POLITICS
04/10/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Glenn Beck Watch: Food For Non-Thought

In these harsh economic times, things are tough for ordinary Americans. But is that any reason for our citizens to avail themselves of food stamps and not watch their families slowly starve? Glenn Beck sure doesn't think so! From his radio show:

GLENN: More people are standing in line for food stamps than ever before in our nation's history. Not being reported is that during the last decade, eligibility requirements to obtain food stamps has been relaxed, and for the first time our Government is advertising food stamps. "Hello, friend. Do you need food stamps? I'm Uncle Sam and I'm here to provide that safety net for you." The cities where food stamps have been advertised, New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Raleigh/Durham, Denver, Chicago, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, and Philadelphia.

Stu, do me a favor. Run the list of the top 10 cities with illegal aliens in it, will you?

STU: Sure, I'll look it up.

GLENN: I'll bet you that New York City maybe, Los Angeles, San Diego, maybe Las Vegas, Albuquerque are in the top 10. Just check it out for me.

STU: Yes, comrade.

GLENN: And then do me another favor. Find out the format of these stations. Find out, run a list of what the format is on these stations that they're advertising. Find out if they're English-speaking stations. Find out what they are for me, will you? The idea here is that we're not only advertising, we are lowering the eligibility. In New York Mayor Bloomberg restored access to individuals by reversing the rules that Rudy Giuliani put in. So as soon as Rudy Giuliani left, Bloomberg, who is a frickin' socialist Progressive -- good news, comrades -- he's reversed a lot of the rules. So during the last seven years, more and more people keep joining.

Gotta admit, the guy is thorough. Not content to just provide a heaping dose of dated Red Scare paranoia, he works in a dollop of his trademarked ethnocentric pandering (to borrow a Lou Dobbs term) as well. Here's an interesting fact about food stamps, though: they supply food. I've never been unfortunate enough to assess how much productivity I lose whilst starved and malnourished, but I'd hazard a guess that I'd be doing the machinery of capitalism very little good.

Why might people be signing up for food stamps in greater numbers? Well, according to Stacy Dean, who directs food stamp policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "People sign up for food stamps when they lose their jobs, or their wages go down because their hours are cut." Huh. I wonder if there's anything like that going on?

Driven by a painful mix of layoffs and rising food and fuel prices, the number of Americans receiving food stamps is projected to reach 28 million in the coming year, the highest level since the aid program began in the 1960s...

But recent rises in many states appear to be resulting mainly from the economic slowdown, officials and experts say, as well as inflation in prices of basic goods that leave more families feeling pinched. Citing expected growth in unemployment, the Congressional Budget Office this month projected a continued increase in the monthly number of recipients in the next fiscal year, starting Oct. 1 -- to 28 million, up from 27.8 million in 2008, and 26.5 million in 2007.

So, like I said, things appear to be tough for ordinary Americans. Of course, when you're hauling in Glenn Beck money, you can do as he does: rail at the policies that led to the economic downturn and unemployment, AND yell at the people most keenly affected by the downturn. Were it possible to draw sustenance from Beck's irate discharges, Americans by the score could line up to suckle at his milky teats.

But what of the focus of Beck's ire in this case, that the government is relentlessly, and dangerously increasing the public's access to food stamps? Well, as it turns out, that's not exactly true, either. As a part of the glorious bipartisan economic stimulus package, "Democrats dropped calls for increases in food stamps and an extension of unemployment compensation." It's too bad Beck couldn't have availed himself of this information. I guess you'd have to be an employee of CNN or something.

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