Video: Obama Ag Secretary says rise in food stamps is putting people to work

posted at 1:25 pm on August 16, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told MSNBC’s Morning Joe that the Obama administration has a jobs program already in place — and it’s food stamps. When asked about new numbers that show one in every seven Americans now receiving food stamps from the federal government, Vilsack said that’s good news. Food stamps create jobs, Vilsack insisted, and managed to even come up with a new multiplier effect number:

So here’s the question. If food stamps create jobs, like Vilsack says here, and we’re putting record numbers of Americans on food stamps, then why aren’t we seeing record job creation? If every dollar spent on food stamps creates $1.84 in production, as Vilsack argues, and the number of food stamp recipients keeps rising, then why haven’t the GDP numbers reflected that fabulous growth?

There are two answers, the first of which is two words: opportunity costs.  The supposed multiplier effect does not take into consideration the cost of taking capital from the private sector, where it can be put to use for actual growth and job creation, for use by the government.  In this case, the opportunity costs have a heavy burden of interest, since we’re not taking money from current capital but from future capital, thanks to runaway deficits.  Not only does this make less efficient use of capital, it underscores the signals to investors that the US government will practice sharply confiscatory tax policies in the future, which stunts investment and produces … well, the stagnation we’re seeing right now.

The other answer?  The multiplier effect is completely bogus.  For one thing, much of the money gets absorbed by the government bureaucracies that manage these programs.  Second, as I alluded earlier, the evidence we see all around us shows us that we can’t get economic growth through government welfare programs.  If what Vilsack said was true, we’d be better off seizing all income and handing out food stamps.

There are good humanitarian and social reasons for safety-net programs like unemployment insurance and food stamps, but economic growth isn’t one of them.  The rise in both are indicators of failing economics.

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Comment pages: 1 2

So if every American were on food stamps, we’d have unprecedented economic growth? Is that really the argument?

lorien1973 on August 16, 2011 at 1:27 PM

I’ll take $5 billion worth of food stamps, please.

We’ll all be rich in no time.

fossten on August 16, 2011 at 1:28 PM

So if we put 300 million Americans on food stamps, everyone will have a job.

Bishop on August 16, 2011 at 1:28 PM

They think we are stupid and they prove it every time that they open their mouths.

Mord on August 16, 2011 at 1:31 PM

This really is the stupidest administration ever inflicted upon the American people. Where do they come up with this shiite?

Bishop on August 16, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Surely they can’t be that stupid.

txag92 on August 16, 2011 at 1:31 PM

So if we put 300 million Americans on food stamps, everyone will have a job.
Bishop on August 16, 2011 at 1:28 PM

AKA “The Obama Full Employment Plan”.

whatcat on August 16, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Well, someone has to print those food stamps!

carbon_footprint on August 16, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Bishop on August 16, 2011 at 1:28 PM

If we put 300 million on unemployment insurance and food stamps, then everyone will have a job, the oceans will calm, and the earth will heal…

/

Seven Percent Solution on August 16, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Unemployment creates new jobs too…

PatriotRider on August 16, 2011 at 1:32 PM

I am sure they are hiring new workers to print food stamps.

Think of the people who have to make the ink!

The people who make the plastic Cards?

This is a booming market!

portlandon on August 16, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Surely they can’t be that stupid.

txag92 on August 16, 2011 at 1:31 PM

They are….

sandee on August 16, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Surely they can’t be that stupid.

txag92 on August 16, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Yes, they can. And don’t call me Shirley.

whatcat on August 16, 2011 at 1:32 PM

This is brilliant!

I need volunteers to buy me dinner every night so I can spur the economy. Any true patriots out there ready to do some spurring?

NotCoach on August 16, 2011 at 1:33 PM

The sad (and frightening) part is, these morons actually believe this garbage.

AZCoyote on August 16, 2011 at 1:33 PM

The people on food stamps are buying stuff that they would buy if they had a job only less of it. Some multiplier.

