Food stamps as "stimulus?" That is the assertion being made, yet again, by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Vilsack, who stated that food stamps and SNAP -- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- have contributed to "job growth in the private sector for 17 consecutive months" and serve as a form of economic stimulus.
Vilsack made the same assertion on MSNBC Tuesday, alleging food stamps act as an immediate infusion of cash flow into the economy.
During the press conference where his most recent declaration on food stamps was made, Vilsack was asked to substantiate his argument that nutrition assistance programs created jobs and improved the economy.
“We’ve had job growth in the private sector for 17 consecutive months," Vilsack declared.
CNSNews reports that Vilsack continued:
“If you think about what happens with a SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] dollar, it goes into the economy more quickly than any other dollar, if you will, because 97 percent of SNAP resources are expended by SNAP recipients within the first 30 days,” Vilsack said.
“When people are in a position to purchase more in a grocery store that means that something has to be shelved, stocked, and processed, and packaged, and trucked, and produced--all of which are jobs throughout the entire supply chain,” he said.
"I should point out, when you talk about the SNAP program or the food stamp program, you have to recognize that it's also an economic stimulus," Vilsack said then. "Every dollar of SNAP benefits generates $1.84 in the economy in terms of economic activity. If people are able to buy a little more in the grocery store, someone has to stock it, package it, shelve it, process it, ship it. All of those are jobs. It's the most direct stimulus you can get in the economy during these tough times."
Vilsack prefaced his analysis by stating that "over the course of the last two years...we have gained back 2 million [jobs] in the private sector--more than 2 million in the private sector--17 months in a row.”
“We’ve also seen manufacturing and processing have increases, the best increases we’ve seen in over a decade in that area of the economy,” Vilsack added.
CNS points out, however, that Vilsack failed to mention federal food stamp dollars are derived from taxes -- tax dollars that could, perhaps, be put to better use where stimulating the economy is concerned.
Do you think food stamps stimulate the economy? Weigh in with your thoughts.
Below is the MSNBC interview from Tuesday where Vilsack first made his assertion that food stamps served as "economic stimulus:"
Bold emphasis added by The Blaze.