristof explains that recycling e-waste under “sweatshop conditions” is a luxury compared to the alternatives jobs or poverty saying “Talk to these families in the dump, and a job in a sweatshop is a cherished dream, an escalator out of poverty.”
Market solutions are rising up to address the E-waste problems just as markets have done throughout history. The market has provided number of solutions to address the growing ‘problem’ of E-waste by taking one man’s trash and turning it into another man’s treasure.
Listen up, employers. While much media attention has been given to ObamaCare’s highly unpopular Individual Mandate, little scrutiny has been given to the “other mandate,” the one on you. Both mandates will be enforced by the IRS. Of the two, the Employer Mandate is arguably the more draconian, getting IRS even more involved in the workplace.
Here’s how it will work -- and what could happen to you, if you don’t fall in line and salute.
The Employer Mandate requires “large” businesses to provide health care to their employees, starting January 1, 2014. If employers fail to comply, they will face punishing regulations, information reporting, and hefty tax fines courtesy of the IRS.
What’s a “large” business? An employer with over 50 full-time equivalent employees (counting those working 30 or more hours plus part-time workers counted at a lesser value). All such firms must provide health insurance benefits to their workers. This insurance must be “affordable” for each employee, less than 9.5 percent of the employee’s W-2 income. It must also be “adequate,” meaning the plan covers, on average, 60 percent of healthcare expenses. However, employees can only receive federal premium subsidies in an exchange, if they are not offered affordable, adequate health care by their employer and meet specific income requirements. If one or more employees in a firm are subsidized through the exchange, the firm is liable to be hit with penalty fines for failure to provide affordable, adequate coverage.
The penalty fines will be levied by the IRS in the form of taxes. Here’s how they’ll work. If an employer of 50 or more employees does not offer health insurance and has at least one full-time employee subsidized through a health care exchange, he or she must pay $2,000 per full-time employee after the first 30. For example, if you have 50 employees, one who is subsidized in the exchange, and you do not offer health insurance, you must pay a whopping $40,000 per year. If you do offer insurance, but it is not “affordable” and “adequate,” you must pay the lesser of $3,000 per subsidized employee or $2,000 per non-subsidized employee (minus the first 30).
The National Federation of Independent Business shows the tax liability of nine hypothetical companies:
On top increasing administrative costs, companies are punished for trying to employ more people and encouraged to shift individuals from full-time to part-time status. Compare situation 9 ($44,000 in taxation) to situation 6 ($2,000 in taxation). Companies can substantially reduce their tax penalty exposure by replacing full-time with part-time employees.
How will IRS enforce the new penalties? Primarily through summons letters and tax liens. A summons letter demands more information; it can be quite threatening in tone. If you receive a summons letter, call your lawyer. A tax lien means the IRS is simply taking what it thinks you owe, from your bank accounts or other assets. A notice of federal tax lien can badly damage your creditworthiness. Lien filings are picked up by the three credit rating agencies and remain on your credit report for seven years from the date a tax liability is resolved, or longer if it is not resolved. A tax lien can be particularly devastating to a small businessman, as it often cuts off his access to credit. Given the health care law’s mindboggling complexity, we can be sure that many an innocent businessman will receive harassing summons letters and unjustified ObamaCare lien notices from their local IRS office.
In its 2010 annual report to Congress, the U.S. Government’s Taxpayer Advocate reported that the IRS has been using tax liens more and more frequently in recent years, and more aggressively, with little compassion for struggling employers. “IRS lien filing policies,” the report says, “are all about ‘protecting the government’s interest’ and don’t consider the impact on the taxpayer.”
The trouble doesn’t end there. In addition to being charged with collecting complicated mandate penalties, the IRS is also going to require even more information from employers, including details about the insurance they purchase for their employees, the size of their workforce, and the number of hours worked by their staff. All of this information will be funneled into a truly massive data collection scheme known as the “ObamaCare Hub.” Many federal agencies will contribute data about us to the Hub, but the IRS will be front and center.
Whose idea was it to put the IRS in charge of enforcing our health care laws? IRS agents have recently been caught targeting conservative and patriotic political groups for political discrimination, and are currently being sued for alleged illegal seizure of 60 million medical records. What is to stop them from using their new health care powers to abuse companies they don’t like? By the way, the woman who was in charge of targeting political groups has now been put in charge of the new IRS health care enforcement office.
Employers are already struggling to stay afloat. Now they’re being asked to strictly follow a myriad of complex rules, knowing that at any moment they could hear the terrifying sound of IRS jackboots.
The IRS should not be involved in enforcing the Employer Mandate. It will only lead to an ever more intrusive government that will invade our privacy and further strangle the American economy.
Washington, DC- FreedomWorks is mobilizing its community of over 6 million grassroots activists to stop the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from implementing and enforcing ObamaCare. In a video to the organization’s membership, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe delivered the following remarks:
“Hi, my name is Matt Kibbe, I’m the President of FreedomWorks. You all know what the IRS has done in terms of targeting tea partiers, targeting libertarians, targeting conservatives. You also know that they took our confidential donor information and leaked it to liberal groups, all to stop us in our tracks.”
“It’s an abuse of power; it’s a demonstration of why big government leads to the arbitrary discretionary power of grey-suited bureaucrats. I think Senator Ted Cruz is right when he says that ultimately, we have to abolish the IRS, and we need to replace the current tax code with a simple flat tax that takes away that discretionary power.”
“But we also need to understand that right now -as we speak- not only is the IRS not shrinking, it’s growing because President Obama has put these same IRS agents in charge of your health care. That’s what we need to stop right now. Tom Price, Congressman from Georgia has introduced legislation H.R. 2009 that takes the IRS out of the implementation of ObamaCare. That’s what we need to do right now. We need to get Members of Congress to demand a floor vote on that. Please go to IRSTarget.com and register your voice today.”
