Thursday, December 01, 2005

Guest post: Catching Nussle Lying Again

Ed. note: This post originally appeared on Patriot Skull Face.

From the - The Quad-City Times Newspaper:
"As an example, the food stamp program has an error rate of 7 percent, down from a previous error rate of 19 percent a couple of years ago," he said. "That was almost 20 cents on the dollar that was being wasted in food stamps," Nussle said.

A Government Accountability Office study issued in May said the combined error rate for the program - which includes underpayment and overpayment of benefits - was actually 9.9 percent in 1999 and had shrunk to 6.6 percent in 2004. Erin Seidler, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Democratic Party, said the proposed budget cuts are doing nothing to cut the deficit, noting Congress also is considering $70 billion in tax cuts."
So, Jim Nussle is claiming that food stamps should be cut this year because the program has increased its efficency. Actually, the FSP has become more efficent every year for the past six years, and now is at its best in the history of the program. This has a lot to do with the EBT cards that are used instead of the funny colored monopoly money that they used to use. But this improvement signals to Nussle that the program needs cuts. Uh, er...huh?

Nussle is lying. The cuts in the program have nothing to do with "fraud, waste, and abuse" as he wants you to think. You see, he wants you to think that no one's losing food assistance for any other reason than that they or DHS were frauds who wasted and abused taxpayer dollars. That's simply not true.

Food Stamps is an entitlement program. That means that to cut it, you either have to a) make large numbers of people inelligible, or b) reduce benefits. Since benefits are on average between 70-80 cents a meal, there isn't much room for cutting there, and that would just look too mean spirited. Nussle chose option A, but says he's cutting waste because that makes him sound like he's fiscally responsible.

Nussle is lying about the nature of the cuts so he doesn't have to face the public on the fact that he's cutting people off of a program like food stamps while giving wealthy folks $70 billion in new tax cuts.


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