Santorum: We Don’t Need Food Stamps Because Obesity Rates Are So High

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"Santorum: We Don’t Need Food Stamps Because Obesity Rates Are So High"

Speaking in Le Mars, Iowa on Monday, Rick Santorum promised to significantly reduce federal funding for food stamps, arguing that the nation’s increasing obesity rates render the program unnecessary:

Santorum told the group he would cut the food stamp program, describing it as one of the fastest growing programs in Washington, D.C.

Forty-eight million people are on food stamps in a country with 300-million people, said Santorum.

If hunger is a problem in America, then why do we have an obesity problem among the people who we say have a hunger program?” Santorum asked.

The cost of the food stamp program — the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — has jumped because more Americans are out of work and wages are down, not because of obesity rates. Recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that nearly “70 percent households that relied on food stamps last year had no earned income,” although many households did benefit from Social Security benefits and other government programs. But a whopping 20 percent of households had no cash income at all last year.

Food prices have also gone up, adding additional costs. In fact, the food stamp program has been critical for reducing poverty and pumping money into local economies during the down economy, so cutting it now would not only take food out of peoples’ mouths (regardless of whether they are obese or not) and could slow down the recovery.

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