Shtetl G on August 16, 2011 at 1:33 PM

So when Obama unveils his jobs program in Sept. we can expect clothing stamps, housing stamps, gasoline stamps, Chevy Volt stamps……until we have full employment!

cartooner on August 16, 2011 at 1:33 PM

I’m sure Zero will make this part of his announcement over the “coming weeks”…

PatriotRider on August 16, 2011 at 1:33 PM

OT:
Headline Drudge

Perry 29%
Romney 18%
Bachmann 13%

Let the bodies hit the floor.

carbon_footprint on August 16, 2011 at 1:33 PM

Obama and his followers are lying PsOS. They are socialists and will say anything to justify additional transfer payments. We need to rid the American body of this cancer.

GaltBlvnAtty on August 16, 2011 at 1:34 PM

NotCoach on August 16, 2011 at 1:33 PM

Would you like fries with that???

PatriotRider on August 16, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Remember, this fool was touted as ‘rat Presidential material.

Lanceman on August 16, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Here is the $1.84 calculation:

1) Recepient gets $1 in food stamps.
2) Recepient sells food stamps at $0.84 on the dollar.
3) Recepient now buys $0.84 in merchandise.
4) Food stamp buyer buys $1 of food.

WashJeff on August 16, 2011 at 1:35 PM

If food stamps create jobs, like Vilsack says here, and we’re putting record numbers of Americans on food stamps, then why aren’t we seeing record job creation?

That could be asked of any wealth redistribution scam the National Socialist Left tries to pull off.

The answer is always that they don’t work, but that doesn’t stop the National Socialist Left from trying the same scam over and over again.

Chip on August 16, 2011 at 1:35 PM

carbon_footprint on August 16, 2011 at 1:33 PM

And no, Ricklickers, that is not a “halo” photograph of the governor, that is the sun.

carbon_footprint on August 16, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Don’t forget Ed, Jay Carney says unemployment benefits creates jobs too.

Knucklehead on August 16, 2011 at 1:33 PM

That’s why they keep extending them. Maybe they’ll extend them all the way to age 65 and switch us to social security! Wait……that would be socialism……?

cartooner on August 16, 2011 at 1:35 PM

The Department of Jobs Food Stamps!

SlaveDog on August 16, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Would you like fries with that???

PatriotRider on August 16, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Yes. But they don’t need to be supersized.

NotCoach on August 16, 2011 at 1:37 PM

So food stamps create jobs, yet when there’s more jobs, there’s a lower demand for food stamps. Someone ask a Bambi advisor to explain this one. I want to see a head explode, Scanners style.

The Mega Independent on August 16, 2011 at 1:37 PM

Heckuva job, Tommy.

TXUS on August 16, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Yep, Food Stamps creates jobs allright…check-out people at Super Walmart for the heavies coming thru the line..

PatriotRider on August 16, 2011 at 1:38 PM

False.

Unemployment creates jobs.

fogw on August 16, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Whoever gets the nomination only needs to put a few of these insane clips together for some campaign adds.

Simply unbelievable.

koolbrease on August 16, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Obama and his henchmen must truly think everyone else is stupid.

However, I’m sure crr6 buys the notion that food stamps create jobs.

darwin on August 16, 2011 at 1:39 PM

If we give everyone a car, that will stimulate the economy; people need to design, build, process and ship the cars.

Same for houses, clothing, boats, motorcycles, lawn furniture, pools, garden accessories, you name it.

You people are morons for not seeing how this works.

Bishop on August 16, 2011 at 1:39 PM

This country is imploding, and we are spending time addressing this madness – from people in power. It’s just insane. My head hurts.

forest on August 16, 2011 at 1:40 PM

America is in a sad state when the percentage of people on food stamps is sold as a sign of success.

We always hear the democratics yak about eliminating ‘waste, fraud and abuse’ from the Medicare program. How about a program to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse from the Food Stamp program? How about a reporting program with cash awards modeled after the IRS reporting program?

slickwillie2001 on August 16, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Poverty is the new employment!

Meric1837 on August 16, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Every $1.00 in food stamp generates $1.84, but it costs the government $3.68 to collect the taxes and administer the program, so the net is -$1.84.

