SNAP Failure: The food stamp program needs reform

Food StampsThe Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the food assistance program formerly known as food stamps, has become America’s fastest growing social welfare program. As recently as 2000, just 17 million Americans participated in the program at a cost of less than $18 billion. Today, roughly 48 million Americans receive SNAP benefits, costing taxpayers more than $78 billion per year. Yet according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), nearly 18 million American households remain “food insecure.”

This many households living in hunger has raised significant questions about whether the growth of SNAP has been justified and whether it successfully addresses hunger in America. The evidence suggests that much of the increase was due not to the economy but to deliberate policy choices by both federal and state governments, which loosened eligibility standards and actively sought new participants. At the same time, evidence that the expansion of SNAP has significantly reduced hunger or improved nutrition among low-income Americans is scant at best.

SNAP is a deeply troubled program. It has high administrative costs and significant levels of fraud and abuse. The program’s work requirements are weak and frequently evaded at the state level. The program increasingly breeds greater dependence on government. It has little “bang for the buck.”

The time has come to reform the food stamp program by reducing its spending and enrollment and, ultimately, by returning responsibility for its operation to the states.

Read the entire Cato report:  http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/pa738_web.pdf

New Federal Reserve boss: Out with the old, in with the same

The-US-Federal-Reserve-II-A1The news that Janet Yellen was nominated to become the next Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System was greeted with joy by financial markets and the financial press. Wall Street saw Yellen’s nomination as a harbinger of continued easy money. Contrast this with the hand-wringing that took place when Larry Summers’ name was still in the running. Pundits worried that Summers would be too cautious, too hawkish on inflation, or too close to big banks.

The reality is that there wouldn’t have been a dime’s worth of difference between Yellen’s and Summers’ monetary policy. No matter who is at the top, the conduct of monetary policy will be largely unchanged: large-scale money printing to bail out big banks. There may be some fiddling around the edges, but any monetary policy changes will be in style only, not in substance.

Yellen, like Bernanke, Summers, and everyone else within the Fed’s orbit, believes in Keynesian economics. To economists of Yellen’s persuasion, the solution to recession is to stimulate spending by creating more money. Wall Street need not worry about tapering of the Fed’s massive program of quantitative easing under Yellen’s reign. If anything, the Fed’s trillion dollars of yearly money creation may even increase.

What is obvious to most people not captured by the system is that the Fed’s loose monetary policy was the root cause of the current financial crisis. Just like the Great Depression, the stagflation of the 1970s, and every other recession of the past century, the current crisis resulted from the creation of money and credit by the Federal Reserve, which led to unsustainable economic booms.

Rather than allowing the malinvestments and bad debts caused by its money creation to liquidate, the Fed continually tries to prop them up. It pumps more and more money into the system, piling debt on top of debt on top of debt. Yellen will continue along those lines, and she might even end up being Ben Bernanke on steroids.

To Yellen, the booms and bust of the business cycle are random, unforeseen events that take place just because. The possibility that the Fed itself could be responsible for the booms and busts of the business cycle would never enter her head. Nor would such thoughts cross the minds of the hundreds of economists employed by the Fed. They will continue to think the same way they have for decades, interpreting economic data and market performance through the same distorted Keynesian lens, and advocating for the same flawed policies over and over.

As a result, the American people will continue to suffer decreases in the purchasing power of the dollar and a diminished standard of living. The phony recovery we find ourselves in is only due to the Fed’s easy money policies. But the Fed cannot continue to purchase trillions of dollars of assets forever. Quantitative easing must end sometime, and at that point the economy will face the prospect of rising interest rates, mountains of bad debt and malinvested resources, and a Federal Reserve which holds several trillion dollars of worthless bonds.

The future of the US economy with Chairman Yellen at the helm is grim indeed, which provides all the more reason to end our system of central economic planning by getting rid of the Federal Reserve entirely. Ripping off the bandage may hurt some in the short run, but in the long term everyone will be better off. Anyway, most of this pain will be borne by the politicians, big banks, and other special interests who profit from the current system. Ending this current system of crony capitalism and moving to sound money and free markets is the only way to return to economic prosperity and a vibrant middle class.

Video shows Americans eager to support “Orwellian system”

A video published to YouTube shows a good number of “average” Americans eager and willing to sign a [satirical] petition that advocates a Nazi-style “Orwellian” system of government to supposedly keep the American people safe.

Political prankster Mark Dice asks random San Diego beach-goers to sign a petition to dramatically increase Nazi-style “measures to keep the community safe”.  Dice makes the satirical case that the government shutdown not only cut back on funding for national parks, but has also cut back on funding for the police state.  Signature after signature, Americans willingly sign their name to a petition to implement Orwellian style control over the American people.

Dice is seen laughing and shaking his head after people continue to blindly support his satirical push to essentially bring fascism to the United States of America.

“We just want to model it after the Nazi Germany system to keep people safe and secure,” he said to one beach-goer.  “We need this Orwellian-style system to keep everybody safe,” he says to another, who responded to Dice in the affirmative: “Yeah”.

