Thursday, August 22, 2013

Kristi Noem's Logic: Today's Lesson on Oxymoron

The definition of the word "oxymoron" is a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.  Another good example is Kristi Noem's belief in how we should handle the SNAP program.  She is arguing that we should make people have a job and can pay for their food before we give food stamps and that would should implement a costly drug testing policy if people want to eat.  
In September, Noem said, the House will tackle legislation to tackle the nutrition side of the farm bill again with the hope of instituting cuts. 
Noem said nutrition funding needs to go to those who really need it. There has been discussion of income testing for recipients as well as possible drug testing and work requirements for those needing assistance. 
There would be exemptions for the elderly if such testing was instituted, she said. 
"Some of us have a little heartburn with making senior citizens take a drug test before they receive food stamps," she said.
The elderly in this case is actually set at the age of 55.

So the idea is that people who have a need to food stamps are whacked out druggies and we shouldn't be giving our money to those meth-head welfare parasites.  Right....That seems logical?  Except the problem is that people not on food stamps and receiving government benefits like farm aid and farm insurance are just as likely to use drugs.
On every measure we examine, SNAP recipients are only slightly more likely than non-recipients to display substance use disorders. Yet the absolute risks associated with SNAP receipt are quite small. And some obvious socio-demographic subgroups display much higher prevalence of substance use disorders than SNAP recipients do.
 The proof is in the labs of democracy, the states.  Florida passed a low to require drug testing for benefits.  The results:
The Florida experience proved to be a costly waste of taxpayers money according to the Tampa Tribune.  “The Tampa Tribune investigated the results of those July 2011 drug tests and found that “96 percent proved to be drug free”, another 2 percent never bothering to complete the lengthy application process, and 2 percent actually failing drug testing. At an average cost of $30 per test, the state was hemorrhaging tax dollars at a rate of “$28,800-$43,200 monthly”… FAR out pacing the supposed “savings” from preventing drug-abusers from gaming the system to buy drugs.”Crooks and Liars  
But maybe we need to test farmers, grandma and grandpa, and seven year-old children.  They can be just as guilty. Ask this farmer from Vermont:
A Vermont farmer has been charged in a large marijuana trafficking ring involving drugs that federal officials believe were smuggled across the U.S.-Canadian border. 
But in the end all of this is a smoke screen to claim that you are tough on something while you allow farm insurance sellers to get rich off the government.  This whole thing is based around less than 10% of the recipients of SNAP benefits:
In a meeting with the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board last year, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said only eight percent of people getting food stamps, officially referred to as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, are on welfare. 
“Ninety-two percent are not,” Vilsack said. “They are senior citizens, people with disabilities, men and women who are working — who may be working a part-time job or a full-time job that doesn’t pay them enough to make ends meet — and children. Nearly 40 percent of SNAP beneficiaries are children.” 
Where is the "logic" in anything Ms. Noem is talking about when it comes to the handling of the farm bill? 

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