Farm Bill a Boon to Agriculture, a Bust for Food Stamps

Assistance Program Slashed by $8.7 Billion; 1,500 Santa Barbara Homes Affected

Friday, February 7, 2014
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Following three years of legislative wrangling, President Barack Obama signed the Farm Bill on Friday that expands crop insurance and funds agriculture research over the next decade. Though many lawmakers are celebrating the bipartisan victory, the bill also cuts $8.7 billion from the national food stamps program. Despite the hit, this measure’s cuts to food assistance benefits is only a fraction of the $40 billion reduction many House Republicans called for last fall.

Santa Barbara County officials expect 1,500 area households (or 3,300 individuals) will see a decrease in monthly benefits. The exact reduction is still unclear.

Last November, all 17,000 households (30,000 individuals) on food stamps in the county — 60 percent are children — received $18 less each month because the 2008 federal stimulus package ended. The average Santa Barbara household receives $306 per month in benefits. The Congressional Budget Office estimates these cuts will affect four percent of Americans who receive food assistance benefits, but will not kick anyone off the program entirely.

“Anytime that any of these safety net programs are cut, it affects people in a very real way. It not only affects the people who receive [food stamps], but it affects money that could be going into our local economy,” said Davida Willis from the county’s Social Services Department. She added that a cut of this magnitude would be too difficult for charities or churches to pick up the slack. The state could step in to fund the difference, she said, but it is too soon to tell.

But the good news is for the agriculture sector, which makes up about 20 percent of the $956 billion bill. Congresswoman Lois Capps — who represents all of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties and parts of Ventura County — pushed for the measure, calling it a win for Central Coast farmers and the economy. “The bill includes strong funding for numerous vital programs I championed for local farmers, including Specialty Crop Block Grants, the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, pest control, and the Market Access Program,” she said in a statement.

“[I] remain incredibly concerned about the cuts to SNAP,” she went on. “[Eight] billion dollars of reductions over 10 years will have a real impact on the day-to-day experiences of those depending on SNAP, especially low-income children and seniors on fixed incomes. I hope that Congress can come together to find solutions to this issue and restore these cuts in the near future.”


Independent Discussion Guidelines

According to Indy "journalist" Brugger a "Bust" is when the funding for food stamps is trimmed back to a level that is 250% higher than the annual average provided for the past 30 years.

Brugger continues a long line of lib-dem biased writers who repeat dem party talking points - all in a push to continue to expand voters dependence on their vision of big government - and create more dependency voters.

The fundamentals of this point of view are about destroying incentives for self reliance, rugged individualism and replace them with a "we know better" nanny state that drives more companies out of business and reduces the standard of living of Americans - so that they are even more dependent.

Eventually equality is achieved when we are all in the dirt, equal and together - and united in our cause against totalitarianism or despot dictatorships. Can't happen? Look at: USSA, Mao's China, Pol Pot, Cuba - and the growting soft tyranny of western Europe.

Congratulations in choosing your headline Brugger. You continue a long tradition of hurting the poor, fighting against capitalism and expanding government programs that lower everyone's lives to the bottom. As long as you feel good about it, that's all that matters, right?

realitycheck88 (anonymous profile)
February 8, 2014 at 10:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Now there you go again, talkin' all that "white-privilege" stuff. Don't you know this is no longer politically correct to talk about self-reliance and rugged individualism.

Horatio Alger is so yesterday. Julia, the Obama Girl, put an end to that nonsense. If the government puts money on the table, it is your duty to go for it, thus spoke FLOTUS Obama.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 8, 2014 at 11:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Why do so many "rugged individualism" advocates turn out to be boring conformist Marys?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 8, 2014 at 11:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

realitycheck celebrates the 1500 Santa Barbara homes which will see a reduction in the SNAP (Food Stamp) money. Conformist marys, yes .

