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Government pushes for automatic food stamp enrollment over telephone


Taxpayers

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(NaturalNews) It will soon be even easier to become a ward of the government, a dependent rather than a producer.

According to a new report from the Department of Agriculture, officials examined the issue of Americans being able to apply for food stamp assistance over the phone. Supporters of this idea have said that interviewing applicants in person is too time-consuming and adds too much in administrative costs.

The report examines the benefits and potential liabilities of allowing people to apply specifically for SNAP - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - benefits, which is the nation's largest and most expensive food-assistance program.

"Regulations require that states conduct face-to-face interviews, unless the state determines that a telephone interview is acceptable due to a hardship on the client," the report notes. "However, over the last decade, most states applied for and received waivers that allow for telephone interviews in all cases, without the need to document a hardship."

So in other words, in most states, SNAP has become a full-blown wealth transfer giveaway, requiring virtually no proof of need whatsoever. After all, how can you really determine such a need over the phone?

How much easier can we make this?

As further reported by The Daily Caller:

Noting the time requirements and the administration costs, the USDA with the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) conducted a limited real-world test to see if the in-person interviews are needed.

"To assess whether states' requests to eliminate the eligibility interview would have adverse effects on client and worker outcomes, FNS awarded grants to two states - Oregon and Utah - to conduct demonstrations in which the eligibility interviews at certification and recertification were completely eliminated," the report said.

Interestingly, the report was dispassionate when pointing just how much the SNAP program has grown in a few years.

The report said that there has been an increase in program participants from 17 million in 2000 to nearly 47 million in 2014, but its authors used that dramatic increase in participation as one of the main reasons that the application process ought to be made easier. The fact that it is perhaps too easy to get benefits as it is appears to be lost on the USDA, as evidenced by the dramatic growth of the program. Perhaps the better course of action would be addressing the problem of why people need to enroll in this entitlement program in the first place.

Big banks, Walmart also getting theirs

"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," said a report from the CATO Institute. "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."

There are other issues related to the dramatic expansion of SNAP as well, such as its economic impact on a few chosen industries.

Take mega-retailer Walmart, for example. The company most likely takes in a sizeable portion of the nearly $80 billion spent on the SNAP program annually, not to mention the convenience store industry, which sells junk food along with cigarettes and alcohol. As Slate has reported, the federal government has yet to disclose how taxpayer dollars via SNAP are disbursed.

We also know that at least some of the big banks are benefiting. This includes JPMorgan Chase, which adds to its revenue in nearly half of all states every time someone is enrolled in the SNAP program.

"For every American that signs up for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in 23 states, it turns out, JPMorgan Chase & Co. earns a processing fee of between 31 cents and $2.30 per month, which adds up to nearly $1 billion a year in additional revenues for the company," we reported.

Tired of paying all the time yet?

Sources:

http://dailycaller.com

http://www.fns.usda.gov

http://object.cato.org

http://www.slate.com

http://www.naturalnews.com

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