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Archive for November 1st, 2011

I am automatically suspicious of the veracity of anything I see online, so I don’t necessarily believe this is a real receipt.

But it could be, and that’s what’s disturbing. There are very few restrictions on the use of food stamps, so there’s nothing to stop a recipient from buying porterhouse steaks and lobster.

So what should be done about this type of scam?

Well, I’ve already posted about the growing burden of food stamp dependency.

And I’ve posted about fast food restaurants trying to sign up for the program and the Obama Administration’s crazy policy of bribing states to create more food stamp dependency.

But what got me most upset was the story about college kids mooching off the program.

I remember selling my plasma twice a week while in college, and the $15 I received was enough to buy food for seven days. So I’m not exactly brimming with sympathy for kids who want “high-end organic food” and “roasted rabbit with butter, tarragon, and sweet potatoes.”

The right policy, though, is not to have the federal government tell people what they’re allowed to buy. The right policy is to end the federal government’s involvement in redistribution programs and let states decide who should receive subsidies and what form those handouts should take.

And, most important, let states be responsible for financing those programs.

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I have sometimes wondered whether it is accurate to say that Republicans are the “Stupid Party.”

We’ll soon know the answer to that question. As part of the debt limit agreement, the politicians agreed to set up a “Supercommittee” comprised of six Republicans and six Democrats that was responsible for producing at least $1.2 trillion of supposed deficit reduction.

But the Democrats appointed a group of hardcore leftists to the Supercommittee, which means that it is virtually impossible to get the necessary seven votes for a good agreement. Indeed, the more relevant question is whether one or more of the Republicans surrenders to a big tax hike.

Fortunately, there is an alternative. The law says that there will be automatic spending reductions if the Supercommittee does not reach an agreement. The political establishment in Washington thinks that this outcome – known as sequestration – would be horrible.

They tell as that a sequester would mean “savage” and “draconian” budget cuts. The only “responsible” approach, we are told, is to go along with a tax increase.

This is hogwash. The automatic spending cuts are only “cuts” using Washington’s dishonest budget math. Here’s a chart showing how much spending will grow over the next 10 years, and the relatively tiny reduction in budgetary growth that will be caused if there is a sequester.

We’ve actually been down this path before. There was a small sequester back in the mid-1980s, shortly after the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings law was enacted. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, but the sequestration helped restrain the growth of spending and helped bring about a record amount of deficit reduction in 1987.

There was a similar (unsuccessful) fight in 1989. Here’s what then-Senator Bob Packwood of Oregon wrote in 1989.

…the sequester has become the focus of partisan debate . Each side accuses the other of being responsible for “deep and arbitrary” budget cuts . Some legislators say we should do whatever it takes to cancel the sequester, even if it means higher taxes. While a sequester is certainly not the ideal way to resolve this year’s budget dispute, there are reasons to believe that the fiscal discipline of a sequester is the medicine we need to cure the budget process. For all its drawbacks, a sequester is real deficit reduction . Instead of budget gimmicks, accounting tricks, phony cuts, and “revenue enhancements,” a sequester would reduce spending levels by a fixed percentage in eligible spending programs . In other words, unlike most deficit reduction packages, sequestration would actually reduce the deficit.

The only argument against a sequester, at least among conservatives, is that a sequester would impose too much of a burden on the defense budget. But I’ve already explained in this post that the defense budget will climb by about $100 billion under sequestration.

I don’t know whether Republicans are the stupid party, but I know they will be very stupid if they don’t take the sequester and declare victory.

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