Newark Mayor Corey Booker, prepping for his all-but-certain 2013 New Jersey gubernatorial candidacy, has decided on a publicity stunt to raise national name recognition: he’s going to try to live for a week on $4 per day in food. Why? Because, supposedly, that’s the amount of money food stamp recipients have to live on. The point: we can’t cut food stamps, for if we do, we’ll be starving those on food stamps.
Only one problem: as the office of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) points out, those on food stamps are surviving on far more than $4 per day.
Here’s how. The US Department of Agriculture figure out how much to give each family under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – notice the “supplemental) by figuring out what it costs a household to buy a month’s worth of healthy food. The whole point of SNAP, then, is to buy a month’s worth of healthy food. It’s been calculated by them. But SNAP is designed to provide assistance beyond the 30% of net income normally spent by families on food. Only those who literally earn nothing receive the entire SNAP benefit.
So if Mayor Booker is shelling out $29.78 each week, we would assume that he’s assuming about $13,000 per year. That means he’d spend about $89 per month on food, according to SNAP estimates. According to the Thrifty Food Plan Calculator provided by liberal Tufts University, he could buy a healthy 2,300 calories per day, enough to feed him with vegetables, fruits, grains, meat, and milk.
Booker also neglects that those who earn $13,000 per year can take tons of other state and federal benefits. They’re not living on $4 per day. They’re probably receiving close to $25,000 in federal benefits. And that’s not even including state benefits.
Booker’s publicity stunt is just that – a stunt. But don’t look for the media to uncover his tacit lies.