President Donald Trump and his administration have scored more political points after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that the number of Americans collecting food stamps has cratered since he entered the White House. A booming economy, a flourishing labor market, and growing economic confidence have attributed to the enrollment decline, says the USDA.
Researchers note that more than 2.8 million people are no longer accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, bringing the total from 42,134,301 to 39,329,356.
With fewer citizens receiving SNAP benefits, the Trump administration and many states have proposed reforms. But perhaps it is time for the president and governors to take it one step further: Abolish food stamps altogether and allow the private sector to take over this function.
Let’s be honest: The SNAP program has been a costly endeavor that has endured plenty of fraud over the years. Another issue that has plagued the government program has been its influence on the terrible diet of impoverished Americans from sea to shining sea – or, for one California “beach bum,” an impressive diet made up of lobster, coconut water, and sushi on the taxpayer dime.
Did former President John F. Kennedy ever envision in 1961 how much his pilot food stamps program would metastasize into the largest federal food assistance benefit in the nation today?
Voluntary Welfare Worked the Best
Most Americans cannot imagine a society without food stamps, let alone a welfare state. The left will purport that you are hurting the poor and sending them deeper into the poverty. The right, which generally laments welfare, will typically be petrified to end it because of potential lost votes.
For much of the nation’s history, welfare was virtually non-existent. There have indeed been efforts to alleviate poverty through welfare schemes, but the push really intensified in the 1960s, when President Lyndon Baines Johnson declared a War on Poverty, firing expensive welfare bullets. He had his own political reasons for launching this war, but historians will declare LBJ as a great president for initiating the multi-trillion-dollar welfare state.
But what was it like in the early- to mid-20th century? One word: voluntarism.
Mutual aid societies were quite common and popular throughout major metropolitan cities. A mutual aid society, typically comprised of immigrants, blacks, the poor, and the working-class, was a voluntary organization designed to offer aid, or benefits, to fellow members.
Just how ubiquitous were these associations? In 1909, nearly half of New York City families earning $1,000 per year or less had members; and one in three males in the 1920s was a participant.
Mutual aid societies covered a whole host of areas, from life insurance to healthcare to jobless benefits. And, because they had billions of dollars, these entities branched out and established hospitals, sanitariums, orphanages, and lodges.
If it were not for the government clamping down on these voluntary outlets, they might still be around today – and we would not need the government to steal from taxpayers to hand out welfare benefits.
How Would Private Food Stamps Work?
The idea that a society would not help the impecunious is a vacuous argument. Even with state-mandated theft, Americans are always willing to be altruistic – with their own money. Every year, the public donates close to $400 billion to a wide panoply of causes, from opera to healthcare, from the church to education. Despite continually being labeled as selfish by the left, the American people will stand up for their fellow man during the best of times and during the worst of times.
And why wouldn’t this work for food?
A food bank is a great example of the private sector intervening and offering the most vulnerable access to food at a low cost. The soup kitchen is another splendid exhibition of people not only donating money, but also offering their time to aid the needy, whether on a Friday afternoon or at Christmas.
There is no reason to suggest that the free market wouldn’t extend a food stamp service in the same way that mutual aid societies popped up.
In addition to a non-profit institution providing the poor with benefits to buy food, there could be an insurance program that Americans pay into rather than give to the government. Some of the biggest food companies in the world would also likely sponsor some charity that hands out groceries.
There may also be person-to-person giving. A GoFundMe campaign could be launched, or the nation could send PayPal donations to a family in need. Or, four-year-old Austin Perine, also known as President Austin, sporting his red superhero cape, could feed the needy like he does now.
The best part of all this is that it is completely voluntary without the government taking your money.
Food Stamps Are Just Wealth Redistribution
Current SNAP policy and possible SNAP reforms will not suffice. It is time that the Republican-controlled Washington finally adopt fiscally conservative, pro-market concepts, and this includes eliminating food stamps. Sure, it isn’t politically expedient, especially how left-leaning the media is, but it is better for the nation’s long-term future to get rid of welfare and wealth redistribution.
Wealth redistribution has been a failure. Billion-dollar boondoggles, fraud, waste, cronyism, and user abuse are all par for the course in these gigantic wealth redistribution schemes, and it has been that way for decades. Let’s not forget this key fact: The government is broke.
Remember, even without the political will, SNAP and every other entitlement will crumble because of the state’s immense $22 trillion debt, $120 trillion unfunded liabilities and expenditures, and the ballooning budget deficit. This means the market will inevitably have to intervene and come to the rescue of the working-class, minorities, immigrants, and everyone else who cannot afford to put groceries on the table. Private charity will always be superior to monstrous bureaucracies.
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