Step 1: Recognizing the problem / setting the agenda
- During the depression, some farmers had a surplus of food, while others could not afford it
- When the people lost their job, they could not provide food to their families, not even themselves. Therefore, the government provided free meals to those people.
- prices for crops fell dramatically and farms across America were struggling to deal with the excess supply
- The Federal Food stamp program was designed to provide food to the needy- original program (1939-1943) was enacted by Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression
- The idea for the first FSP has been credited to various people, most notably U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace
Henry Agard Wallace was the 33rd Vice President of the United States (1941–1945), the Secretary of Agriculture (1933–1940).
- 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Wallace United States Secretary of Agriculture in his Cabinet, a post Wallace's father, Henry Cantwell Wallace, had occupied from 1921 to 1924. Henry A. Wallace was a registered Republican.
Step 2: Formulating the policy
- The Food Stamp Program required the purchase of “stamps” or coupons at benefit levels similar to what a household would normally allot to food expenditures.
- Participants in the program purchased booklets of orange stamps to buy food and household items including starch, soap and matches but the stamps could not be used to buy alcohol, tobacco or foods eaten at stores.
- For every $1 in orange stamps that were purchased, an additional $0.50 of blue stamps were given to participants. Blue stamps could be used to buy commodity surplus foods that were listed in the grocery store including dry beans, flour, corn meal, eggs and fresh vegetables.
- Food assistance was made available to low-income individuals through the purchase of food stamps and the provision of additional bonus stamps that could be used to purchase specific foods identified as being in surplus.
- Participants were required to buy the stamps so that money allocated for food purchases would not be spent on non-food items.
- Henry Wallace, created the Food Stamp Program in the United States. The initiative, called the “Food Stamps Plan,” was implemented in 1939 under the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a key component of the New Deal program.
- In 1961, the Food Stamp Program was reintroduced by President John F. Kennedy
- Ms. Isabelle M. Kelley, the principal author of the Food Stamp Act of 1964, also served as the first Director of the Food Stamp Program under President Lyndon B. Johnson
Step 3: Adopting the policy
- Original program was started in 1939 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt- that program ended in 1943.
- President John F. Kennedy started another pilot program in 1961
- After Kennedy's assassination, President Lyndon B. Johnson requested Congress to make the program permanent. They did in 1964- congress estimated that the program might serve only four million people, but it grew quickly (Food stamp program we use today).
- The Food Stamp Act of 1977 was subsequently passed under President Jimmy Carter
“During the past year, the Department of Agriculture has been conducting a food stamp program in eight pilot areas. There have been encouraging results from this program. Low income families are receiving better diets--they have been able to obtain meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs, fruits and vegetables. Retail food store sales in these areas increased 8 percent in dollar volume. There have been savings in distribution costs and benefits to the economy of the food stamp communities. I have therefore asked the Department of Agriculture to continue the program in these areas for another year and to offer the program to an additional 25 areas in 18 states. Addition of the new communities will permit us to obtain a better evaluation of the program under a wider range of operating conditions than was possible initially”- John F. Kennedy
“Members of the Congress, ladies and gentlemen: I am proud to sign the Food Stamp Act of 1964 because it is a realistic and responsible step toward the fuller and wiser use of our agricultural abundance. I believe the Food Stamp Act weds the best of the humanitarian instincts of the American people with the best of the free enterprise system. Instead of establishing a duplicate public system to distribute food surplus to the needy, this act permits us to use our highly efficient commercial food distribution system. It is one of many sensible and needed steps we have taken to apply the power of America's new abundance to the task of building a better life for every American.” - Lyndon B. Johnson
"If you don't want your tax dollars to help the poor, then stop saying that you want a country based on Christian values. Because you don't!" - Jimmy Carter
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Step 4: Implementing the policy
- President Obama added his signature to legislation that will cut $8.7 billion in food stamp benefits over the next 10 years, causing 850,000 households to lose an average of $90 per month
- Enforcing work requirements for able-bodied, childless adults on the food stamps program “has proven profoundly successful in decreasing food stamp enrollment, returning more people to work, and even increasing charitable volunteerism.” - working full-time raises most able-bodied adults out of poverty, so if states institute work requirements, it will help many of these people get off of government dependency.
- The president (Obama) did not say whether he was satisfied with the final $8.7 billion figure, or even mention the cuts at all- he praised the food stamp program and said that the final Farm Bill preserved much-needed benefits.
Cheney said the president “would much rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on a strong military or support for our troops”
- "First of all, I don't put people on food stamps. People become eligible for food stamps. Second of all, the initial expansion of food-stamp eligibility happened under my Republican predecessor, not under me. No. 3, when you have a disastrous economic crash that results in 8 million people losing their jobs, more people are going to need more support from government." -President Obama
Step 5: Evaluating the policy
- Studies revealed that the items that recipients prioritize while food shopping has led to increased malnutrition and obesity-many recipients end up making unhealthy purchases in order to minimize expenses and buy more food
- As of June more than 45.5 million Americans were still receiving the food aid
- 14.7 million people were added to the food-stamp rolls during George W. Bush’s time in office. By comparison, the net gain under Obama now stands at 13.5 million- Number getting benefits under the SNAP has been declining for nearly three years as the economy has improved
- SNAP lifted 5 million Americans, including 2.2 million children out of poverty in 2012.
- SNAP generates $1.80 in economic activity for every $1 in new SNAP benefits
- 2007-2011 spending on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program increased 135 percent to reach a cost of $78 billion last year alone
- By 2022, the agency expects 34 million people each month will receive SNAP benefits, and the program will cost $73 billion.
- According to the 2012 USDA Analysis of FNS' Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Fraud Prevention and Detection Efforts, out of an average of 13.9 million monthly recipients in 10 States,·
- “Here's the truth that the president won't tell you. Of every dollar that you hold in your hands, 70 cents of that dollar that's supposed to go to the poor doesn't. It actually goes to benefit the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. — 70 cents on the dollar"- Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)
- Two key parts to Bachmann’s statement. First, that 70 percent of the money that is supposed to go to the poor actually goes “to benefit the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.” Second, that this translates into just $3 (out of every $10) in food stamps going to the needy.