I’ve also noticed that WIC signs are larger and more prominent over merchandise at the local grovcery store. Welcome to dependency.

John Deaux on August 16, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Good grief!!
Where does Soetoro find these nuts…

karra on August 16, 2011 at 1:41 PM

This is the kind of genius that only a Harvard Law graduate can recognize and appreciate. You plebes just don’t get it!

AZCoyote on August 16, 2011 at 1:44 PM

Bishop on August 16, 2011 at 1:39 PM

I am all for it, I just like cutting out the middle man. So when are you going to send me a new car and buy me a house? It should be soon because the economy needs our help ASAP.

NotCoach on August 16, 2011 at 1:45 PM

OT, but I guess Barry is really on a listening tour of the “little” people. He’s at a “town hall” meeting with 100 hand picked audience members at a Junior College. Bet there will be some hard hitting questions there…..

sandee on August 16, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Don’t forget Ed, Jay Carney says unemployment benefits creates jobs too.

Knucklehead on August 16, 2011 at 1:33 PM

..don’t be too hard on the Carney Barker. He got mugged in the congressional cloakroom by that hot vixen, Pelosi.

The War Planner on August 16, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Well, then, what’s everyone worried about? we’re all gonna be rich! Yipppeeeeeeee!!!! For free of course!

tinkerthinker on August 16, 2011 at 1:46 PM

There are s few of them out there blink

cmsinaz on August 16, 2011 at 1:46 PM

I always ask liberals who agree with this stupid theory, “where does the money come from.”

They’re flummoxed.

When you take water out of one end of the pool and dump it into the other end of the pool, the net change is ZERO.

PattyJ on August 16, 2011 at 1:46 PM

The other answer? The multiplier effect is completely bogus.

87% of all statistics are made up. /sarc

Mangy Scot on August 16, 2011 at 1:48 PM

Move over Jimmy Carter, there’s a new welfare king in the oval office. (Oh, and Michelle, you’re gonna need a bigger garden)

Rovin on August 16, 2011 at 1:48 PM

I’m becoming more and more convinced that the people in the Obama administration are idiots.

sadatoni on August 16, 2011 at 1:48 PM

When you take water out of one end of the pool and dump it into the other end of the pool, the net change is ZERO.

PattyJ on August 16, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Love this analogy.

carbon_footprint on August 16, 2011 at 1:48 PM

If only that 800 billion stimulus had been spent on food stanps and unemployment benefits for the masses this thing would already be over. Perhaps we do need another stimulus, now that we know how to spend it.

a capella on August 16, 2011 at 1:49 PM

Friend owns a grocery – he tells me a customer comes in, slides his foodstamp credit card (for all name brand items of course) and still had an $1100.00 balance on card when done.

He said that poor person then went outside and jumped into the drivers seat of a brand new Ford truck.

Life is good for 47 million. Their job is to spend our money.

Ris4victory on August 16, 2011 at 1:49 PM

PattyJ on August 16, 2011 at 1:46 PM

When the water changes hands 100 times before reaching the other end most has been spilt from the bucket. So we send 100 more inefficient bureaucrats to go over to the neighbor’s pool to borrow water in order to keep our pool from emptying too quickly.

NotCoach on August 16, 2011 at 1:50 PM

I’m becoming more and more convinced that the people in the Obama administration are idiots.

sadatoni on August 16, 2011 at 1:48 PM

They think weren’t idiots and will buy whatever they say.

darwin on August 16, 2011 at 1:51 PM

The Times decides that the “little people” should be taxed more too, just a year later.

Letting all of the cuts expire at the end of 2012 would save $3.8 trillion over the next decade. Letting the tax cuts expire for those making more than $250,000 would save $700 billion. That would make a real dent in the $2.4 trillion in total deficit reduction envisioned in the debt limit deal.
A sensible and fair approach would be to let the high-end tax cuts expire as scheduled, but keep the other tax cuts for another year.

