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Food stamps and federalism: Why putting more control in the states’ hands is a great idea

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Food stamps and federalism Why putting more control in the states hands is a great idea

Getting Americans in poor financial situations help acquiring the basic need of food has been under the control of the federal government for decades. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as the food stamp program, has been been in a continuous state of increase even as the overall fiscal health of the nation has improved.

The USDA has released a promise to push the program towards a federalist solution. By giving more control over the delivery and administration of food stamps to the states, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue hopes to pull more people off the program and down the road to self-sufficiency.

“SNAP was created to provide people with the help they need to feed themselves and their families, but it was not intended to be a permanent lifestyle,” he said.

Details of the move have not been released, but the general theme of the pledge is to bring it in line with federalism. This is a great thing. Here are three reasons why:

Localizing welfare programs improves accountability

As with any federal program, the food stamp program is rife with corruption. Having the federal government dictate how states administer the program takes responsibility away from the states to monitor how it’s all handled.

One of the benefits of localizing government is making people responsible for their own actions. When messes are pushed over to DC for accountability, they can get lost in the mix. Localizing allows people closer to home to ask the tough questions. That’s not to say there’s no corruption in local or state governments, but it’s much easier to identify and sort out when the buck stops locally instead of getting pushed up to the federal level.

Let states innovate as the labs of government

SNAP was intended to be a stopgap solution, but history has proven it isn’t. More people join the food stamp program than leave it. Some of this is due to the direction the economy is going where higher prices of basic living expenses outpace lower end wages. Most of the problems can be attributed to lack of innovation.

The federal government is not known for innovation. It’s just too big.

By applying the basic tenets of federalism to allow states to be the laboratories of government they were intended to be from our founding, we can see a diverse mix of solutions attempted. As some fail, other states can learn from those lessons. As others succeed, policies can be adopted and improved upon based upon those successes. The goals of both the federal and state variations of the agencies should be to help those who need it now by getting them food and in the future by making them self-sufficient. Opening up innovation at the state level is the best way to achieve both goals. This leads us to the most glaring reason we need federalism applied to food stamp (and most other) programs…

DC doesn’t shrink anything, ever

We want fewer people on food stamps. This isn’t just for the sake of taxpayers. It’s for the sake of the Americans in need. There will always be some who prefer to game the system and be supported for their whole lives. There are others who have no choice. However, there are millions who can and should be able to get back on their feet. All they need is a little help.

Washington DC is incapable of this because it goes against the nature of our current federal government system. Until we elect true federalists to enough offices across America, we’re stuck with the Democrats and Democratlites (also known as the Republicans). Both parties have grown accustomed to keeping DC in a perpetual state of growth. For every positive move like this one, there are five more programs getting boosts for no good reason other than earning the current party in power some votes.

What the USDA is proposing is that rare opportunity when a federal agency is relinquishing power to the states. We should take the successes that come from the move and use them as shining examples of how the principles of federalism can be made to work better than the current big-government system that rules over just about everything in DC.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Don McCullen

    December 6, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Democratlites can also be called JD, “Republicrates.” I actually like both terms than RINOs which conservative media popularized. Republicrates I like the best. Steve Deace came up with that one.

  2. Pingback: Federalism works best as a full-spectrum political philosophy

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Economy

Progressive think tanks: If the economy holds strong, Trump should win in a landslide

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Progressive think tanks If the economy holds strong Trump should win in a landslide

Tribalism makes it challenging to gauge where the sentiment of the most important voting blocks stand. Hyper-leftists would vote for a broken refrigerator before voting for President Trump in 2020, while the MAGA crowd would stand in line with no food, water, or a bathroom for two days if that’s what would be required for them to vote for their man.

But these won’t be the people who determine the results of the 2020 election. They never are, even if their numbers are greater on both sides as noted by Ben Shapiro in his new book. The rabid Republicans and determined Democrats may ebb and flow in size, but it’s the people in the mushy middle who win elections.

Knowing this, it’s often difficult to determine what the sentiment is if we go solely based on the news. Just as with the dedicated tribes, so too are media outlets generally spun in how they present the news. This is why a story from today on left-leaning Politico prompted a read. It was worthwhile going through the leftist spin to reach the meat of the story, which basically says if conventional wisdom about incumbents and the economy hold up and the economy can remain strong through the election, President Trump should win in a landslide regardless of who the Democrats nominate.

