A New York Times article in 2010 carried the headline, "Once Stigmatized, Food Stamps Find Acceptance." The article notes posters in New York City announcing "Applying for food stamps is easier than ever" and quotes Eric Bost, head of the program under President George W. Bush, saying, "I assure you, food stamps is not welfare."
According to CBO, three-fourths of recipients are "categorically eligible," which means they automatically qualify by virtue of participating in some other federal or state welfare program. They need not be receiving cash benefits from these programs. Simply having received an information pamphlet can be enough.
At one time, recipients received their food-stamp benefits in dollar-denominated paper vouchers presented at the cash register. Now benefits come on a sharp-looking electronic debit card like any credit or debit card.
And the fact that SNAP funds are provided by the federal government, but administered and spent by the states, is a proven formula, as in Medicaid, for undisciplined spending growth.
Sadly, our nation has become a food-stamp plantation.
The most compassionate thing that can be done today is exactly what is not happening: economic growth, job creation and getting folks to work. The path to this end is less government, not more.