Citing "Food Stamp Myths", Former U.S. Director Of SNAP Research Carol Olander And Ex-White House Spokesman Robert Weiner Rebut Put-downs During Pres. Campaign; Oped In Mich. Chronicle

May 09, 2012, 14:30 ET from Robert Weiner Associates

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dr. Carol Olander, former Director of SNAP Research and Analysis at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service and former White House spokesman Robert Weiner were moved to action after recent attacks on the SNAP program by House Budget Chair Paul Ryan and presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. The piece, published in the Michigan Chronicle today, named "best black paper in the country" six times in the last 12 years by the National Newspaper Association, exposed some of the biggest myths recently perpetrated by opponents to the program.

Olander and Weiner contend, "For over four decades, the Food Stamp Program, which Congress renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in 2008, has had bipartisan support as the nation's most important anti-hunger program. Even the far reaching welfare reform legislation of the mid 90's left it intact. However, the House-passed Republican budget drafted by Cong. Paul Ryan would cut it by 17% and turn the program into state block grants easily slashed further.  As perhaps the legacy of his now-ended presidential campaign, Newt Gingrich denigrated the Food Stamp Program by tying President Obama to it as 'the Food Stamp President.' Mitt Romney, while saying he is 'not concerned about the very poor' because the 'safety net' protects them, supports shifting food stamps to the states as a block grant and endorsed the House Republican bill cutting funding for 8 million of the 45 million participants. Cong. Darryl Issa (R-CA) chaired a House Government Reform Committee hearing March 8 entitled "Food Stamp Fraud as a Business Model" and released a video, 'Food Stamp Fraud; Exposed.'"

The pair quote Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus and long-time advocate for the poor, who asked, "Food stamps lift people from poverty, feed them, and give them an opportunity to work. When did those become bad?"

Olander and Weiner state, "The truth is Gingrich, Romney, Paul Ryan, and others who hope to radically alter SNAP don't understand the program or the effect making significant cuts would have on millions of desperate Americans. Their case is built on the myths," which the authors debunk.

In response to the contention that SNAP wastes money through inefficient administration, Olander and Weiner point out that "In 2010, SNAP costs for federal administration were less than 1 percent of total federal SNAP spending.  Even after adding the federal share of state administrative expenses, 95 percent of federal spending went directly to low-income participants in the form of benefits."

"The Congressional Budget Office projects SNAP expenditures will decrease to pre-recession levels as the economy improves. SNAP expenditures actually produce a general economic boost. USDA estimates a multiplier effect of $1.79 for each new benefit dollar."

Olander and Weiner point out, "Conservatives can continue to attack the program, but ultimately the program is working. A 2009 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that 'The food stamp program…reduced the poverty rate by nearly 8 percent in 2009.'"

They conclude, "Would those who would cut or end the program send the 45 million food recipients to the streets to fend in trash barrels, as happened before the New Deal?"

Dr. Carol Olander was Director of SNAP Research and Analysis at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service and a top official there for 31 years. Robert Weiner was a spokesman in the Clinton White House, spokesman for the U.S. House Government Operations Committee under Chairman John Conyers, and Chief of Staff of the House Aging Committee under Chairman Claude Pepper. Richard Mann, executive assistant at Robert Weiner Associates and a Roosevelt University Journalism M.S. recipient, assisted in the article.

Link to article:

Contact: Bob Weiner/Richard Mann 301-283-0821 or cell 202-306-1200

SOURCE Robert Weiner Associates