Models from multiple think tanks conclude the conventional model favors the President, but these are unconventional times. It’s still very possible for the economy to remain strong and for the President to be hit with another onslaught of scandals, as he was in 2016. Then, there’s the “it” factor of the Democratic nominee. Someone like Senator Kamala Harris throws in the minority-female combination as an appealing wildcard in the mix. Meanwhile, Beto O’Rourke and Senator Bernie Sanders still have incredible fundraising infrastructures that could help them dominate the money battle through the primaries and during the general election.

Of course, there’s always the possibility the economy could fall. Analysts have been predicting it in a way that’s vulgar, as if they hope the economy falls and people are hurt by it just to make sure President Trump loses in 2020.

If Republicans can put on a full-court press on the economy, something they failed miserably at in the 2018 midterms, they may be able to ride the President’s wave to victories on Capitol Hill as well. November 2020 will sneak up very quickly.

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Democrats

TIL the famous bar AOC worked at shut down over rising costs, minimum wage increase

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TIL the famous bar AOC worked at shut down over rising costs minimum wage increase

Today I learned something that surprised me, not because of the event itself but because so few people have talked about it. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is known for being a leader of the socialist movement in Washington DC after rising from the humble status of bartender to the Congresswoman of the 14th district in New York. Her policies include a push for a “living wage” of $15 per hour. I’ve always thought the wording was odd considering Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and others have been calling for a rise in “minimum wage.” Today, I found out why she’s shying away from that phrase.

When New York City raised their minimum wage $15, many businesses were hit hard, especially in the hospitality industry. Restaurants and bars started cutting hours and often even closing their doors over the increase. One of those hit hard by the massive bump was The Coffee Shop. Owner Charles Milite blamed the closure on high costs, with the rise in minimum wage as the last straw.

“The rents are very high and now the minimum wage is going up and we have a huge number of employees,” he said.

The Coffee Shop is the bar where AOC once worked.

Keep in mind, this wasn’t some random bar. The Coffee Shop in Union Square was considered a high-end establishment, buzzing all the time with “A-list” patrons. It was featured many times in the HBO show Sex and the City and had built a reputation as an “it” spot for Manhattan residents and tourists alike. In other words, this wasn’t a hole in the wall hanging on by a string. It was a vibrant, successful business for almost three decades before New York City’s untenable leftist policies, including a $15 minimum wage, became more than the bar could bear.

On the surface, many voters may see the very basic math of “oh, Democrats want to pay me more” and assume there’s no repercussions for such actions. This is why Democrats prey on those people who currently make lower wages. They feel if they can promise them something that sounds good even if they know with 100% certainty based on empirical evidence that it will actually hurt them, these new socialists are willing to make that trade. They figure they can blame the conservatives later for why the place they were working at before cut their hours, removed their jobs, or shut down because of raising the minimum wage.

As usual, socialists rely on ignorance and emotion as the driving forces behind their plans. They’re not stupid. They know their ideas won’t work. But they’re willing to push them on people anyway in hopes that ignorance will keep them in power.

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Economy

Thomas Sowell makes a clear point about Medicare-for-All

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Thomas Sowell makes a clear point about Medicare-for-All

How was the left able to take heat away from their Medicare-for-All proposal, and more specifically the estimated $32 trillion price tag over a decade? They tripled down with the Green New Deal, which some estimate would cost upwards near $100 trillion.

So, the price tag of the Democrats’ desired replacement for utterly failing Obamacare is to take current government control over healthcare and put it on a regiment of steroids and methamphetamine. When you’re going through Hell, keep going, I suppose.

But all of this could be alleviated if voters and politicians took a moment to think about the prospects of Medicare-for-All logically. Let’s erase, for a moment, the Utopian notion that taxing rich people extreme amounts will give us enough money to make healthcare free for everyone while also improving the quality. That’s the goal, right? Cheaper, better healthcare is what most people want. Conservatives believe it’s best to pull government administration out of the equation and put it all on a competitive capitalist model that has worked for nearly every other industry for over a century. Hyper-leftists want to add more government control.

Conservative commentator Thomas Sowell has some thoughts on the matter. One in particular can be wrapped up into an eloquent quote that should be ideological checkmate allowing us to win the healthcare debate.

“It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.”

Of course, our version of checkmate requires common sense, logic, and basic math skills. These attributes aren’t as readily present on the left, therefore they might hear this logic and still think single-payer makes sense.

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