FreedomWorks took action early to demand answers, to educate citizens on the evolving scandal timeline, and to provide victims of IRS targeting with a platform to tell their stories at www.IRSTarget.com.
Twelve grassroots leaders from across the country were flown into Washington to share the intrusive questions and excessive criteria imposed onto their groups by the IRS to reporters at a FreedomWorks press conference.
Their bravery allowed FreedomWorks to go one step further to connect three activists with key offices in the House to testify against the IRS in a formal committee hearing.
FreedomWorks is a grassroots service center to a community of over 6 million activists dedicated to advancing the ideas of individual liberty and constitutionally-limited government. For more information, please visit www.FreedomWorks.org.
- Beginning in 2010, several different IRS offices – including those in Cincinnati, Ohio; El Monte, California; Laguna Niguel, California; and Washington D.C. systematically discriminated against conservative groups. The targeting was not the work of a few “rogue” agents, as IRS commissioner Steven Miller initially claimed.
- The IRS targeted organizations who “criticize how the country is being run” - singling out those with “tea party”, “9/12” and “patriot” in their names.
- The agency harassed right-leaning 501(c)(3) applicants with intrusive questions, including “please detail the content of your members’ prayers."
- 160 such applications were delayed for over 200 days – some for more than three years and two election cycles.
- During this period, the IRS approved applications from several dozen groups who used words like “progressive”, “liberal” and “equality.” Media Trackers, a conservative applicant that had been delayed for 16 months, was approved in three weeks after it reapplied under the name “Greenhouse Solutions.”
- The White House account of these events has changed several times. While the White House initially maintained that it had learned about the scandal through the media, it has since been revealed that both Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew were aware of the scandal a month prior.
- Under the Obama Administration, IRS higher-ups have treated themselves to extravagant entertainment and lavish conferences on the taxpayers’ dime. The agency spent over $60,000 producing two short films for fun. In one instance, the IRS “paid for the construction of an elaborate mock-up of the bridge of the starship Enterprise.” The IRS also spent millions on luxurious accommodations for its managers – in violation of its own policies - and paid $135,000 fees to at least 15 outside speakers. One speaker was paid $17,000 to discuss “leadership through art.”
- Democrats have attempted to shield themselves from blame by pointing out that IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman was a Bush appointee. Shulman’s wife, however, is a senior employee at liberal group Public Campaign, an organization “dedicated to sweeping campaign reform that aims to dramatically reduce the role of big special interest money in American politics.”
- Sarah Hall Ingram, who ran the IRS’ tax-exempt division during the targeting, is now the director of the IRS’ ObamaCare office. Since graduating from Georgetown Law, Ingram has never worked anywhere except the IRS. Interestingly, Ingram has visited the White House 165 times.
- The IRS has been put in charge of enforcing ObamaCare. Federal agencies are currently assembling a “Federal Data Services Hub” in what has been called “the largest consolidation of personal data in the history of the republic” by USA Today. Under ObamaCare, government-approved health insurance providers will submit reports about their customers to this database - where they will be monitored and cross-checked by the IRS. Although only 10% of Americans now say they have confidence in the IRS, we are apparently expected to trust the agency to oversee our healthcare.
Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, ObamaCare, was only made possible by the waves of ignorant young voters who swept him and his allies into power. Now, as a “thank you” to this young voting bloc, the administration has forced legislation upon the youth of America that will virtually guarantee they will be poor, jobless and without insurance.
Democratic fortunes have turned of late, and ObamaCare has become a rallying point for conservatives and Tea Partiers of all ages who are discontent with government overreach. In fact, 54% of the nation wants to end ObamaCare. Despite this, there are aspects of the law which garner huge bi-partisan support and are almost universally seen as a boon to young people. Although moves to repeal or defund ObamaCare are favored by 54% of Americans, there are certain aspects of the law that are viewed very favorably.
The left is trying hard to sell the entire law by pointing to a few select provisions, like those that allow children to stay on their parent’s insurance plans up until the age of 26. Previously, kids had to buy their own policy by the age of 18. This new measure was almost universally hailed as a good move that would help young people. Many conservatives regard this portion of the law as a silver lining in an otherwise very unpleasant cloud. Unfortunately, because of the numerous people who will lose coverage under ObamaCare, kids will find themselves in an awful limbo between bureaucracy and bankruptcy.
Insurance premiums in California were boosted by 64%-146% because of expenses related to ObamaCare compliance and implementation. In fact, states, municipalities and insurance companies across the nation have all started to issue official publications in which they forecast dramatic increases in the uninsured population. Why would the uninsured population rise under ObamaCare, a piece of legislation whose entire purpose is to supposedly ensure universal coverage?
Insurance plans are expensive, and the tsunami of regulation and bureaucratic management being ushered in by ObamaCare has increased the price of insurance plans. The government insurance plan is expensive for many Americans struggling with joblessness and underemployment. The only way they can make ends meet is to give up insurance coverage and pay the less expensive, mandated, penalty. Let me be clear, the number of people that will fall into this unfortunate situation will be enormous; increases in existing cost of insurance and the loss of employer insurance is to blame.
On one end, people are being priced out of the insurance market because of the expenses that ObamaCare will heap onto employers and on the other end, it will cost less for individuals to pay the insurance penalty than to comply and buy an ObamaCare healthcare plan from the government. These people are experiencing the same dilemma and money crunch as businesses across the country.
The cost of insuring employees has increased dramatically under ObamaCare, so many businesses are dropping insurance coverage for their workers. In many cases, it’s a matter of staying open or falling into bankruptcy! These companies figure that when the employees are kicked from insurance, they will just buy the ObamaCare insurance plan and have adequate base-coverage. But as noted earlier, many people simply can’t afford the costly government plan. ObamaCare has increased costs so much, it has hurt the very people that its proponents claimed it would protect!
