The GOP Is The Food Stamp Party
It’s a well-known irony that states that tend to vote Republican—the party that constantly raves about the “makers” and trolls the “takers”—generally take in more tax money than they pay out.
The 10 highest tax-producing states have all been “blue states” over the last few presidential elections. Of the 10 lowest, eight are “red.” Even within states, Democratic-leaning counties tend to consume fewer services for the tax money they contribute than red counties do—even though Democratic areas generally include large urban populations.
While food stamp growth ballooned during the president’s first two years in office, from 2010-2011 it only increased by three percent as the recovery began to take hold.
Yet during the 2012 election, Newt Gingrich constantly referred to President Obama as “the food stamp president,” a term whistling with “welfare queen”-like racial overtones. Despite Gingrich’s racial connotations, the majority of Americans who use food stamps are white, and they increasingly live in Republican areas.
Bloomberg recently compiled U.S. Department of Agriculture data and found that, “70 percent of counties with the fastest growth in food-stamp aid during the last four years voted for the Republican presidential candidate in 2008.”
Democratic voters are increasingly supporting Republican voters. This is largely due to the lingering impact of the financial downturn, which has been exacerbated in red states and red counties with red policies. Republicans have been enacting austerity measures at state and local levels with unprecedented downsizing of public employees during the jobs crisis. Total governmental employment is down more than half a million since President Obama took office.
Many of these workers who lost their good government jobs are unemployed or forced to take wages so low that they still qualify for food stamps. In 2010, 41 percent of those who received food aid had jobs.
Blue states tend to take better care of the poor and also take steps to prevent poverty by spending more on education.
“By nearly every measure, people who live in the blue states are healthier, wealthier, and generally better off than people in the red states,” according to The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn.
Republican states not only benefit most from government support, their policies create the need for food stamps in the first place.