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We Have What? Food-Stamp Recruiters. Unbelievable!

In a lengthy, front-page, below-the-fold story in today's Washington Post, Eli Saslow in Fort Pierce, Florida, writes about the job of a food-stamp (now called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) recruiter, saying:

". . . it is (Dillie) Nerios’s job to enroll at least 150 seniors for food stamps each month, a quota she usually exceeds. Alleviate hunger, lessen poverty: These are the primary goals of her work. But the job also has a second and more controversial purpose for cash-strapped Florida, where increasing food-stamp enrollment has become a means of economic growth, bringing almost $6 billion each year into the state. The money helps to sustain communities, grocery stores and food producers. It also adds to rising federal entitlement spending and the U.S. debt.

"Nerios prefers to think of her job in more simple terms: “Help is available,” she tells hundreds of seniors each week. “You deserve it. So, yes or no?”

Later, Saslow adds:

"A decade ago, only about half of eligible Americans chose to sign up for food stamps. Now that number is 75 percent.

"Rhode Island hosts SNAP-themed bingo games for the elderly. Alabama hands out fliers that read: “Be a patriot. Bring your food stamp money home.” Three states in the Midwest throw food-stamp parties where new recipients sign up en masse:

Seems food stamps have evolved from being a welfare safety-net program into a federal government program to shore up the economy. Saslow describes the brochures handed out by the food stamp-recruiter this way: "SNAP brochures . . . the bold type on the brochure. 'Applying is easy.' 'Eat right!' 'Every $5 in SNAP generates $9.20 for the local economy.'"

In a related story last month, Saslow wrote how  "food stamps put Rhode Island town on monthly boom-and-bust cycle." We've growled several times over the past six months about food stamps, including December 16, 2012 when we growled about the sky rocketing use of food stamps; January 12, 2013 when we growled that American taxpayers spent a record $80.4 billion on food stamps; February 10, 2013 when we quoted Stephen Moore about the use of food stamps; and most recently March 11, 2013 when we growled about the use and abuse of food stamps.

Finally, speaking of fraud in the food stamp program. In a recent story at CNS News (HT the Mark Levin Show), Joe Schoffstall writes, "In 2012, a U.S. Department of Agriculture official said that food stamp fraud totals $750 million each year - a number that more than doubles the cost of trafficking reported in a 2006- 2008 USDA study."

UPDATE (54/30/13) At the Heritage Foundation's blog, The Foundry, today, Rachel Sheffield has a great summary of the food stamp problem.

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