DrDan (anonymous profile)
February 8, 2014 at 12:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Having starving people, many of whom do work isn't going to help society or the economy.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 8, 2014 at 12:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

For every 100 dollars in food stamps I receive, there's a 1000 dollars spent to provide me with several trained social workers who never forget to ask me if I'm registered to vote. Somehow they manage to forget everything that really is important to getting me back on my feet! Somehow the poor manage to never find a way out of the social workers office. SB County Social services has been scamming the poor for years...

touristunfriendly (anonymous profile)
February 8, 2014 at 2:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

i forgot something else the social workers are good at... referring their clients to the churches for support!. Religion has been picking up the slack for years, look what it's got them!
This bill sounds like something that will please the farm corporations that rely on cheap immigrant labor. Eventually we will be supporting them as well while paying for higher prices at the supermarket.
Should you expect anything else from a group of voters that can't find they're way of of a social services office? (GO DEMOCRATS!)

touristunfriendly (anonymous profile)
February 8, 2014 at 4:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It seems that quite a few folks want to comment from 3rd base where they started the game thinking they earned the triple...

Num1UofAn (anonymous profile)
February 8, 2014 at 4:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Num1: Dump the class envy and commit yourself to a year of no excuses, no resentments and no more mind-reading. The life you save will be your own, from whatever base you start running from.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 8, 2014 at 4:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Num1: Dump the class envy and commit yourself to a year of no excuses, no resentments and no more mind-reading."

WHAT A HYPOCRITE!!. Mr class envy himself. Showing his envy of any clerk in a government building because he/she has a pension and the clerk at the auto parts store doesn't. That's class envy as well Dr. Goebbels.

Little examples like this, cutting off unemployment benefits and the GOP refusing to tackle immigration because the leadership hasn't shoved the crying tetards out of the car yet will be seen in 2016 as more evidence as to why the GOP continued to implode.

There's a lot of abuse with entitlements but more importantly it's also a real life line, even for GOP voters who need it when times get tough. This just turns them into independents that either don't vote or vote democrat out of sprite. The proof is the percentage of Californians calling themselves conservative has never been lower.

2008, and especially 2012, prove your boot strap ideology only inspires the base. Get a clue and step outside the tunnel. Quit being so envious of the working class.

Validated (anonymous profile)
February 9, 2014 at 5:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There is a lot of abuse with entitlements. Appreciate your acknowledgment. They automatically go hand in hand, which is why brakes need to be put on progressive dreams of utopia. (Funded by someone else)

Envy? Not really. Capitalism has been good to me. Just a wake-up call that paying for unfounded public pension promises requires the decline of present public services, which is a poor bargain. Just trying to prevent more of the same.

Please appreciate I do recognize the need for good public services - but present ones; not mortgaging our present to pay for bloated promises that never should have been made absent the public employee unions learning they could buy the good will of elected officials easier than the public could protect themselves until it was too late.

PS: "working class" or "middle class" is union-speak buzz words for tax-payer funded public employment.

Interesting the unions try to disguise this, because they know they can't support their arguments any longer that can justify handing even more of our tax dollars over to them. So they try to get at them through deception and the back door.

We are now on to this scheme that got un into the mess we are in now. The public employee free ride is over. One wonders who will be envious next.

I love this new tactic: anyone who complains about higher taxes to pay off public employee union promises is just "envious". This is not going to sell well in Peoria; but hardly me to keep you from using it as your new post-Occupy rallying cry.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 9, 2014 at 6:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

oh validated, don't waste more time on cut-&-paste foo, he's been so full of working-class envy...he writes exactly the same to me on another thread, it's all he's got, a few rants on these pathetic threads. foo the hypocrite, boring.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
February 9, 2014 at 6:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Politicos continue to call them food stamps as nobody ever sees those pulled out in line so the uninformed don't think many people use them.
People-it's called EBT,as in debit,credit or EBT food or EBT cash!-and farmers aren't paying for the cash part.I am amazed at how many of my peers don't know this or how many 'poor' people have them.Car lots take EBT cards as well as chrome wheel shops...

garfish (anonymous profile)
February 10, 2014 at 7:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Lois Capps;

"[I] remain incredibly concerned about the cuts to SNAP,” she went on. “[Eight] billion dollars of reductions over 10 years will have a real impact on the day-to-day experiences of those depending on SNAP, especially low-income children and seniors on fixed incomes."

