Wes Moore: “Mr. Secretary, good morning. Many people don’t know that actually food stamps fall under the Department of Agriculture. And a report was just released that nearly 1 in 7 Americans now are currently on food stamps. What strategies — what’s being done right now and being done going forward that is really addressing poverty and the poor within the country and bringing some alleviation to those kinds of numbers?”
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack: “Well, obviously, it’s putting people to work, which is why we’re going to propose some interesting things during the course of the forum this morning. Later this morning, we’re going to have a press conference with myself and Secretary Mavis and Secretary Chu to announce something that’s never happened in this country which we think is exciting in terms of job growth. But I should point out that when you talk about the snap program or the food stamp program, you have to recognize that it’s also an economic stimulus. Every dollar of snap benefits generates $1.84 in the economy in terms of economic activity. If people are able to buy a little more in the grocery store, then someone has to stock it, shelve it, process it, package it, ship it. All of those are jobs. It’s the most direct stimulus you can get in the economy during these tough times. The reason why these numbers have gone up is we’ve done a pretty good job of working with states that have done a poor job in the past about the getting word out about this program. States like California and Texas and Florida underperformed and we’re now working with them to make sure that people who are eligible get the benefits and therefore help stimulate their local economy.” – MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” 8/16/11.
Mr. Secretary, I most humbly observe that you do not understand the definitions of “benefit,” and “stimulus,” nor what exactly is entailed in “economic activity,” and how $1.84 is actually generated in the economy.