Obama Ag Secretary: Food Stamps Are Good For The Economy

According to Obama administration Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, food stamps are good for the economy. According to Vilsack, for every $1.00 spent on food stamps we see $1.84 in production.

So I guess that’s the solution for the economy, right?

Step 1: Put every one on food stamps. Step 2: Prosper.

So how can the Obama administration conclude that food stamps have a multiplier effect in the economy? After all, food stamps are paid for with tax dollars. In order to spend money on food stamps, money must be taken from someone else. Thus, at best, the impact of food stamps on the economy should be neutral.

But I think what the Obama administration is doing is failing to recognize the economic impact of taking from the economy to fund food stamps. If you erase that side of the equation, of course you’re going to find a net positive economic impact. But, in the real world, you can’t ignore it.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Heather

    Wow these guys are economic geniuses!  Why didn’t we think of this before, we really can create something out of nothing!  Start the printing presses now and print our way out of the Obama mess!

  • ND in MD

    “In order to spend money on food stamps, money must be taken from someone else.”

    Unfortnately, this is a concept they just don’t get.

  • WOOF

    Even Rick Perry believes in the Fed.
    Money is created. 

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      In that case, let’s just print up a bunch of money for everyone.  Poverty solved.

      • Jimmmypop

        until the world wakes up, this statement is sadly spot on correct. sickening, huh?

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Democratic governments require informed electorates. One of the biggest problems with the American electorate is the ignorance of so many when it comes to basic economics.

    • robert108

      What we really should be creating is VALUE.

  • NDSuperman

     Underwear + ?? = Profit

    • mikemc1970

      underwear gnomes!

      • NDSuperman


        • mikemc1970

          That was one of their best episodes and at that point I realized that the show wasn’t going to be just another Liberal hack machine.

          • NDSuperman

            You got that right.  100%

  • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

    What worm is it that eats these people’s brains?

    • Bat One

      Liberalism, of course!

      • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

        The existence of liberals provides proof that we originate from some other form of existence and/or are destined to enter another.  While some of us have adapted to life in this world, the liberal is distinguished by a very disagreeable and graceless longing for another.  The liberal has a memory or intuition of another place or another time where pink clouds were reflected in ponds covered by lotus blossoms while being hand-fed dainties of the most delicious sort.  No wonder they are constantly pissed off and out of touch.

  • DonnyB

    What is even scarier about this is that there must surely have been – now that the Republican field is set –  an all-points bulletin put out by Plouffe and Axelrod to all WH officials not to say anything laughably stupid regarding the economy since that is Obama’s weakest point and they don’t want any laugh lines ready-made for Republican ads.  And yet Vilsack comes out with this one, which makes me think they actually believe it…

    • VocalYokel

      Scary as it is to those of us who have a basic grasp of economics, they do believe it.

      In the Leftards world poverty is a growth industry.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      The thing is, they do believe it. This is the same thinking which holds that stimulus spending helps the economy.

      • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

        You don’t believe that people buying food requires that others stock more food and that someone make more food?

        • robert108

          Poor little hanni!  You don’t even know enough econ to understand the Broken Window Fallacy.  Tsk tsk.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            The broken window “fallacy” doesn’t apply here.  The person who needs food stamps isn’t going to have extra money to spend on something else…..they are going to starve.  That means that the food supply stores are going to lose money…twice in some cases if people start stealing food to survive.

          • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

            “The broken window “fallacy” doesn’t apply here.  The person who needs food stamps isn’t going to have extra money to spend on something else…..they are going to starve.” No, they will stop lollygagging and actually get a job.  

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            Then why hasn’t the unemployment rate decreased if it’s that easy?  Your assumption implies that just anyone can go out and get a job.  Your rhetoric doesn’t match up to reality.

