By Joseph R. Carducci
August 4, 2014
I know, I know. Ask any good liberal Democrat and they will talk your ear off about how the whole economic recession and downturn was entirely the fault of George Bush. No blame can be laid for any of this at the feet of Obama. Even if you agree with that theory (and I decidedly do not), then certainly much of the post economic downturn effects can and should be laid on the doorstep of the White House and our glorious community organizer in chief who now occupies that address.
One of the major problems with this so-called ‘Obama Recovery’ is how this has affected the number and percentage of food stamp recipients. Certainly, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, for short) has seen huge increases over the past 15 years. Most of that has come due to the recession in 2008. The thing that seems crazy about all this is the fact that normally during economic recovery, the number of people on food stamps actually begins to decrease, generally significantly.
Having these high numbers continue is a problem for the economy and the country as a whole. In fact, during the four-year period after the end of the downturn in 2009, SNAP recipients increased by 7.3 million. Not only that, but the percentage of people receiving food stamps increased from 13 to 15 percent. This is unprecedented. In fact, if we adjust for population differences, the four years following the 1981-82 recession (which was actually very similar in duration and unemployment levels) saw a 12.5 percent decrease in recipients. During the four years following our last recession, SNAP recipients increased by 15.6 percent! If this recovery had been more ‘typical,’ we would have expected to see around 11.5 percent of the national population receiving such benefits. That would have been 36 million compared to the current 47.6 million.
This problem is also highlighted very well by Robert Doar, an American Enterprise Institute scholar. He has testified recently before the House Committee on Agriculture to discuss this very issue:
“By itself, SNAP benefits may not be enough to reduce the incentive for a recipient to go to work, or to move from part-time to full-time regular employment, but when combined with unreported earnings or other assistance programs—perhaps most notably unemployment insurance benefits—the program does appear to allow a significant number of adult recipients to remain out of work longer than they might otherwise. Without some effort to require these SNAP recipients to participate in programs such as those offered under TANF, I fear that the number of non-working, nonelderly, nondisabled SNAP recipients will remain high.”
In other words, the Obama Recovery does not appear to be much of a recovery at all. At least not in terms of the amount and types of assistance being offered. The whole idea of programs like SNAP and TANF and unemployment benefits were that they would only be temporary in nature. Sadly, these assistance programs now seem to be more and more a way of life for low-income Americans.
Obama has made these changes so that more and more people become more and more dependent on the government. Of course, this also has they effect of tying such people to the hip of the Democratic party. After all, if you think that you need your TANF and SNAP and even unemployment benefits in order to live and get by, why on earth will you ever even think of voting for a politician who insists you begin taking responsibility and wants to eliminate…or at least cut…these aid programs?
What do YOU think? Is the ‘Obama Recovery’ becoming more of a way of life? Why are so many more people dependent on food stamps today? What does this say about Obama’s economic policies?
By Joel Gehrke
July 29, 2014 4:26 PM
Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) denounced the House Republican border bill as a “surrender to a lawless president” because the legislation does not include any language to prevent President Obama from expanding his unilateral legalization of illegal immigrants.
Here’s the statement:
The Obama Administration has openly declared its plan to implement a unilateral executive amnesty for 5–6 million more illegal immigrants. This unlawful amnesty—urged on by congressional Democrats—would include work permits, taking jobs directly from millions of struggling American citizens.
Any action Congress might consider to address the current border crisis would be futile should the President go forward with these lawless actions. Congress must speak out and fight against them. It must use its spending power to stop the President’s executive amnesty.
That the House leaders’ border package includes no language on executive actions is surrender to a lawless President. And it is a submission to the subordination of congressional power.
After years of falling wages and rising joblessness, American workers are pleading for someone to hear them. How can it be that our President is brazenly advertising that he will nullify and strip away American workers’ immigration protections, and their own elected leaders will not rise to their defense? Or to the defense of our laws and our Constitutional order?
There are other grave concerns with the Granger package as well: because it does not fix our asylum rules and loopholes, the end result of the additional judges and hearings will be more illegal immigrants gaining asylum and access to U.S. welfare. It is a plan for expedited asylum, not expedited removal.
Nor will this package make our rogue President actively enforce anything, coming nowhere close to the kinds of reasonable enforcement activities needed to restore the interior application of our immigration laws.
And finally, a package that is silent on blocking amnesty creates an opportunity for Senate Democrats to add elements of their party’s open borders and mass immigration agenda.
This legislation is unworthy of support.
Budget shortfalls rather than technical challenges may prevent NASA from launching its new $12 billion deep-space rocket by the end of 2017 as planned, federal auditors said.
Just three-and-a-half years away from the initial launch date, NASA’s “flat funding profile” put its Space Launch System (SLS) “at high risk of missing the planned December 2017 launch date for the EM-1 initial test flight,” the Government Accountability Office (GAO) warned in a report on Wednesday.
According to the GAO, SLS represents not only a “significant portion” of NASA’s planned budget for major projects during that period, but “also a significant portion of government wide launch-related research and development funding.”
The GAO estimates that the current shortfall stands at $400 million, with NASA’s launch system officials telling the auditors there is a 90 percent chance of not hitting the launch date on time.
Despite the funding shortfall, the auditors say that the highly technical challenges associated with those SLS “appear manageable” and that NASA is “making solid progress” on the rocket program design.
NASA is working on the problems the GAO highlighted, but argues delaying launch or siphoning money from other programs would harm taxpayers, NASA Associate Administrator William Gerstenmaier wrote in the agency’s response.
“Welcome to aerospace,” Pace said, adding that large space projects often over run initial budgets by up to 50 percent. He said that “is why you shouldn’t believe initial cost estimates.”
SLS is NASA’s, the agency’s first exploration-class heavy lift launch vehicle in over 40 years, will expand NASA’s exploration capability to include crewed flights beyond Earth’s orbit. It is designed to launch the agency’s Orion capsule, which could carry astronauts to the moon, asteroids and other deep-space locales.
Image from nasa.govImage from nasa.gov
The first version of SLS will stand at 321 feet, have a diameter of 27.6 feet, and carry a payload of up to 70 metric tons. A nevolved version of SLS will be capable of blasting 130 metric tons into space, making it the most powerful rocket ever build, officials say.