I'm surprised I didn't read a comment from her stating "Because of these cuts the GOP wants grandma to eat cat food and the chill'in will no longer be able to have free breakfast and lunch in school." Oh wait, it's still early in the political mud slinging.

Vote often and democrat they have been pulling the needy off the floor since, damn, I'll get back to you…..

Priceless (anonymous profile)
February 10, 2014 at 8:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh DrDan I know, his editorials are so boorish as well. The silver spoon crowd is so aggravating and amusing all at the same time.

The great majority of America supports capitalism and dreams of the excess, but they also have a heart for at least the children of the "lazy", as some put it. Continuing to cut them off only increases societies problems later.

But without those who have only the mediocre success of their fathers clamoring for attention and setting their sights upon imaginary abuses we wouldn't have such entertaining propaganda.

Foo does have a good point now and then. I agree the public sector workers enjoy benefits the private sector has had taken away. We're now hearing talk about correcting that with legislation to compensate the private sector by mandating some of the very same benefits we see in the public sector. Thank you Foo for bringing it to light.

Validated (anonymous profile)
February 10, 2014 at 11:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Validated: Be sure to follow the bankruptcy proceedings in Detroit. Public contracts including pension promises are being re-drawn.

The excesses of the public sector is the real problem in America today; not the prudence and resiliency of private enterprise when it can be left alone.

Do your reading on Protestant Ethic Capitalism, not Gordon Gecko Hollywood capitalism. It will assuage your current hysteria.

Keep these facts handy as we move into the next decade:

2024: cumulative government debt will be 79% of the GDP
2007: cumulative government debt was 35% of GDP

Was this the change you were hoping for?

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 10, 2014 at 1:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey Chicken Little, The sky never fell in the great recession and will not fall tomorrow. Comparing CA to Detroit is disingenuous at best. All the money left Detroit incase you didn't know, and we have the California Rule in regards to vested rights. Jerry Brown already gave us pension reform, but he didn't destroy unions, which is what you've been dreaming about.

Let's look at the REAL damage done with reform by the likes of Chuck Reed in San Jose. You can claim there's less public services because of benefits all you want but you can't deny the REAL cut in service when the public safety people left town.

All you say is theory Foo. Theories based on the narrow views of long gone elitists. But this isn't about the money anyway. It's about politicians seeking the endorsements of public sector unions for campaigns and initiatives. Remember Props 30 & 32??

Standing behind your ideas must be like being a Broncos fan about now.

Validated (anonymous profile)
February 10, 2014 at 2:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Validated: How do you think the US debt got so large during Obama's mishandling of the economy ….. during the "recession"?

Throwing cheaply printed money in your world view appears to be a viable alternative. It is not, and I would like more follow-up that supports your magical thinking alternative.

Figure in "quantitative easing", tapering, static US economic growth and shift of global economic engines away from the US in your response.

In other words, what is the "next big thing" for the US that will both pay off the debt and increase new revenues? Hyper-inflation could work, and give our creditors junk dollars that would easily to pay these obligations down. When do you think this will happen. And what else happens, if this is your solution.

Once you get to 100% of GDP going for debt repayment, you have transformed America. Radically. (2024 it is projected to be 79% of GDP)

You can use the simple to understand family check-book and credit card model in your answer if you like. And if you think lottery tickets will provide the magic money, you can put that into the equation too.

If you fall back only on "tax the rich", put some real figures and projections on that answer to see how well and for how long that would work. If you take incentive away, what is your next solution once that money is drained out.