          • Ace

            My friend got a job after searching for one day. In a small town in Michigan I may add. And on top of that, he got 2 job opportunities.
            All he did was get up and search, instead of being a lazy ass. He literally went to like 50 places on his bike. Thats right, his BIKE.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            Of course there are those in America who can survive.  Then there are those who the system works against and they are unable to attain unemployment, unless you think all those people who are not working during the Obama administration are just lazy bums and it has nothing to do with Obama’s polices.

            So, which is it?

          • Gary

            “those people who are not working during the Obama administration are
            just lazy bums and it has nothing to do with Obama’s polices.”

            His policies enable the lazy shit bags to keep mooching.


          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            So according to your buddy, anyone can find a job, if they just try.

            Your link doesn’t work, you are too pathetically stupid to post a link.


          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession


          • robert108

            As I said, you don’t know enough econ to understand the Broken Window Fallacy, little hanni, and you just demonstrated it again.  The money for food stamps comes from others, just like the broken window doesn’t create any real value.  I’m sorry I had to tell you that.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            You are terribly disturbed.  You just explained why the broken window fallacy doesn’t apply, in yet another way.

            There are so many reasons why the broken window fallacy doesn’t apply here, you were tasked with describing how it applied, but you failed.

            Thanks for proving my point.

        • donwalk

          And turns 1.00 into 1.84?
          Why didn’t they use the 800 billion in stimulus money to provide food stamps to every citizen? It would have turned that 800 billion into what, maybe 1.5 trillion in economic actvity?
          In fact, lets do another stimulus of 1 trillion and create almost 2 trillion in actvity.
          Wow, what a genuis idea – economic problems completely solved.
          Of course, the Democratic party will be in ruins due to a split with Pelosi. Remember, she claims that unemployment checks are the real stimulus.
          My, my, my, what a serious problem we have here.

          • robert108

            They would have done better to just mail out a trillion dollars worth of checks at random.  No bureaucratic overhead cost, except for postage, and the money would have gone to real citizens, not obama’s union mob cronies.
            Of course, it would have been even better had he not racked up that debt at all.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Well sure, that’s true, but you cannot simply look at that economic activity while not counting the the economic impact of the taxes levied to pay for that activity.

  • LastBestHope

    Obama is watching Greece…wants US to fail likewise.

    please vote 11/6/2012

  • WOOF

    Recipients turn food stamps into food.
    Supermarkets , farmers , packagers, tractor makers, truckers, organic farming hippies, turn food stamps into jobs and dollars.
    That’s the multiplier.

    • robert108

      I don’t think you understand what “multiplier” means.  After passing through the govt alimentary canal, the money coming out the other end is less than what went in, so that’s a subtractor.
      You really don’t understand economics.  The private sector pays for EVERYTHING.  When you take from the private sector, subtract some for govt overhead, what gets back to the private sector is less than it would have been without the confiscation in the first place.

    • donwalk

      Looks like you earned the same reply as your business partner, Hannity!

      And turns 1.00 into 1.84?Why didn’t they use the 800 billion in stimulus money to provide food stamps to every citizen? It would have turned that 800 billion into what, maybe 1.5 trillion in economic actvity?In fact, lets do another stimulus of 1 trillion and create almost 2 trillion in actvity.Wow, what a genuis idea – economic problems completely solved.Of course, the Democratic party will be in ruins due to a split with Pelosi. Remember, she claims that unemployment checks are the real stimulus.My, my, my, what a serious problem we have here.

  • Ajfosness

    Hannitized- yes spending money creates jobs but the government doesn’t have money they take it from hard working americans and give it away to others. Taking money out of one pocket and putting it into another does not create jobs!

  • Jamermorrow

    Food stamps like the military is terrible for the economy. Both require theft of peoples property. People would have saved/invested or spent/consumed the money. Savings and production drive an economy not spending and consuming. Until Americans understand this I will continue being a bear on the U.S. economy.

    • robert108

      Food stamps don’t protect us from our enemies.  False equivalence.  Spending is a result of prosperity, not the cause.

  • sbark

    If it was just the food stamps to the truely needed, it might be one thing.    Its the in-efficiency of the govt in getting the food stamps to those that need them.

