Archive for September 8th, 2011

Welcome Instapundit readers. In response to some emails and comments, allow me to add two points. First, creating more beneficiaries (even if the budget doesn’t immediately increase) will increase the number of entities that have an incentive to lobby to preserve the program and/or make it bigger. Second, this development is part of the effort to de-stigmatize food stamps, thus making the destructive dependency lifestyle more attractive. Here’s the original post.


Should food stamp recipients be able to buy taxpayer-financed meals at fast food restaurants?

That’s actually a trick question. Setting aside the controversy about Obama turning America into a “food stamp nation,” the federal government shouldn’t be involved in income redistribution, so the right answer is that the program shouldn’t exist.

But let’s relax our principles and ponder this story from USA Today. A group of fast-food restaurants wants to be eligible to accept food stamps as payment.

The number of businesses approved to accept food stamps grew by a third from 2005 to 2010, U.S. Department of Agriculture records show, as vendors from convenience and dollar discount stores to gas stations and pharmacies increasingly joined the growing entitlement program. Now, restaurants, which typically have not participated in the program, are lobbying for a piece of the action. Louisville-based Yum! Brands, whose restaurants include Taco Bell, KFC, Long John Silver’s and Pizza Hut, is trying to get restaurants more involved, federal lobbying records show.

Is this a good idea? The answer, of course, is no.

Indeed, this is downright reprehensible, perhaps even worse than the story about college students mooching off the program. Shame on Yum! Brands. This is another distasteful example of how big business is willing to rape taxpayers and/or consumers by using he coercive power of government.

For what it’s worth, I will now try to avoid eating at any the restaurants owned by Yum! Brands (which will be fairly easy since KFC is the only one I like).

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I recently posted four charts eviscerating Obama’s record on jobs.

My Cato colleague, Caleb Brown, has a good complement to those charts. He’s put together a short video looking at how government spending and regulation undermine job creation.

Caleb says he will be doing more excellent videos like this, which is very encouraging since there is so much more ground to cover – particularly when trying to educate people in Washington.

One thing he should explain is that jobs don’t exist without profits. As I explained in a New York Post column last year, employers “only create jobs when they think that the total revenue generated by new workers will exceed the total cost of employing those workers.”

This seems like an elementary observation, but it’s one that most politicians don’t seem to understand. Or don’t care to understand.

That certainly seems to be the case at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The president will speak tonight and supposedly will propose a $300 billion plan. He’ll claim, of course, that this new “stimulus” package will boost growth.

But a look at the various components that reportedly will be in his plan doesn’t create a sense of optimism. Especially since it appears that he’s mostly recycling proposals that already have failed at least once.

Maybe the President should copy the policies of a former President, who also had to deal with a deep downturn, but managed to produce dramatically better results.

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