How a sushi-eating surfer is killing food stamps
Jason Greenslate became the face of abuse of the nutrition program by bragging about buying fancy items. But he's far from the norm.
Meet Jason Greenslate, the poster boy for food stamp abuse.
Greenslate (pictured) is a 29-year-old San Diego surfer who was captured by Fox News in August going on a "food stamp binge," buying lobster and sushi with his EBT card. "All paid for by our wonderful tax dollars," he told the news channel, adding: "It's free food. It's awesome."
That's horrifying to many taxpayers, given the huge climb in food stamp spending. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is now a $75 billion annual program, up from just $21.4 billion in 2003. But with billions of dollars now at risk of being cut from the program, it's important to note that Greenslate is far from the norm when it comes to food stamp recipients.
For one, Greenslate is an able-bodied adult, which represents just a sliver of the nation's 47.7 million food stamp recipients.
An overwhelming majority of food stamp beneficiaries are either not expected to work or are working, according to a January report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Here's the breakdown for SNAP recipients:
- 68% are children, disabled or elderly and are not expected to work.
- 13% are employed.
- 19% are not employed.
Receiving food stamps doesn't actually discourage people from working, either, given that more than 80% of recipients work either in the year before or after receiving the aid, the group notes.
But Greenslate's brief moment in the conservative media spotlight might just mean less food on the table for poor and low-income children and the elderly.
That's because Fox News distributed the clip of Greenslate laughing at the idea of working a normal job on Capitol Hill, notes the Huffington Post. The House last week voted to cut food stamp spending by 5%, with one lawmaker citing the surfer as a motivation.
As for Greenslate himself, he told The Huffington Post that spending decisions for millions shouldn't be made on the basis of one individual case.
"I don't think that one person should be the decision for 47 million people," he said. (He also told the Huffington Post that he's not lazy and works in his band for more than 40 hours per week.)
Greenslate has one thing right: He's not representative of the vast majority of food stamp recipients.
That might be your local Wal-Mart (WMT) employee, such as Claire Robinson of Columbus, Ga., who relies on SNAP to help feed her and her 9-year-old daughter.
"Before (lawmakers) make the cuts, they should look at the household income to make sure no kids are going to go hungry," she told The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. "It could put a strain on a lot of families."
So here's an idea for Fox News: The next time the network profiles someone receiving food stamps, how about picking someone who actually represents the majority of recipients? Chances are it's going to be a lot more sobering to realize food stamp cuts will actually take food away from those in real need.
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
If I owned a gas station (which I do not), guess how many drops of gasoline my underground tanks would be permitted to leak into the ground before I was forced to shut down my station, drain my tanks, dig them up and install new tanks.
Answer: As soon as one drop leaks, I'm out of business til I fix the problem.
Why is the food stamp program, (or medicare, or Social Security, or...) allowed to "leak" billions and still operate?
The government should make working a more attractive option than taking a handout from the taxpayer. Since that won't ever happen, I say, "Good job Jason Greenslate for taking a subsidy you don't need if you can legally get it."
I'll also say, "Good job Fox News for making us aware of it!"
on 75 billion thats only 3.75 billion.
america was only using 21 billion 10 years ago. now its 3.5 times more, and suddenly 3 billion is killing snap program?
lol typical end of the world by the liberal media.
obama has told us we are in a recovery. if true why do we need 75 billion for foodstamps?
how can we be in a recovery if the govt is spending 50 billion more for food stamp recipients then 10 years ago? either there are three times more families on it, or the recipients are getting 3 times the amount every month than 10 years ago.
75 billion a year for foodstamps that we are not in a recovery.
proof that obamas policies have failed
19% don't work at all just like the surfer slouch. Note he'd escape that statistic even if he say worked the counter of a surf shop for 5 hours a week. Would that really make him any less of a deadbeat?
The program is loaded with deadbeats working way below their potential. Having a job does not prove that someone is doing all they can and are worthy of public support...
Isn't this all just a vicious circle that Obama and other idiots are creating?
Even though he is a known abuser, he still gets food stamps because the system is built to benefit people like him.
IF there are no food stamp recipients, then the food stamp administrators are out of their jobs. IT is in their interest to have more people on food stamps, not to find losers like this guy.
Aimee, you cite Jason's situation as not being viable, as it is only one case.
Then you cite the single case of Claire as being vialble. You use very poor logic, or would I be more accurate if I said 'no' logic!!!
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