Many people are losing their employer healthcare coverage, and will be forced to pay the insurance penalty because the ObamaCare healthcare plan is just too expensive. If they had the misfortune to put their 18-26 year old kid on their employer healthcare plan right before they lost that coverage to ObamaCare, what happens to the kid? In Part II of this blog, we will unwind this bureacratic 'Gordian Knot' and find more cloud where everyone thought there would be some silver lining!
“The largest consolidation of personal data in the history of the republic.” ~ USA Today
Recently, the Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom posted an extremely useful chart titled “The Obamacare Hub – Transfer of Data and Dollars.” The chart outlines the flow of data collected by the government under Obamacare. It explains that the Obamacare Hub process begins when a person or employer enters private data into Exchange, the state website portal, in his or her state. This information includes all the data needed for a person’s identity to be stolen, such as tax information, income, employment, patient medical records, social security number, welfare information, family size, and demographic data.
Once this incredibly personal information is entered into the Exchange, it is sent to the central server, the Federal Data Services Hub (the Hub), and other state data sources (e.g., Medicaid). Next, the Hub connects with other federal agencies in order to transfer and validate everyone’s data, as shown below.
CCHF’s chart below shows how Obamacare will establish a central exchange for private information about every American citizen. Unfortunately, this information is subject to security breaches by computer hackers: in 2012, the RAND Corporation reported that the federal government could be losing up to $98 Billion annually to Medicare and Medicaid fraud—largely because of theft due to personal information being taken from government databases. Moreover, in light of recent events, especially the IRS scandal, do you really trust the government not to abuse your sensitive information?
[Note: See the attachment below for the full-sized chart.]TheObamacareHub.pdf236.49 KB
FreedomWorks Awarded with Charity Navigator’s 4-star Rating for Fiscal Responsibility, Accountability and Transparency
Washington, DC- In light of a year-long investigation of the “50 Worst Charities in America,” conducted by CNN, the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting, FreedomWorks is proud to announce the organization has achieved Charity Navigator’s coveted 4-star rating for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency.
Charity Navigator’s multi-dimensional rating system is an effective tool to help donors identify charities that are responsible and worthy social investments. The rating is based on two major criteria: financial health; and accountability and transparency. As explained on their website, “the highest performing charities are those that excel in all areas, not just one.”
According to the FreedomWorks Annual Report, an industry-leading 90.39% of the organization’s total revenue went directly into grassroots programs and campaigns in 2012.
FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe commented, “As a service center to a grassroots community that stands for transparency and fiscal responsibility, FreedomWorks practices what we preach. We will continue to look for ways to allocate our resources in the most efficient and effective ways to advance the ideas of individual liberty and constitutionally-limited government.”
FreedomWorks is a grassroots service center to a community of over 6 million activists dedicated to advancing the ideas of individual liberty and constitutionally-limited government. For more information, please visit www.FreedomWorks.org.
Ten years ago, the United States made an investment in a new environmental idea of clean coal through a cutting edge project known as FutureGen. FutureGen, a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the FutureGen Industrial Alliance, was intended to construct a net zero-emission fossil-fueled power plant. To reduce carbon emissions, FutureGen uses carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology to inject carbon into geological formations rather than allowing emissions into the atmosphere. Yet, ten years and two restructuring efforts later, the project has yet to materialize. The precedents set by FutureGen and similar projects should serve as red flags to the Department of Energy (DOE) and federal government picking winners and losers in the field of energy technology.
The FutureGen project was dead in the water by 2008 because the Bush administration’s funding concerns over such a massive project. Yet, in the midst of the Great Recession, President Obama decided to invest a billion dollars in FutureGen 2.0 to revive the failing program. The cost of development pales in comparison to the projected cost for implementing clean coal. Xina Xie, a senior research engineer at the University of Wyoming, ran calculations with Michael J. Economides about the cost of the CCS process, concluding, “the total cost of such an ambitious carbon dioxide geo-sequestration effort could easily surpass $1.5 trillion per year.” Even if clean coal is a fraction of the cost, it would undermine the coal industry. Government funding cannot transform uncompetitive technology into a viable market solution to environmental dilemmas.
Because of the cost of CCS technology, coal plants have resisted the investment. Yet, the Environmental Protection Agency and members of Congress have urged emission standards that require near zero emissions. But the Congressional Research Service in April 2012 raised additional questions on the value of the investment due to the emergence of natural gas. Mandating clean coal would be extremely costly and ignores the emerging role of natural gas in the energy sector. As natural gas becomes cheaper, more available, and emits half the emissions of coal, the market will be more likely to invest in this new resource. Market forces and energy investors have a better record than government regulations and false incentives.
Yet, cost aside, there is little guarantee that carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology, which intends to store the emissions underground, will be successful. CCS technology stores carbon emissions deep in porous rock formations. Numerous reports have expressed concern due to potential earthquakes or water contamination which would damage the environment and release emissions into the environment. Curt M. White, who ran the DOE carbon sequestration group until 2005, stated it simply, "Red flags should be going up everywhere when you talk about this amount of liquid being put underground." FutureGen’s CCS project could undermine the whole purpose of the project and instead make the environment less safe.
With the increasing cost and delays of FutureGen, the government should reconsider funding FutureGen. FutureGen is another failed example of the government picking winners and losers in the energy market. Instead, FutureGen and other ventures should be allowed to compete in the market where investors can gauge the investments for profitable payouts without taxpayers footing the bill. After ten years, it’s time for the federal government to stop playing favorites in the energy sector and allow green energy to compete on its own merit.
Ben Bernanke is arguable the most well equipped Fed chairman America has ever seen, and I mean that sincerely! His academic accomplishments are top notch; and his career as a public official is equally impressive. He has been a ranking member of some of the most influential and prestigious economics advisory councils and research groups in the nation. By all accounts, Ben is the best conceivable man for the job of Chief Central Banker! The obvious question remains, what’s up with this economy?
