Much has been made about the GOP desire to make $40 billion in cuts to the federal food stamp program vital to millions of American children and families, as Congress negotiates over the latest version of the 2013 Farm bill. If preventing wasteful spending were actually a goal of the GOP, then they should be cutting from those programs that have actually been proven wasteful and inefficient. The USDA oversees various programs, and according to a report released on Wednesday, the food stamps program is the most efficient of these. In stark contrast, millions in overpayments were made to those programs which support farmers growing specialty crops like, among other things, sushi rice.
According to the report, the USDA spent a sum of over $20 million dollars in "high dollar overpayments" to its various agencies over the 2012 fiscal year. While there is constant hawking by Republicans over the supposed fiscal irresponsibility and fraud in food assistance programs provided by the USDA, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the National School Lunch Program, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, none of these programs received high dollar overpayments.
In fact, out of all of the USDA programs receiving aid, these four crucial assistance programs were the only four without any high dollar overpayments reported. Instead, the bulk of high dollar overpayments were made to the Farm Security and Rural Investment Programs, and the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation Program Fund, which each received over $2.7 million and over $14.6 million in overpayments respectively. No surprise then that several GOP lawmakers have lined their pockets with about $6 million from the Federal Crop Insurance Program over the last 20 years, and have thus decided that $40 billion should be cut from vital nutritional programs (known as the "nutritional title") whereas the comparatively more wasteful Crop Insurance Programs have received preference by GOP lawmakers. The portion of the farm bill passed by the House moves $5 billion in subsidies to support farmers growing crops such as corn, cotton, rice, soybean, wheat, and peanuts, as well as specialty crops such as sushi rice, making it nearly impossible for farmers of these crops to experience any losses.
So the price of sushi rice will fall far below 115% of the previous years rate, but $4.7 million Americans will struggle to feed themselves without SNAP assistance. Priorities in order. Check.