You can look to Idi Amin's Uganda or Robt Mugabe's Zimbabwe for clear examples of the value of this alternative. Stripping the wealth out of a nation is only a one-time fix.

Do you think Obama's MyRA is going to save you as your Plan B?

And for bonus points, when and how did you get your devotion to "magic money" solutions? That is pretty much what drove the housing bubble, the high-tech bubble and even the Tulip Bubble. That there was a never-ending stream of magic money. Until there wasn't.

Just be prepared and be ready to be pragmatic about what we have created during the Obama administration. Some one will have to clean things up; just like we had to clean up after GW Bush.

But Bush only left us with 35% GDP devoted to paying off the government borrowing. Obama leaves us now with 79%. Obama didn't clean up. He just blamed Bush, and then made things worse. Obama is a fellow magic thinker too. Why are you heaping praise when he did things twice as bad as Bush? Just asking'.

Sure I remember Prop 30 and 32. Just like I remember prior propositions that failed the first times around, and then later became the law of the land. I also know fighting Prop 30 and 32 drained union coffers, and took place before the Bay Area BART strike.

And before the current lawsuit by students against the CA Ed Code as a violation of their civil rights that seeks to strip out many "dyed in wool" teacher union protections too.

You are on the defensive, Validated. Consider your options accordingly.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 10, 2014 at 5:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Can we all agree that Tobacco Industry subsidies should cease? That'd free up money to feed people.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 10, 2014 at 5:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Maybe Lois should be more concerned about getting the message out that America is not a place to get a free ride any longer. We tapped the till, and progressivism finally ran out of spending other people's money.

So sorry, but surely there are other nations ready, willing and able to share their bounty to whom ever knocks on their doors, or sneaks in under the running boards.

Check out those progressive paradises where socialism works: Scandinavia, Germany, France, you name it. Their doors are open and there is bounty to share with everyone.

Oooopps, Switzerland just closed its doors. Sweden is giving immigrants a bums rush now too. Germany is faltering and gotta have that EU passport to get on the gravy trains there, unless you are a Nigerian selling umbrellas on the streets, which also makes the statement things aren't so economically rosy sub-Saharan either.

Let's see what's left - ahhh, Austraila is having a booming rebound. Nope, they are closing the doors too. Your best bet now is Romania and Bulgaria, but you have to be willing to put in a hard day's work out on the farm. But they want you to come ….quickly, before they shrink up and turn the lights off.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 10, 2014 at 5:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow, big surprise, the government is transferring more money away from poor people and giving it to rich people. They've been doing that all along if you understand how the banking system and corporate privilege work. Yes, corporations get special priveleges from government that would not exist in the free market. foofighter, this might blow your mind but what I am saying is that corporations are NOT free market entities by any stretch of the imagination. Not all corporations are 'bad', but the philosophy behind the entity 'corporation' is a government created monster that allows many corporations to get away with mass murder. In this particular case, Monsanto wins.

Why can't the government just stop taking from everybody or giving to anybody? Their only job is supposed to be to protect our individual rights and property, not to try and manage nearly every segment of the entire economy..

loonpt (anonymous profile)
February 11, 2014 at 9:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow, big surprise. Retaining one's own wealth is not transferring it from the poor to the rich, since the poor never generated it in the first place. Every cent of the social safety net is a wealth transfer, which now runs approximately $40,000 per recipient in goods and services.

Where exactly does the government get its money in your world view, loonpt? Your over-use of the buzz word "corporations" has become unproductive and ideological, which discloses how truly economically ignorant your are.

Tell CalSTRS and CalPERS to start bashing "corporations" and promise their pension payouts in the future to be based only up on government printed money.

Okay it that a deal, loonpt?

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 11, 2014 at 10:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thanks for your response Alan, but none of the economic models you've compared the US to prove our future. Same arguments we're made at the beginning of "The Great Recession", especially by the buffoon editorial writers at the NP, but none of those predictions ever came true, or ever will. The last years gains in the California economy and reductions in pension debt have to be so disheartening to the doomsday crowd.