Bernanke is a tragic hero. In the ancient Greek plays, the hero of the story had a tragic flaw which he struggled against mightily but which always caused him to fail in the end. Because of a flaw in their character, usually hubris (extreme pride), the tragic Greek heroes were always doomed to fail from the very outset of their journey. Ben Bernanke is steeped in the complexity and nuance of mainstream economic theory and is The Central Banker that central bankers envy and adore. But a fundamental misunderstanding of Economic Law has tragically undercut his mission to restore the economy.
Bernanke doesn’t acknowledge methodological individualism, he falls into a tragic economic error. This error skews the way he sees and understands the economy. Bernanke falls into the error of scientism, a term coined by Nobel Prize winning economist FA Hayek. Scientism is the belief that mathematical measures can discern economic matters and give you an accurate picture of the economy. It’s the assumption that mathematical models based on deeply abstract aggregate data are the only thing that can show us how the economy works. But statistical abstractions like GDP and aggregate measurements such as economy-wide supply and demand are misleading and don’t give an entirely accurate picture of the economy.
Because mathematical measures are assumed to explain the economy, many modern economists gravitate towards using measures that are inherently easy to quantify. They view the economy as a hydraulic machine or a pump that must be primed in order to work; but the economy is not an “it” at all. The economy is an organic network of individual people trying to satisfy an incredibly vast array of desires for different goods.
Because all of economics is grounded in human choice, not in abstract measures of aggregate supply and demand, Bernanke’s approach leads him to an inaccurate understanding of economics. This is not to say that GDP is not important, it is an excellent way to measure monetary flows, it’s just not the be-all and end-all of economic measures. Also, the modern economic conception that aggregate supply and demand can be managed makes no sense when you understand the economy is driven by the actions of everyone who buys and sells things in society. For example: If the economy is producing $3 billion worth goods, and people demand $3 billion in goods, modern scientism approaches would call that an economic equilibrium, a perfect economic situation! There is no conception about market coordination, are producers making the things that consumes want, and can the consumers find the goods that they want?
Every individual in the economy (that is, every individual that has ever bought or sold any goods and services at any time) has a complex and changing collection of priorities they want to fulfill. These priorities can be satisfied by taking action, using things to solve the problem and bring about a more favorable state of affairs. Because of the complexity and dynamic nature of each individual’s needs, snapshots of the economy, in the form of statistical aggregate measurements, cannot be used as benchmarks for a central banker’s grand plan.
Because people’s preferences for goods and services are always changing, even the most complex and advanced computer will never be able to coordinate production in a way that satisfies everyone’s needs as fast as a decentralized market. The second all the ‘variables’ are gathered by the central planning computer, the situation radically changes. Only the price system can coordinate supply and demand.
When Bernanke looks at GDP, net spending, saving and consumption, he is looking at a snapshot in time. To think that he, as a technical expert, can guide fiscal policy and modify, exactly, a complex economy to his exact specifications is really assuming a lot!
Hayek called this attitude the Pretense of Knowledge; it goes hand-in-hand with the scientism that pervades the modern economics profession. Economics is certainly a science, but it deals with the actions of people, it’s a social science. There is no shame in that, and like many other social sciences, economics can make use of all sorts of mathematical measures. Economics, because humans are at its core, is not like physics. In physics or chemistry, the physical sciences, you can make discreet changes that yield very precise and predictable results but this approach makes for bad economics. When people either ignore or forget that the unique actions and preferences of individuals drives the economy, they fall into the economic error of Scientism and start to have a Pretense of Knowledge.
When Ben Bernanke looks over the financial data every day and attempts to plan and fine tune the economy, he may be trying his best and he probably wants the economy to do as well as it can, but his methods are flawed. As Nobel Laureate FA Hayek explained, prices coordinate the massive amount of knowledge dispersed through the economy. No single person can ever have enough raw information to know what is best for the economy. But the tools that central bankers are acquainted with and given are not the ones necessary to do the job!
Market Watch calls Ben Bernanke a Superman. He certainly has a towering intellect and an impressive resume; unfortunately, his office, the Federal Reserve Bank, is permeated with the kryptonite of bad economic thinking. He cannot win! No central bank or central banker can ever truly steer the economy to stable ground because their economic paradigm is fundamentally flawed. Hopefully, one day, great economic minds like Ben Bernanke will throw off the Central Bank Kryptonite and recognize that all economic phenomenon begin with individual human action, and, like Hayek, he become real Economic Superman.
This past week more than two dozen Democratic members of congress decided to compete in the SNAP Challenge and in their words "call attention to the necessity of the program" while also showing how difficult it is to eat on the average of $31.50 per person, per week allocated under the SNAP program.
I read the article in Politico and looked at the receipts posted and could not stop thinking that these people either don't know how to live on a budget or that they were intentionally trying to make it look overly difficult to budget and eat healthy. Maybe it's both.
I was struck by the ignorance of the statements from some members participating in the challenge. Rep. Ted Deutch from Florida said,
“Standing in line at the grocery store, it’s relatively few items in my cart, and calculating how much I think they’ll cost only to learn that I was off by a little bit, which necessitated putting back a couple of items and leaving with even less — it’s just really difficult to do once, I can only imagine how excruciatingly difficult it must be to that every single week.”
What? You had to calculate how much you had before you spent it and you may not get everything you want? This is news? Isn't this what the majority of Americans do when they're buying groceries? They figure out how much they have to spend and then they live within that budget. I would love to stock my cart with lobster, ice cream and choice bacon, but I can't afford it, so I don't. Is this congressman so out of touch with reality that he doesn't realize that families, unlike the government don't spend money first and figure a way to pay for it later? Probably.
Don't even get me started on Rep. Donald Payne who spent $1.08 for a single hard boiled egg. Yes, one egg. At the grocery store in my town you can buy an entire dozen eggs for $1.13, and for one person that's a lot of meals.
