USDA Using Spanish Soap Operas to Promote Food Stamps

Posted: Jul 14, 2012 8:21 AM

The USDA continues its quest to drive up Food Stamp participation with a new advertising campaign. This new strategy, aimed at Spanish speaking households, might have been amusing if it wasn’t so wasteful. reports:


The government has been targeting Spanish speakers with radio “novelas” promoting food stamp usage as part of a stated mission to increase participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.


Each novela, comprising a 10-part series called “PARQUE ALEGRIA,” or “HOPE PARK,” presents a semi-dramatic scenario involving characters convincing others to get on food stamps, or explaining how much healthier it is to be on food stamps.


The majority of the episodes end with the announcer encouraging the listener to tune in again to see if the skeptic applies for benefits or learns to understand the importance of food stamps to their health.


“Will Claudia convince Ramon to apply for SNAP?” the announcer exclaims at the end of a standard episode titled “The Poet,” “Don’t miss our next episode of ‘HOPE PARK.’”


The USDA’s new radio novelas campaign isn’t the first time the government has used taxpayer dollars to drive up food stamp participation. The USDA began a recruitment campaign during the Bush years, leading to a 63% increase in food stamp participation by the end of his second term. Not surprisingly, Obama’s administration has been every bit as aggressive in promoting government dependence and spending taxpayer dollars. Obama’s food stamp campaign is now targeting non-citizen households.


Robert Rector, the Heritage Foundation’s senior research fellow on welfare and family issues, noted that while illegals are officially barred from participation, the legal children of illegals are eligible for benefits, creating mixed households with the potential to be intertwined with benefit programs.


Rector added that promotions such the radio novelas are part of the current process of assimilation into American culture.


“The culture [non-citizens] are assimilating into is the culture of welfare dependence,” Rector explained to TheDC, noting that the five-year delay on receipt of benefits by non-citizens does not prevent the infusion of such a mindset.


“The essential thing is that if you bring in immigrants with a high school degree or less, they are going to cost the taxpayer a fortune,” he said. “That’s the bottom line, and you are going to pay for it one way or another.”


In the 1970s, one in 50 Americans were on food stamps — today that figure is one in seven. SNAP spending has doubled since 2008 and quadrupled since 2001.


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This post was authored by editorial intern Kyle Bonnell.