At a time when more than 51% of Americans are relying on the nation’s $75 Billion food stamp program, it has become the stuff political wedge used to attack the President for his economic policies. The republicans have spun America’s reliance on the system as a direct reflection on the over reach of the democratic party. Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan has proposed slashing food stamp spending and turning it into a block grant program.
Democrats have spoke out in an effort to remind voters precisely where the economic problems began; under the previous administration. They continue, the record dependence for food assistance has only increased since the economic woes of 2008.
Those are the typical political posturings of political animals, however to Mr. Ryan’s dismay, the food assistance program has been a boon; a stimulus of sorts to many of our nation’s food distributors as well as their shareholders.
Tony Vernon, the incoming CEO at the world’s third largest food and beverage company, has come out against cutbacks. According to The Financial Times this past Sunday, Vernon isn’t the only major executive to make his political views known regarding the strong bottom lines strengthened by the program.
In this case, food stamps are vital to Kraft’s bottom line. Food stamp purchases make up at least one-sixth of Kraft’s revenue and an even larger share of the company’s total sales, Vernon said in the FT article. America’s biggest food makers and retailers have joined in the fight against pending cuts to federal food assistance programs largely because they rely heavily on sales purchased with food stamps.
Republicans are being pressured by the lobbyists representing these distributors and suppliers to our nation’s grocers. Democrats are not going to let the opportunity go to waste, so they are touting the support it has given to both ends of the supply chain, the supply side as well as the demand side. Last month we submitted a post, “Reforming Your Rights”, which spoke of the entitlement program Dems have gone on record to speak of the unexpected benefits the food program has been the source of.
The food stamp program has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. Funding for SNAP, as it’s known, jumped to $72 billion in 2011, up from $30 billion just four years earlier. Some health groups have argued that food stamps are too often used to buy junk food from companies like Kraft and Walmart.
All things are political in the 24hr cable news cycle. Just this morning, there was “Breaking News” about CNN’s Wolf Blitzer’s new glasses…Really? So after former GOP Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich called Obama “The Food Stamp President”, the term among conservatives has set the imagery for the fall campaigns and has been repeated as a mantra for the anti-Obama movement.
Wall Street has benefited from the program by leaps and bounds. Just as the healthcare industry will reap the rewards of Universal Healthcare, both ends of the supply chain in various sectors have found ways to survive in these economically challenged times. Kraft’s Vernon is concerned about losing the additional revenues, just as Americans are concerned about losing the additional food assistance.
That’s my story and um sticking to it!