First, let's not forget that the SNAP program stands for "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program." Supplemental. It was never intended to be the only source of food for an individual or family, it was intended to keep people from starving. The Democrats want you to believe that people can't possibly live on less, therefor you need to increase the amount given to the program. They don't want you to know about the waste, fraud and abuse occuring, just that shopping is really, really, hard.
Maybe instead of wasting time on publicity stunts like the SNAP Challenge, members of Congress should spend time with housewives and moms who know how to make a budget stretch. Our family of four eats very well (follow me on twitter and instagram if you don't believe me) on less than $300 a month, or in SNAP terms, $17.50 per week, per person. Our average weekly grocery bill is $70. If we were living solely on the supplemental program of SNAP we would add nearly $204 a month to our budget!
Democrats in congress want you to believe that you have to survive on merely peanut butter and tortillas, but it's simply not true. I watched others on twitter posting their receipts and pics and figured I'd join in the fun. Eating healthy and low cost can be done. Don't believe me? For $70.64 I purchased the following:
Honey Nut Cheerios
3lbs Top Sirloin
1lb ground beef
1lb ground turkey
1.5lbs fresh cut sharp cheddar
1lb fresh brocolli
4lbs fresh oranges
3lbs frozen chicken breasts
One package of roasted turkey lunch meat
Kraft Ranch Dressing
2 cans Santiam green beans
3 cans Santiam corn
1 whole 4lb chicken, fresh
1 gallon 2% milk
1 head of lettuce
1 loaf sourdough bread
2lb spaghetti squash
5 fresh tomatoes
1 dozen eggs
Now, if I really wanted to show what can be done on a tight budget, I'd have used coupons, bought large amounts of meat to freeze, bought tons of pasta and rice and maybe even thrown in a canning lesson. But, none of that is necessary to survive on SNAP. What is necessary to live on tight means is a little common sense. You'll notice I didn't buy processed foods, bottled water and soda which adds up fast! I bought food that you can prepare and make healthy meals with.
I'll gladly go head to head with any congressman on a budgeting challenge. They want you to believe that it's difficult to spend $31.50 a week wisely, while simultaneously racking up billions of dollars of debt by the hour. The real SNAP Challenge should be figuring out a way to get people off of government assistance and provide for themselves and their families. Jobs are the solution, not more government assistance.
The number of Americans on food stamps is soaring, even after trillions in stimulus and failed government intervention. Maybe, just maybe the people who can't figure out how to grocery shop shouldn't be running the country.
Follow me on twitter at @KristinaRibali
On April 17, the central Texas town of West was rocked by an explosion at a fertilizer plant that killed 15 people, injured more than 160 people and leveled an entire neighborhood. This small community of less than 3,000 people situated on Interstate-35 between Waco and Dallas was decimated.
In the immediate aftermath, Texas Governor Rick Perry, county and local officials scrambled reduce and recovery assets to help victims of the tragedy and aide those working in the rescue and recovery efforts. In a statement issued the following day, President Obama said, "My Administration, through FEMA and other agencies, is in close contact with our state and local partners on the ground to make sure there are no unmet needs," and that the people of West, "will have the support of the American people."
When the President visited the blast site eight days later for a memorial honoring the victims, in front of a crowd of 10,000 he pledged, "To the families, the neighbors grappling with unbearable loss, we are here to say you are not alone. You are not forgotten."
Now it seems that the President's words are ringing hollow.
This week came word that FEMA is denying funds to help rebuild West, Texas just two months after the devastating blast. In a letter sent from the agency to Governor Rick Perry, FEMA said that the tragic explosion and its aftermath, "is not of the severity and magnitude that warrants a major disaster declaration." Reaction to the administration's denial of relief funds has been shocking and swift.
West Mayor Tommy Muska told the Associated Press, "I'm not sure what their definition of a major disaster is, but I know what I see over there and it's pretty bleak."
Muska estimates that repairs to the town will cost nearly $60 million, which includes the estimated $40 million in costs just to repair and rebuild schools in the town destroyed by the plant explosion.
Governor Perry was also shocked at Obama's decision. "He said his administration would stand with them, ready to help," saying that he had anticipated that the President would "hold true to his word" to ensure West received the much-needed assistance that was promised by Obama in the days after the blast.
Rob Johnson, Governor Perry's former campaign manager spoke with me this week and said he was appalled by the Obama administration's lack of compassion for the residents of West.
"This decision is absolutely ridiculous. Apparently, this administration keeps tabs on how states vote instead of caring about citizens in need. Government should do few things and do them well. One thing that is certain is caring and helping citizens in need because of disasters."
Although the administration has provided some funds to West, FEMA's denial of the "major disaster declaration" cuts off both public and individual aid, blocking money to the city for rebuilding efforts and denying residents crisis counseling and other needed services.
Some within Obama's Left went so far as to mock Texas and the victims of April's explosion. The Sacramento Bee's cartoonist Jack Ohman used the tragedy as an opportunity to criticize Governor Rick Perry's successful efforts to move companies from California's failing business climate to the Lone Star State. Ohman's cartoon featured the Governor standing in front of a sign that reads, "Low Tax! Low Regs!" and saying "Business is booming in Texas!" The second pane of the cartoon shows the West explosion and the word "BOOM!"
Ohman's tasteless commentary on the tragedy illustrates how heartless the Left can be when the victims aren't their own.
Meanwhile, President Obama is set to spend $100 million on a trip to Africa. Half of that trip's cost could help the 3,000 residents of West rebuild their lives and recover from one of the worst industrial accidents in American history.
Enjoy your trip, Mr. President.
For any American paying attention, it can hardly be a surprise that Congressional approval is at a low point. In fact, it is at an all time low. In a recent poll, only 10% of respondents approved of the job Congress is doing. To get an idea of how abysmally low that rating is, let’s take a look at some other data for comparison.