Again around the state we're seeing healthy contracts for public workers that compensate for Gov. Browns pension reform final implementation in 2018. Having weathered the storm this should be incentive to private sector workers to unionize and improve their lives, because as we saw in the last election, people power over comes the power of money alone. The everyday, work his/her butt off person, has tired of the diatribe presented by little people with big titles.

I hope you remain just who you are though, at least for the sake of sh!ts and giggles.

Validated (anonymous profile)
February 11, 2014 at 10:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Validated: The California pension debt is growing; not shrinking.

You are mistaking the value of their principal in Wall Street (gasp) corporation (gasp) investments which has rebounded, and selectively overlook the cumulative value of the promised payouts.

That amount is growing by leaps and bounds with every baby-boomer teacher retirement. And that amount is what is eroding the present value of the education dollar for our classrooms today.

Please know the difference between the value of CalSTRS and CalPERS unfunded pension pay-out liability and the current basis value of its investment principal. And the point where they no longer match. No matter how you goose the numbers. Thnx.

BTW: You can't increase the flow of dollars into the classroom today until you clean up the pension obligations made yesterday.

First and necessary step: convert teacher pensions to defined-contribution plans. Pay off those vested defined-benefit plans and move on, never to ever make that fundamental mistake again.

Pay good teachers well and revise the Calif Ed Code to be student centered; and not teacher job-protection centered.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 11, 2014 at 11:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It's plain bizarre to think poor people don't generate wealth for themselves or others. They're poor, not lazy . Most poor people today we're middle class yesterday until their country was sold out from under them.
But even basic economics doesn't confuse poor people with nonproductive people.
Some people talk about "class envy" when in fact I think it's their deepest personal fears tof poverty they are wrestling with.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 11, 2014 at 3:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

foofighter the government gets most of its money from printing and borrowing which creates inflation. That is an upward pressure on prices. We have been seeing upward pressure on prices in the last couple of decades mostly in the housing sector, energy, health care and higher education. Housing, energy and health care costs have created a huge burden on the poor. Most poor people work, they just don't make a lot of money. When they have to pay higher prices so that corporations can get a subsidy or the military industrial complex can profit billions of dollars then not only are you hurting poor people, but the companies that get the subsidy can also steal market share from other companies who didn't think to send enough lobbyists to DC and can cause them to go out of business. So corporate subsidies don't just hurt poor people through monetary inflation, they also cause monopolies and discourage lower prices and more competition within their industry and so prices receive even more upward pressure, markets become less efficient and the wealth gap increases.

Also consider that if more small government and libertarian types are able to explain this mechanism rather than simply blaming poor people on their laziness that it could help increase the small government voter base by bringing in more people. You aren't going to grow the small government voting block by acting arrogant.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
February 11, 2014 at 4:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ken is correct, poor people are often very industrious and willing to work hard. If you want to see a good example of rich people 'working hard,' watch the tv show "Vanderpump Rules".

However when you have a lot of government regulations in place it severely limits the ability of poor people to enter various markets and provide goods and services to their community.

Here is an excellent Fox News piece by libertarian John Stossel explaining this mechanism:

loonpt (anonymous profile)
February 11, 2014 at 4:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

yea, foo, I mean Alan, you do reflect the views of long gone elitists...try the robber barons of the gilded age ca. 1880s...try to get yourself at least up to the Progressive era say're like an old radio, kinda works, makes no sense..but keep cutting and pasting, keeps you busy and out of real trouble

DrDan (anonymous profile)
February 11, 2014 at 6 p.m. (Suggest removal)

DD, and you still live in a Dickensonian era instead of today where our US social safety net provides $40,000 worth of goods and services, to each welfare recipient.

US Social safety net today: (Food, housing vouchers, cash, medical care, child care, legal support, and social agency services = $40,000 in goods and services annually)

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 12, 2014 at 9:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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