Mother Jones' Kevin Drum completely destroys Fox News' attempts at claiming there is 70 million dollars of fraud being committed on our food stamp program known as SNAP.
Fox News' Abby Huntsman claimed that food stamp fraud is at an all time high and asked, "...this year it's estimated $70 million dollars of taxpayer money was wasted on food stamp fraud. Is it time to end the program altogether?"
Her guests were New York City Councilman Joe Borelli and 2008 Clinton campaign adviser Jehmu Greene to discuss this issue.
If you can find the sourcing of this abuse, please let us know because their graphic says "2016 USDA." Is that code for Breitbart?
It's just like Fox News to promote a story about a government program they claim is wasting tax payer dollars and then call for it to be ended.
However, they never break down any of their numbers and go off on another conservative conspiracy to a program that helps millions of Americans.
I'd love to see Fox News do a story on all the billionaires and corporations that cheat the US government and the American people out of billions of dollars so they can relax in their villas.
Unfortunately, they are more interested in attacking people just trying to get a meal.
As Jehmu Greene explained how this programs helps children and the elderly to feed themselves, Huntsman comes back with more lies and says, "...but there has been a lot of abuse, a lot of people taking advantage of these programs. That is a problem here. who are these people, Joe?"
Councilman Joe admitted that only 1% of the SNAP program was lost to fraud, but then whined about how Republicans were castigated for wanting to cut the program in Congress.
Abby continued her assault on the abuse narrative and said, "You said earlier there are problems that exist, there is fraud taking place. Is there another solution?"
Kevin Drum did take a look at the numbers:
First, I have no idea where Fox's $70 million figure comes from—and I looked pretty hard for it. The Fox graphic attributes it to "2016 USDA," but as near as I can tell the USDA has no numbers for SNAP fraud more recent than 2011.
But even if Fox News did provide the information to back up their claims that 70 million dollars was wasted on fraud, that's a mere bag of shells when you look at the entirety of the program.
But that's not all: $70 million is a startlingly low figure. In the most recent fiscal year, SNAP cost $71 billion, which means that fraud accounted for a minuscule 0.098 percent of the program budget. Even if this is an all-time high, the Fox high command can't believe this is anything but a spectacular bureaucratic success.
Please read Drum's entire piece.
Kevin wraps it up this way, "Bottom line: Yes, Fox is lying in any ordinary sense of the word. But they're also vastly understating the amount of SNAP fraud. Even when they're trying to deceive their audience, it turns out, they're also incompetent."
UPDATE: The Washington Post writes: Fox News wonders whether we should cancel food stamps because 0.09% of spending is fraudulent
Philip Bump says:
There's no question that fraud should be rooted out and eliminated, of course. There's also no question that the $70 million at issue could have gone to more useful purposes. But in the scale of government waste, that $70 million is peanuts.
That's one report. Earlier this month, The Washington Post revealed that the Defense Department had deep-sixed recommendations that might save the agency up to $125 billion over the course of five years. “Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power,” our Craig Whitlock and Bob Woodward wrote. “But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results.” That's a potential savings of $25 billion a year — 357 times the amount of waste in the SNAP program.
Another example. On Wednesday, we reported about a long-running scam operated by Leonard Francis, a Navy contractor who, over the course of several years, defrauded the government to the tune of $35 million.
As of writing, Fox News has not questioned whether we should disband the Navy.