Banks, those boogeymen of the left, have a 26% approval rating in the same poll, and big business is seen favorably by more than twice as many Americans (22%) than approve of Congress. These institutions which are occupied and protested against, which are used as dirty words by pundits and bloggers, find themselves enjoying nearly double the popularity of the United States Congress. What about some of the truly unpleasant things which crop up in everyday life. How does Congress compare to those?
A whopping 78% of Americans went to the doctor last year for an annual checkup- meaning that having a physical is 68% more popular than Congress. People generally don’t want to go, but most of them will. What about the truly unpopular aspects of medicine? There are some medical tests which we would all want to avoid. Take, for instance, a colonoscopy. After the age of 50, everyone should be tested, and 62% of adults of 50 have had one. So, 52% more Americans will schedule a colonoscopy than approve of Congress. A colonoscopy.
Americans are routinely poked and prodded, sometimes in very unpleasant ways by medical professionals. What they are less accepting of is being pushed around by Congress. Our so-called representatives need to take a good hard look at themselves and find out how their legislative bodies are so thoroughly failing the American people through their abysmal job performance. Approval ratings like these show that the people are waking up- and they don’t like what they see.
Washington, DC- At a press conference today, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe addressed the growing list of civil liberties violations that have surfaced in recent weeks, and extended an open invitation to South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham to walk the walk implied by his casual dismissal of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution. If he has "nothing to worry about," he should be willing to publicly release his email password. The petition can be found at www.LindseysPassword.com.
In a Fox and Friends interview last Thursday, Senator Graham defended the National Security Agency’s (NSA) warrantless surveillance of American civilians, telling the show’s hosts, “I don’t think you’re talking to the terrorists. I know you’re not. I know I’m not. So we don’t have anything to worry about.” Senator Graham then went one step further, concluding that he was “glad” the warrantless surveillance activity was happening in the NSA.
Kibbe commented, “Privacy is a citizen’s right to choose what information you prefer to tell the public about, and what you choose to keep to yourself. Senator Lindsey Graham recently asserted that violating the Fourth Amendment to implement warrantless government surveillance is not only acceptable, it’s welcomed. If we’re not talking to terrorists, we have nothing to worry about.”
“Respectfully, Senator, we ask you to lead by example and make your email account password available to the American people. If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about. Right?”
Kibbe also announced that FreedomWorks will be mobilizing its membership to support of Senator Rand Paul’s class action lawsuit on the constitutionality of the NSA’s secret surveillance of American citizens. “FreedomWorks plans to help Senator Paul and the ACLU organize grassroots Americans to join the legal effort to defend our Fourth Amendment rights,” Kibbe added. “Taking on the Big Brother behemoth requires the voices of many individuals across the country, and FreedomWorks wants to help give those citizens a microphone.”
FreedomWorks is a grassroots service center to a community of over 6 million activists dedicated to advancing the ideas of individual liberty and constitutionally-limited government. For more information, please visit www.FreedomWorks.org, or contact Jackie Bodnar at JBodnar@FreedomWorks.org.
As has to be pointed out with so many news stories these days, this is not satire.
Graduating senior Vanessa Umana expected to leave last Friday's commencement ceremony at Francis Polytechnic High School with a diploma, a few photos and some wonderful memories.
Imagine her surprise, then, when Principal Ari Bennett announced that Vanessa would also be getting an $18,000 Chevrolet Sonic, one of two grand prizes awarded in a year-long contest to encourage perfect attendance at Los Angeles Unified schools.
While you are searching about for something to put your finger on to pinpoint the beginning of the decline of this great republic, please consider the onset of the "everybody gets a trophy" mentality which began in earnest when the hippies left the Woodstock mud, showered and took over public education.
They began by prioritizing self-esteem over academic achievement, which has done nothing but unleash a couple of generations of well-adjusted morons on the American workplace.
Now we're rewarding kids for just showing up.
As a product of actual Catholic schools (real nuns and stuff), this kind of news makes me feel as if I'm reading science fiction about a parallel universe. My reward for perfect attendance the last two and a half years of high school was an education and not getting kicked out of school (which is what happened to kids who were absent a lot in Catholic school).
There are few things more insidious than raising children to believe that they will be singled out for special treatment merely for doing what they're supposed to do. But that is exactly what public education in America has been doing for decades now. The average American kid hits the adult world believing there will be a pair of lips permanently affixed to his buttocks and that everything is a right. Turn out enough of these kids over a couple of generations and you end up with Occupy camps all over the country.
As one of the worst public school districts in the United States, LAUSD should be focusing on rewarding students with a better education, rather than giving iPads to elementary school kids.
The companies donating the prizes would have done a far greater service to the kids by setting up scholarships for which they could compete. Then again, as any parent with a child in youth sports today knows, competition is frowned upon because feelings or something.
This is really a by-product of the way we fund public education. Dollars are doled out based on attendance. To the overlords of public schools, the goal is to get the kid there. Once he's there, they simply need to make sure that he feels good about himself so he'll enjoy coming back.
And on it goes.
Arizona Governor Janice Brewer, after publicly opposing Obamacare before the 2012 elections, has been trying ever since to implement the deeply unpopular law with the expansion of Medicaid in her state. Her push to implement this expansion of the already failing Obamacare is a tale of cronyism and backroom deals. In the end if she is successful it will only benefit the dealmakers, not the people of Arizona.
At the time of this writing, expansion has passed the Arizona House and moves to the Senate, where it will likely pass, as well. The passage happened when a group of Republicans calling themselves "the Band of 9" broke with their caucus and allied with the Democrats, at least for budget talks. That gave Democrats an effective majority in the chamber.
The expansion of Medicaid is to cover those single adults making between the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) of $11,490 and $15,850 -- about $8 and $10 for a full-time employee.
