“It’s also an economic stimulus,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told MSNBC. He also bragged that the Obama administration boosted Food Stamp enrollment by “getting the word out about this program.”
Obama’s $833 billion stimulus allowed states to suspend the requirement that “able-bodied adults” (ages 18 to 39, without dependents) must work or receive training for at least 20 hours per week to keep receiving Food Stamps after three months. With that work rule placed on hold between April 2009 and October 2010, this particular segment of Food Stamp recipients shot up from 1.9 million in 2008 to 3.87 million in fiscal year 2010, a 103.7 percent increase.
For Obama, Washington should spend $447 billion on the Jobs for America Act to create, according to Moody’s Analytics, 1.9 million positions at $235,000 each. This is cheap compared to the $34.7 billion that the Department of Energy has committed to generate some 60,000 jobs at $578,000 each. A typical private-sector job consumes $62,757 in wages and benefits.
With the unemployment rate lodged above 8 percent for 43 months, Americans increasingly rely on Social Security disability. Its population has grown 16.1 percent, from 9.3 million in 2008 to 10.8 million last August.
And to underwrite this spending, Obama demands higher taxes on “millionaires and billionaires” who earn as little as $200,000. He borrows from China to finance his $5.4 trillion, 50.8 percent increase in the national debt. And Ben Bernanke greases the presses to print another $40 billionper month.
This pageant of big-government dependency and profligacy is largely but not entirely Obama’s doing. Many of these programs started decades ago, under Democratic and Republican rule. America is suffering largely due to twelve years of democratic socialism, under former President George W. Bush and now Obama. As the chart below shows (for a larger version, click here), in terms of real annual average growth in outlays, Bush — as big a socialist as the Republican Party ever has spawned — outspent his shamefully profligate father as well as Democrats Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Lyndon Baines Johnson outpaces Baby Bush, but not by very much (5.7 percent such growth for LBJ versus 4.9 percent for GWB).
Baby Bush, and his consigliere Karl Rove, inflicted the brand-new Medicare prescription-drug entitlement, No Child Left Behind, budget-busting farm and highway bills, and a fetid sty full of pork.
“Bush II was the biggest spender since LBJ,” Cato Institute fiscal analyst Chris Edwards has written. “His spending increases were far larger than the three prior presidents’.”
Tragically, President Obama could have taken his 68 percent approval rating on the day after his inauguration and cleaned up this mess. Instead, the man who never misses an opportunity to blame Bush cranked the stench up to asphyxiating levels. And for this, he should be held to account.
Enterprise or entitlement? Citizens or subjects? On November 6, the voters decide.
— Deroy Murdock is a Fox News contributor, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.