Since President Lyndon Baines Johnson declared “war on poverty,” U.S. taxpayers have spent $15 trillion on so-called anti-poverty programs–a figure slightly less than the national debt.
Sean Hannity, Government Accountability Institute President Peter Schweizer, and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon explored the explosive growth of the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in a one-hour Fox News special tonight titled “Boomtown 2: The Business of Food Stamps.”
In 1969, just 2.8 million Americans received food stamps. Today, over 47 million Americans are on food stamps. The Fox News special explained that one contributing factor to the massive expansion of the food stamp program is the crony capitalism that has cropped up around the anti-poverty program.
Soda makers, for example, bag an estimated $4 billion a year in taxpayer money through the food stamp program. Efforts to kill the so-called “soda subsidy” have been met with fierce resistance and lobbying by the soda industry.
In Florida, State Senator Ronda Storms (R-Valrico) introduced a bill last year that would keep taxpayer-funded SNAP benefits from being spent on non-essential items like sodas, candy, chips, ice cream, and other junk foods.
“The biggest opponents I have right now are Coca Cola, the soda companies, the chip companies and the convenience store operators,” said Storms in an interview with Fox News.
State Representative John Wood (R-Winter Haven) said Storms’ provision was a step in the right direction.
“We are talking about a government benefit,” said Wood. “And therefore, in my mind, we can restrict how that benefit is utilized.”
“Boomtown 2″ also discussed how companies that administer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards profit when the welfare rolls swell. Since 2004, for example, JP Morgan, which donated $808,799 to Barack Obama in 2008, has made at least $560,492,596 running EBT programs for 18 states.
Despite the $15 trillion U.S. taxpayers have spent since the war on poverty’s inception, poverty in America is largely unchanged. This week, figures from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that nearly 50 million Americans live below the federal poverty line.