Leading the charge is Chuck Coughlin, a lobbyist and longtime Arizona political operative, known as Governor Brewer's political attack dog. One insider called him "the real governor of Arizona."
Federal Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius also wants to expand Medicaid. Like most states, Arizona is currently operating under a Medicaid "waiver." In Arizona's case, they match at a higher than normal rate, covering childless adults who make less than the FPL. Sebelius gave Brewer the choice of ending the waiver or expanding Medicaid under Obamacare. As Avik Roy put it,
Given this choice, Brewer went with the choice Sebelius favors: fleecing the taxpayers of other states. “For a state match of a little over $154 million in FY 2015,” Brewer’s office asserts, “the State can draw into its healthcare sector $1.6 billion in federal funds—a return on investment of more than 10-to-1.” Note Brewer’s abuse of the terms “investment” and “return,” given that what she’s really talking about is coercing out-of-state taxpayers to subsidize the previous mistakes that her state has made.
Rep. Warren Petersen of the 12th district said, "We passed a Proposition that we would cover childless adults" making less than FPL. "Right now we have 63,000 that are on the rolls, and [expansion proponents] are afraid that if we don't expand, that the federal government will stop matching us on our current population at a match rate of 2 to 1. First of all, we don't think that's true. We think they will continue to match. But even if they won't continue to match, we have never seriously contemplated kicking all of those people off. We have said that we will continue out of our General fund to pay for those people."
The state is not allowing new childless adults into the program, Petersen added. "But we will allow everyone who's currently on to stay on as long as they're eligible." Petersen says the program would be phased out in about four or five years at its natural attrition rate.
"They have resorted to desperate tactics," said Petersen. They bused in 300 people for a rally, something you would see the Obama campaign do. But for a Republican governor to bus in 300 people is a charade."
Conservatives have said they will push for a referendum to stop the Medicaid expansion if it passes, Petersen said. "Already these lobbyists who are pushing for this massive drawdown of money, this $1.6 billion, they want to get their hands on this money. They're already talking about the main people who collect signatures not to collect our signatures, so we could not refer this issue to the ballot."
Tyler S. Boyer, a district chairman in the Arizona Republican Party, said of the double-dealing, "We're witnessing an unfortunate display of moral ineptitude."
Amendments that were quietly accepted prior to the debate occurring." An amendment sponsored by Michelle Ugenti to support a license plate to fund scholarships for veterans had wide support, Boyer said. "It was rejected by this combination of nine wayward Republicans and the Democrats."
"It looks like the governor had actually told these individuals to do this," Boyer said.
"They have been promised by special interests that they will have their backs at the next election. In other words; money. It seems very corrupt to me" Petersen said.
It isn't clear to observers whether Coughlin and Burns came up with the plan and presented it to Governor Brewer, or if she initiated the plan herself. Boyer thinks Brewer's advisers came up with the plan and convinced her to adopt it last fall.
"Here's what's really frustrating about Coughlin and a bunch of these groups," Petersen said,
"They're all saying that if we don't do this kind of stuff, that we're going to start losing," Petersen said of the moderates in his party. "What we're saying is that's absolutely false. If we lose, it will be because we've become hypocrites. It will be because we said we were conservative, and then we weren't. And what, what you're seeing here, is -- Arizona, we didn't lose. We're not doing anything wrong. We took 55% of the vote for Romney, which means we can continue to do what we're doing and keep winning. It's you that are going to kill us, because you're going to take us from conservative to moderate or, really, liberal at this point. And that's when we're going to lose, because people don't like hypocrites."
The grassroots are really trying to have a bigger influence on the Party in Arizona."That's my goal," Petersen said. "Because they're always right. The PCs and the grassroots are always right. Why do we listen to the top? We should listen to the grassroots."
On today’s FreedomCast, reporter for the Washington Free Beacon, CJ Ciaramella joins me to discuss the latest on the NSA Prism program, the underreported EPA scandals and how you have privacy protection if you’re Lisa Jackson, but not an innocent farmer.
Have a suggestion for an upcoming FreedomCast episode, or a comment? Send it to me on twitter @KristinaRibali.
Don't miss a single show, subscribe to The FreedomCast on iTunes here.
Follow today's guest @CJCiaramella on twitter.
Our podcast is fabulously produced by @BradWJackson.
TOP 10 REASONS FOOD STAMPS NEED TO BE REFORMED
By: Andrew Montgomery
Roughly 80 percent of the nearly $1 trillion dollar Farm Bill currently under debate in Congress deals with food and nutrition assistance programs such as food stamps, the largest of which is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In recent years, food stamps have grown into a major financial obligation. Enrollment in SNAP has increased dramatically, rising from 26 million in 2007 (one in twelve Americans) to nearly 47 million 2012 (one in seven Americans). Costs have increased dramatically as well, rising from $35 billion in 2007 to $80 billion in 2012 , making it the second most expensive means-tested federal welfare program, behind only Medicaid. As such, it is vital to understand the serious flaws in current food stamp programs.
1. They Are Ineffective at Reducing Hunger
A report compiled by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted that while SNAP (the largest food stamp program) has had some positive results, “the literature is inconclusive regarding whether SNAP alleviates hunger and malnutrition in low-income households.” It went on to say that, “those who choose to participate in food assistance programs generally have greater difficulty meeting their food needs and tend to be more food insecure compared to others that are eligible for programs but do not participate.” In other words, these programs, despite costing tens of billions per year, are not making a sizable impact on hunger in America.
2. They are Subject to Large Scale Fraud & Error
The Government Accountability Office reports that despite great progress, “the amount of SNAP benefits paid in error is substantial, totaling about $2.2 billion in 2009.” Other food programs are worse. The Daily Caller reports the story of Adam Sylvain, a student at George Mason University, who recounts, “My roommate told me he applied for food stamps, and they told him he qualified for $200 a month in benefits… He’s here on scholarship and he saves over $5,000 each summer in cash. A few of our other friends who were in the room also said if there were able to, they would get food stamps … They think that if they’re eligible it’s the government’s fault, so they might as well.” Stories like this are not uncommon. Nor is the misuse of food stamp money by retailers or consumers. In fact, there are only 40 investigators for over 193,000 retailers nationwide, making abuse hard to catch.
