Sunday, January 15, 2012

PA Gov to Poor: Stay Poor!

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett informed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (which oversees the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, aka Food Stamps) last December 28 that his administration will resurrect the limitation on assests the recipients may possess. Federal guidelines permit states to apply an asset limitation as long as it is not less than $2,000, a figure set in 1980. The Rendell administration dropped the limitation in 2008 because it was harmful to those who needed assistance.

What this zombie requirement does is make it much more difficult for someone to get out of poverty--and therefore more dependent on programs such as SNAP. The reason given for restarting the asset test is to see that "people with resources are not taking advantage of the food-stamp program," according to Department of Public Welfare spokesperson Anne Bale.

Bale told the Philadelphia Inquirer that approximately 2 percent of Pennsylvania's 1.8 million Food Stamp recipients would be affected by the test. Federal Statistics estimate the rate of Food Stamp fraud in Pennsylvania is 0.1 percent, among the lowest in the nation. Do the math: 1,800,000 x 0.02 x 0.001 = (State spends a whole lot of money hoping to prevent a couple dozen cases of fraud).

That's right--Pennsylvania will probably spend a lot more than it can hope to recapture. And that doesn't include the economic impact to food merchants who will also lose.
Photo "Migrant Agricultural Worker's Family," by Dorothea Lange, 1936 (Library of Congress

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5:29 PM  

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