    Its the layer upon layer of beuracrats that just to dispense “charity” recieve lifetime pensions, free healthcare, high level DC wages.    So in  order for the Govt to steal 100.00 from working taxpayors, they now need to finish the theft of 200.00 in order to trickle out the food stamps.

    Then in order to cement their jobs, the bueracrats expand the program, find new recipeinets never intended to receive food stamps,  in fact have been noted running around rural n.Dak recruiting people to be on food stamps,   and have also now made it easier by making the process completly online, and then payable via a “debit”type care to remove the stigma…..’

    If the Liberals could keep themselves from always overexpanding an admirable beginning program into a money sucking power seeking no limits govt beuracracy they might be onto something………..but that is like asking the Minn Vikings someday to win a superbowl……….next to impossible.

    • robert108

      Again, why not just hand out cash to the truly needy?  Answer: there’s no political patronage involved.

  • DopeyDem

    Using the argument that $1 government dollar = $1.84 worth of economic activity is fine. But, that $1.84 will only return $.30 in taxes back to the government meaning a loss of $.70 that has to be made up with additional taxes or by printing money. This is the fallacy of the Keynesian argument that government money stimulates the economy. Now to replace that $1 of government stimulus you need another $5 of private sector money to be taxed as well.

  • SigFan

    And yet another liberal demonstrates that liberalism is a mental disorder.  Totally disconnected from reality, totally devoid of truth.

  • mickey_moussaoui

    Do we want a country that celebrates 1 in 7 citizens on food stamps? It sounds like the Democrats do.

    • WOOF

      Do you want a country where 1 in 7 citizens are hungry?

      • mikemc1970

        I want a country where those 1 in 7 citizens has a job, if they can physically work. Why don’t you?

        • WOOF

          People receiving SNAP assistance do have jobs.
          Lots of them are their children.

          • mikemc1970

            Obviously not good enough jobs or most are underemployed. Why do you want to hold back the economy to keep these jobs from being created? Why do you want food and gasoline prices so high that people can’t afford to buy either?

      • mickey_moussaoui

        Ask Obama, this is his economy. His policies put these people in this predicament.

  • Game

    All of the great right wing economics experts crack me up on this blog. These are the same people who think that tax cuts create economic activity and jobs (just look how well the Bush tax cuts have went in proving that) but think that economic activity cannot be created with food stamps.

    The rule is very simple. Rich people know how to get money. Poor people know how to spend money. Economic activity happens best with both things are happening. Food stamps stimulate spending, spending stimulates earnings. Earnings create wealth.   Our economy is based on spending. When spending slows, earnings slow and wealth shrinks.

    The government can do two things to stimulate that spending, tax cuts and government spending. Tax cuts create about $1.05 of spending for every dollar in cuts. That is primarily because people with wealth do not spend when they are loosing money. However, Food Stamps, given to poor people, are spent and create an environment in which earnings go up, and more spending takes place.

    Now I will sit back  and wait for some smart a** conservative to call me a name and say that I think that we should take all money from rich people and give it to poor people to stimulate the economy. I will wait to hear some anti-tax activist tell me that taxes is stealing from money from people. Can’t wait.


  • JustRuss

    The only thing I will say…is that Unemployment checks and Food Stamps are probably the ONLY “good” way for the government to put money into the economy. Rather than picking winners in the business world they put money in the hands of people who need it, and who will spend it rather than save it.

    I still say its net zero at best, but if we are talking “stimulus” it is a far better idea than multi-billion dollar bailouts ever were.

  • awfulorv

    Whaddaya bet that EBT cards, issued under the auspices of the USA, are being used this morning to purchase food in Mexico City markets?

  • Gonzalezfc

    I thought we had food pantries and soup kitchens to feed the less fortunate.  The only way this is stimulating the economy is because if the governement is buying your food then you can spend your own money on luxuries.  Fine, but don’t take money from me!!!!!! to redistribute to them.