CAGW Names Sec. Vilsack Porker of the Month



For Immediate Release: Contact:  Leslie K. Paige (202) 467-5334

August 23, 2011

Luke Gelber (202) 467-5318

 


(Washington, D.C.) - Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack its August 2011 Porker of the Month for asserting that the Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, qualifies as economic stimulus that drives economic growth.  In an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Sec. Vilsack called SNAP “an economic stimulus,” explaining that “every dollar of SNAP benefits generates $1.84 in the economy in terms of economic activity.”  Sec. Vilsack did not specify where he got such a precise estimate for the multiplier effects of SNAP, but it is likely that he was referring to Kenneth Hanson’s “The Food Assistance National Input-Output Multiplier (FANIOM) Model and Stimulus Effects of SNAP,” a study published in 2010 by the Department of Agriculture.


Sec. Vilsack’s claims ignited outrage from many members of the political news media and blogosphere, several of whom compared the remarks to Senate Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) July 2010 claim that unemployment insurance “creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative,” and to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s August 10, 2011 statement that extending unemployment benefits will create “up to a million” jobs. 


 “We are entering a brave new world for economics,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz.  “If one takes the ludicrous analyses of prominent Democrats seriously, it is a shame that millions more Americans do not qualify for SNAP benefits.  Indeed, the best course of action going forward would be to extend SNAP to all Americans, even affluent ones with huge salaries.  That seems to be the administration’s pro-growth strategy.


“These statements reek of desperation,” added Schatz.  “The Obama administration is presiding over an abysmal economy, staggering under persistent 9 percent plus unemployment.  They have done nothing to help and plenty to make it worse.  If food stamps qualify as stimulus, then literally any government expenditure can be justified as such.  Sec. Vilsack’s comments are indicative of the mentality that nobody spends money more wisely than government, and that if only pesky taxpayers would get out of the way and let the government spend as it sees fit, America’s economy would be back on track.  At CAGW, we maintain that private citizens spend their own money most effectively, and that the best stimulus program is a leaner government,” Schatz concluded.


For attempting to convince taxpayers that the road to prosperity is paved with food stamps, CAGW names Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack its August Porker of the Month. 


Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.  Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers. 

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