J_Crater on August 16, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Oh Ed. You just poo poo all of Obama’s job creation programs! Do we have to send Bob Beckel over to your house to sit on you teach you a lesson?

Mr_Magoo on August 16, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Hey, Tom Vilsack, doesn’t military spending put people to work???

ndanielson on August 16, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Is it possible we’re being dragged down by the Ruling Class to purposely force into something like the Germans and French are doing today in Europe?

The Cloward-Piven “ing” of the U.S. is going full speed ahead apparently.

PappyD61 on August 16, 2011 at 1:52 PM

So if we put 300 million Americans on food stamps, everyone will have a job.
Bishop on August 16, 2011 at 1:28 PM
AKA “The Obama Full Employment Plan”.

whatcat on August 16, 2011 at 1:32 PM

THIS.

PappyD61 on August 16, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Food stamps are a jobs program?

We’re getting very close here to “war is peace, freedom is slavery”, etc.

tsj017 on August 16, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Maybe Michigan didn’t get Obama’s memo. Certainly they wouldn’t want to increase their unemployment rates…

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/08/09/michigan-kicks-30000-college-students-off-food-stamps/

GrannySunni on August 16, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Well, someone has to print those food stamps!

And imagine the jobs created if you have each one hand printed and do away with the evil automation!

katablog.com on August 16, 2011 at 2:01 PM

So if we put 300 million Americans on food stamps, everyone will have a job.

Bishop on August 16, 2011 at 1:28 PM

More than that. There would be 252 million more jobs than people. 300M * 1.84 = 552M.

Full employment, and everyone gets to eat for free. Damn, socialism is great when you use the right kind of math.

BobMbx on August 16, 2011 at 2:04 PM

Mark Levin’s rant on this should be hilarious tonight.

surrounded on August 16, 2011 at 2:05 PM

OT:
Headline Drudge

Perry 29%
Romney 18%
Bachmann 13%

Let the bodies hit the floor.

carbon_footprint on August 16, 2011 at 1:33 PM

LOL. You forgot the second link

AH_C on August 16, 2011 at 2:06 PM

When you take water out of one end of the pool and dump it into the other end of the pool, the net change is ZERO.

PattyJ on August 16, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Technically, there would be a net decrease due to spillage & expanded evaporation plus the net wated energy to move the water. Just saying.

AH_C on August 16, 2011 at 2:09 PM

f we give everyone a car, that will stimulate the economy; people need to design, build, process and ship the cars.

Same for houses, clothing, boats, motorcycles, lawn furniture, pools, garden accessories, you name it.

You people are morons for not seeing how this works.

Bishop on August 16, 2011 at 1:39 PM

What amazes me…

… is that throughout the history of man, no one has ever thought of this before.

Oh, wait…!

Seven Percent Solution on August 16, 2011 at 2:10 PM

I’ll take $5 billion worth of food stamps, please.

Mr. Geithner, is that you?

GalosGann on August 16, 2011 at 2:10 PM

kurtzz3 on August 16, 2011 at 2:16 PM

(repeatedly hitting forehead on desk)

kurtzz3 on August 16, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Arbeit macht frei.

That would make for a snappy new logo on the $1 million currency note, right next to a pic of PBHO.

Bishop on August 16, 2011 at 2:18 PM

In this case, the opportunity costs have a heavy burden of interest, since we’re not taking money from current capital but from future capital, thanks to runaway deficits. 

Actually, we are taking it from current capital. A dollar borrowed by the government is a dollar not available to private enterprise. The fact that it has to be payed back is just the tip of the iceberg.

Count to 10 on August 16, 2011 at 2:18 PM

So the Ag secretary is telling us that the government is so inefficient that it costs them $0.84 to create $1.00 in food stamps. And yes, any American citizen could take that $1 and make far more than $1 of food from it.

katablog.com on August 16, 2011 at 2:19 PM

Are the people stuck in the car that’s still stuck in the ditch while Republicans are drinking Slurpees ™ getting food stamps? At least, I’m assuming the car is still stuck in the ditch. Maybe it’s been abandoned and nobody cares anymore?