Mark Dice’s previous YouTube videos show Americans supporting a wide variety of destructive causes, like repealing the entire Bill of Rights, repealing the First Amendment, the confiscation of guns from every Tea Party member and adding birth control drugs to the water supply.  Another video showed Mark Dice convincing random Americans that Vice President Joe Biden is dead.

Rally to protest mass surveillance in D.C. Oct 26th

The heroic revelations made by whistleblower Edward Snowden have let the world know: The NSA is watching you and has undermined the fabric of the Internet. Its overreaching surveillance creates a climate of fear, chills free speech, and violates our basic human rights — your Fourth Amendment right to privacy.

But a movement is building to change all this.

The Libertarian Party was among the first groups to join a growing coalition of organizations operating under the umbrella Stop Watching Us, which aims to stop the National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass surveillance of Americans.

The coalition will hold a rally in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 26, 2013, on the 12th anniversary of the signing of the Patriot Act. Thousands of people from across the political spectrum are expected to unite in Washington, D.C., to demand: Stop watching us, protest mass surveillance!

Speakers at the rally will include 2012 Libertarian presidential candidate Gov. Gary Johnson. A march before the rally, music, and other festivities are planned for the day.

Show your determination to stop government surveillance and come to Washington, D.C., on Oct. 26. For more details about the rally, visit: https://rally.stopwatching.us/

Poll finds new popularity among third parties

A new Gallup poll indicates that more Americans than ever recognize the need for a third party to threaten the political monopoly that Democrats and Republicans clearly represent in our country.

According to Gallup, 60% of those polled believe that the United States needs a third party – that is the highest percentage of Americans answering in the affirmative since the polling organization began asking the question 10-years ago.  The poll also found only a quarter of those surveyed believe the Democrats and Republicans are doing an adequate job at representing them in government.

Gallup Poll

While encouraged by the findings, it still remains unclear whether Americans will remember their disgust of Democrats and Republicans when it comes time to pull the lever in the next election cycle.  Historically, Americans have resisted electing anyone other than a Democrat or Republican at the polls, putting into question whether many in our nation are prepared to put their money with their mouth is and refuse to re-elect inferior incumbents.

Still, the poll gives comfort to third parties in the nation who hope to make some kind of impact in national elections.  The Libertarian Party is the largest third party in America, but continues to only win single-digit support in presidential elections.

New Jersey to allow gay marriage

Republican governor Chris Christie lost his bid to delay gay marriage in his state as the New Jersey State Supreme Court ruled unanimously that marriages between two same-sex partners can begin October 21st.

A lower state court had previously ruled that the state must allow same-sex marriages.  Anti-marriage-freedom governor Christie requested a stay of the decision.

The court’s decision is a victory for freedom-loving Americans who recognize that governments have no legitimate place regulating who can marry.  Treating all people equal under the law is a tenant ingrained in the culture of the United States, even though several states stubbornly remain in control of the social issue.

New Jersey becomes the thirteenth state to officially recognize same sex marriages.

 

Networks blame shutdown on Republicans over Democrats, 41-0

Not many Americans would accuse our major media outlets (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC) of true unbiased reporting of the facts in our nation.  But according to a new Media Research Center report, these networks are no longer putting forth the effort to even appear fair and balanced.

Shutdown2

Over the two week government shutdown, the Media Research Center observed its reporting by the major news networks.  Out of 124 stories about the shutdown, Republicans were blamed 41 times.  Compare that to only 17 blames for both parties and ZERO specifically blamed Democrats.  Not a one.

“Network reporters and anchors repeatedly instructed their audiences to blame Tea Party extremism for the consequences of the shutdown,” the report said.

Sound bites aired on major networks from those furloughed found a 6 to 1 bias in favor of Democrats to Republicans, although the majority of the negativity was directed towards Washington D.C. in general – and appropriately so.  “On October 1, for example, ABC’s World News used a man on the street to spank conservatives: “I think the whole ‘holding the government hostage of ObamaCare’ is just ridiculous.” The next night, the same network featured a woman scolding: “It’s a crime and most of it is the Tea Party.””

Networks cited a clear implication that Republicans were not only responsible for the shutdown itself, but also for the negative consequences resulting from it.   “During the first 15 days of October, the network evening newscasts highlighted 127 examples of ways the shutdown was hurting Americans — from closed national parks and furloughed workers, to children denied medical treatment for life-threatening illnesses and the suspension of death benefits for the families of U.S. soldiers and Marines killed in Afghanistan.”

Of course, networks drew a very direct line between the shutdown’s consequences with those whom they believe are responsible.  “All kinds of people are getting cheated out of salaries, benefits, medical treatment,” Brian Williams said on an October 8th airing of the Nightly News.

“Virtually absent from the coverage was any questioning of the Obama administration’s tactics in implementing the shutdown. Eight stories talked about the barricading of the open-air World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., a site that is normally accessible 24 hours a day. None of the networks questioned why that particular memorial needed to be barricaded.”

The truth of the matter is both parties are ultimately responsible for not just the government shutdown, but for historically low congressional approval numbers.  The only question that remains is whether or not the American people are fed up enough to stop re-electing the same group of unaccountable, reckless politicians into office once again, setting themselves up for another 4 years of near constant disapproval.