Last week, Press Secretary Jay Carney mad the bold — and odd — claim that unemployment checks create jobs (see the comment and how one blogger proves it wrong here). Well, it seems the government-welfare-programs-create-jobs mantra is becoming a popular mantra, as now Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack went on MSNBC Tuesday morning to make the case that food stamps are job creators.

Yes, Vilsack actually calls the food stamp program an “economic stimulus:”

If that sounds familiar, it’s because Vilsack used some of the exact same language Carney used last week. Are you sensing a new talking point?

After you take a few deep breaths and wipe the confused look off your face, read how Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey exposes Vilsack’s — and the administration’s — logic:

So here’s the question. If food stamps create jobs, like Vilsack says here, and we’re putting record numbers of Americans on food stamps, then why aren’t we seeing record job creation? If every dollar spent on food stamps creates $1.84 in production, as Vilsack argues, and the number of food stamp recipients keeps rising, then why haven’t the GDP numbers reflected that fabulous growth?

So what about that multiplier Vilsack claims? The one that says every dollar spent on food stamps leads to $1.84 in production? Yeah, Morrissey has something to say about that, too:

The multiplier effect is completely bogus.  For one thing, much of the money gets absorbed by the government bureaucracies that manage these programs.  Second, as I alluded earlier, the evidence we see all around us shows us that we can’t get economic growth through government welfare programs.  If what Vilsack said was true, we’d be better off seizing all income and handing out food stamps.

You can read the rest of Morrissey’s thoughts here.

Author Brad Thor asked an interesting question after hearing Vilsack’s thoughts: “By this big gov’t reasoning, should we lighten up on bank robbers as they end up putting the $$ they steal back into the economy?”

Good question.

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