Published On: Mon, Dec 7th, 2015

Thom Hartmann: Food stamps ‘are an excellent economic stimulus’ ‘best ways to stimulate economy’

Newsbusters outed that shocking assertion by Thom Hartmann: taxpayer-funded food stamps are wondrously stimulative for the economy.

“You’re Definitely A Liberal When … Assertion #7,546 — You claim with a straight face that taxpayer-funded food stamps are wondrously stimulative for the economy,” begins their coverage as they quote Hartmann on his radio show.

HARTMANN: OK, why would you want to cut back on people taking welfare …?

You’re Definitely a Liberal When … Assertion #7,547.

HARTMANN: … specifically food stamps? Let’s just talk about this for a minute. Now as I said to Rachel (Sheffield) from the Heritage Foundation, if you want to eliminate food stamp programs, if you want to eliminate housing support, if you want to eliminate, you know, basically all survival subsidies, I have no problem with that if replace them with the policy, it was the policy of the United States from 1933 until arguably the late ’60s, which was, if you can’t find a job the government will find one or will create one for you. If capitalism falls down, that’s when government should step in. Not instead of capitalism — I’m not an anti-capitalist.

Hartmann described himself to Politico as a “Democratic socialist.” Since then he’s morphed into the rare bird capitalist socialist.

HARTMANN: But if capitalism and free enterprise are not working, and you know there’s this thing called the business cycle. Anybody who’s been in business for any period of time can tell you, particularly anybody in investments or in small business or in large business for that matter, will tell you, there are, you know, we go through booms and busts. … For example, we’re six years right now into a bull market, or we were up until about five months ago and now the market is going negative. That’s real common. In fact it’s really rare that a bull market lasts more than five years.

So, you know, when capitalism fails and people get thrown out of work, not because of anything that they did, should we give them food or should we give them a job? Food stamps actually are an excellent economic stimulus. I mean, one of the best ways to stimulate the economy is to give people food stamps. Why? Because economies live on something called aggregate demand. Aggregate demand is fancy economist-speak for wages, money that is spent by people in the lower half of the income bracket. Because when people in that bottom half of the income bracket receive wages, they tend to spend all of them and they tend to spend all of them and they tend to spend them quickly. That’s instant economic stimulus and they’re spending them in their community. (Emphasis added by Newsbusters)

Newsbusters: Hartmann is “…suggesting that food stamps are comparable to wages. Fundamental difference — one is earned, the other isn’t. Allow me to suggest that food stamps are more closely comparable to currency, and those in the “bottom half of the income bracket” who receive them also “tend to spend” all of their currency and “they tend to spend (it) quickly,” to borrow from Hartmann’s argument. Which begs the question — why bother giving food stamps to the poor when we can just give them money? Imagine how amazingly stimulative it would be to the economy if the government began printing money around the clock and funneled it directly to the poor. The multiplier effect would be beyond calculation, right …?”

Check out the full coverage HERE

EBT cards replaced food stamps, but when the system crashes, chaos ensues. Food Stamps from 1939 photo/Harris & Ewing Collection (Library of Congress)

EBT cards replaced food stamps, but when the system crashes, chaos ensues.
Food Stamps from 1939 photo/Harris & Ewing Collection (Library of Congress)


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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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