3. They Lack Transparency
The USDA does not disclose product purchases or how many total SNAP dollars are spent on each product, nor does the USDA disclose how much money retailers make off of SNAP. This makes it hard for investigative journalists and watchdogs to identify fraud in the system. The Association of Health Care Journalists and six other journalist and open-government groups have requested this information but the USDA refuses to reveal anything. Why is USDA stonewalling journalists? What do they have to hide?
4. They are a Form of Corporate Welfare
According to public health lawyer Michele Simon of eatdrinkpolitics, “SNAP represents the largest, most overlooked corporate subsidy in the farm bill.” Food stamp programs guarantee large corporations consistent cash flow, creating a powerful corporate lobbying group that seeks to prevent cuts or changes to SNAP. For example, J.P. Morgan has contracts for Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards used for SNAP in half the states and has spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress. In addition, large food retailers like Kroger and Walmart gain large shares of SNAP purchases. In some states, Walmart captures upwards to 50 percent of all SNAP purchases. These companies now have a vested interest in opposing any attempts to decrease food stamp enrollment.
5. Food Stamp Advertising Emphasizes Enrollment over Need
The USDA has conducted a massive campaign to increase the number of food stamp recipients, even hiring recruiters who must fulfill enrollment quotas. The USDA in its “Community Partner Outreach Toolkit” webpage gives ideas of how to spread awareness and increase enrollment. Ideas have been implemented such as SNAP-based bingo games for the elderly, food-stamp parties, and fliers that that read, ”Be a patriot. Bring your food stamp money home.” But it doesn’t stop here; the U.S. and Mexico began a partnership in 2004 to “provide information on eligibility criteria for Food and Nutrition Service programs,” and that includes disseminating a Spanish language flyer that tells undocumented immigrants, “You need not divulge information regarding your immigration status in seeking this benefit [food stamps] for your children.” The U.S. also supplies 1/3 of the Puerto Rican population with food stamps, costing U.S. taxpayers roughly $2 billion annually. Clearly, food stamp programs have become more and more about numbers, instead of need.
6. They Overlap and Create Inefficiencies
A report compiled by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) stated that, “the 18 food assistance programs show signs of program overlap, which can create unnecessary work and lead to inefficient use of resources.” Indeed, administrative costs equal about $5.5 billion per year, or about 10 percent of the value of food stamps distributed.
7. They Lack Effective Work Requirements
On top of loosening eligibility requirements in both the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills, and easing restrictions on states to qualify participants in the 90s, the 2009 Stimulus plan suspended the SNAP’s work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs), a ‘temporary’ suspension that has continually been renewed. This creates an incentive for individuals to not work, because such action would likely jeopardize their eligibility for food stamps. According to the Congressional Research Service, participation in SNAP has doubled among these ABAWDs- from 1.9 million to 3.9 million - far outpacing general enrollment increases. This change allows individuals to stay on food stamps with less incentive to improve their economic situation, draining taxpayers and discouraging self-reliance.
8. They Create Dependency
The goal of any government welfare program should be to get people back on their feet, not to keep them in poverty and hunger. Current food stamp programs have little work required as a condition of assistance, encouraging the relatively well off to freeload off the system and those in need to remain in poverty.
9. They Have Become a Burden on Taxpayers
While a large share of the rise in food stamp enrollment is due to our economic downturn, over-active advertising and loosening of eligibility requirements have permanently (unless reformed) enlarged food stamp programs. The CBO projects that by 2022, 34 million people will be enrolled in SNAP and expenditures will total $73 billion, much higher than $19.8 billion spent in 2000.
10. They Should Be Handled by States
Currently, SNAP’s funding comes completely from the federal government, encouraging states to enroll as many people as possible. In fact, in the states’ view, there is little or no problem if food stamps are being abused; it is not “their” problem. This only leads to increasing costs. States can also use what’s called “categorical eligibility” for SNAP in which they determine eligibility not on the program’s income or asset limitations but on individual’s participation in other welfare assistance programs. This usually leads to relaxed standards. Sending the money directly to states as block-grants would give states more flexibility and encourage them to minimize cost and maximize effectiveness, as proven by the successful welfare reforms of the 1990s.File Attachments Top_10_Reasons_Food_Stamps_Need_to_Be_Reformed.pdf325.6 KB
Washington, DC- Over sixteen thousand general admission tickets have been sold for FreedomWorks’ main summer event, “Free the People,” set to take place on Friday, July 5th from 7:30-9:30pm local time at the USANA Amphitheater in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The “Free the People” event is an opportunity for individuals to celebrate economic empowerment, individual liberty and entrepreneurship in all parts of society. Featured speakers include media entrepreneur Glenn Beck, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), Congressman David Schweikert (AZ-06), Mia Love, business entrepreneur Jeff Sandefer, Rafael Cruz (father of Texas Senator Ted Cruz), Reverend CL Bryant, and conservative community organizer Corie Whalen.
FreedomWorks’ President Matt Kibbe commented, “Free the People is an opportunity for liberty-minded citizens to connect with each other, celebrate shared values and continue building a community that acts on principle, outside of the political arena.”
Less than one thousand VIP tickets remain available before the Amphitheater is sold out, so activists are encouraged to buy tickets as soon as possible at www.FTP2013.com.
FreedomWorks is a service center to a community of over 6 million grassroots activists nationwide who believe in individual liberty and constitutionally-limited government. For more information on “Free the People,” please contact Jackie Bodnar at JBodnar@FreedomWorks.org.