Letter: Food for thought

Phyllis Alden, Ave Maria

Food for thought

Voters need to doublecheck information, for example:

Newt Gingrich: "the (food stamp) credit card can be used for anything. We have people who take their food stamp money and use it to go to Hawaii. They give food stamps now to millionaires ..."

There is a state-of-the-art debit card that allows only certain purchases (neither beer nor wine, no plane tickets, and to qualify your income must be below 130 percent of poverty level). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has information on the working poor.

The food stamp program is, and always has been, a means-tested program. You must apply and qualify.

And to clear up any misconceptions about distribution of food stamps, here's the U.S. Department of Agriculture 2010:

"About 40 million Americans (in 18.4 million households) receive food stamps, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released in September, using the latest (2010) data.

"Among the food stamp recipients 33 percent (13.4 million) are white, 22 percent (8.9 million) are black, 16.7 percent (6.6 million) are Hispanic, and 2.8 percent (1.1 million) are Asian. Almost half (47 percent) of all Americans who receive food stamps are children. Another 8 percent are elderly. About 20 percent are disabled. These are not people who have a choice between paychecks and food stamps."

There are many jobs today that pay such low wages that workers still qualify for food stamps.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office reports fraud in the food stamp program is lower than ever — only a very tiny portion of the program cost.

The Internet is valuable resource. "Facts" become facts only after you verify them.

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