/s

karl9000 on August 16, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Winning The Future???

Unemployment insurance actually causes people to forgo jobs that pay less than the insurance. Making less employment. This is crazier than Krugman’s space aliens

Sekhmet on August 16, 2011 at 2:20 PM

So now welfare helps the economy and food satmps put people to work.

You know just a few short decades ago statements like this would have had you committed.

I guess that shows how well liberals think they’re brainwashing has worked.

darwin on August 16, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Hope and Handouts

faraway on August 16, 2011 at 2:24 PM

This country is imploding, and we are spending time addressing this madness – from people in power. It’s just insane. My head hurts.
forest on August 16, 2011 at 1:40 PM

The country survived the New Deal, my guess is that it can survive the New Deal II (or is that III now?).

Count to 10 on August 16, 2011 at 2:25 PM

These people are either blithering idiots, or they think that we are (possibly a combination of both).

PJ Emeritus on August 16, 2011 at 2:29 PM

“Hey man, I need a job.”

-Here, take this booklet of food stamps.

“But I need a job.”

-That is a job.

“Oh, ok.”

-Now get to work.

Bishop on August 16, 2011 at 2:31 PM

At 250,000 and climbing, the government sector has been the only part of the economy that’s grown since the Obama administration came into office. He must be employing tens of thousands to administer the food stamp program.

Can you imagine the howls of laughter from the left/press if a Republican administration trumpeted how awesome their foodstamp program was?

RobertE on August 16, 2011 at 2:33 PM

I have been lied to by experts in my life but this takes the cake.Take the foodstamps away and issue them MRE’s if they are eligible.

docflash on August 16, 2011 at 2:34 PM

“I’ll take STUPIDEST Demotard line of the week for $14 TRILLION Alex………..”

Katfish on August 16, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Loaves and fishes.

Chickyraptor on August 16, 2011 at 2:39 PM

In the USSR 100% of the population was on food stamps, Section 8 housing, etc. How did that turn out genius?

angryed on August 16, 2011 at 2:42 PM

He was a clueless, spendaholic governor and he’s a clueless, spendaholic Ag sec.

gitarfan on August 16, 2011 at 2:43 PM

Compared to his fellow Dimocrats, Obama might not be all that stupid after all…

Jaibones on August 16, 2011 at 2:44 PM

What’s up with Iowa and electing a clown like this as their governor. When did farmers turn stupid?

angryed on August 16, 2011 at 2:47 PM

Gosh, between food stamps and unemployment benefits, we are clearly on a production trajectory that would rival any known to man.

BKeyser on August 16, 2011 at 2:48 PM

Tom Vilsack is a complete idiot, trust me I know. Known as Governor nut s@ck in Iowa. Perfect choice for Obama, terrible choice for America.

IowaWoman on August 16, 2011 at 2:50 PM

They think we are stupid and they prove it every time that they open their mouths.

Mord on August 16, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Or they are stupid. My favorite was the “Extending unemployment benefits is good for the economy” schtick they also tried.

dogsoldier on August 16, 2011 at 2:52 PM

“I’ll take STUPIDEST Demotard line of the week for $14 TRILLION Alex………..”

Katfish on August 16, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Thread winner!

Tim Zank on August 16, 2011 at 2:52 PM

What’s up with Iowa and electing a clown like this as their governor. When did farmers turn stupid?

angryed on August 16, 2011 at 2:47 PM

Not the farmers, look to Ames, Iowa City, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Davenport. We fight these urban centers every election.

IowaWoman on August 16, 2011 at 2:55 PM

The problem is that these “intellectuals” think that if something works on paper than it must work in the real world. If they would get their heads out of their a$$e$ and look around they might see that it is not working!!!

ctmom on August 16, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Isn’t Vilsack the one who fired Shirley Sherrod instantly after seeing that youtube clip?

forest on August 16, 2011 at 2:59 PM

The number of food stamp recipients should be capped at a percentage of population. 5% would be 1 in 20. 1 in 7 is way too high.

AnotherOpinion on August 16, 2011 at 3:01 PM

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