Election 2012: Newt Gingrich and the Republican Attack on Food Stamps

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Politico reports that ex-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is sending a memo to political candidates around the country today, offering a "closing argument" for the final month of campaign season. The memo's target? Food stamps.

Even though expanding food stamp budgets has been found to be among the most effective economic stimulus measures—a step that can lead to profound changes in low-income communities, as both Corby and Michel Nischan have written on our site—Gingrich says Republicans should point to food stamps to attack "the left-wing, big spending, job killing Democrats." (In fact, the White House has also supported food-stamp cuts to help fund an expanded child nutrition act, a tradeoff opposed by House Democrats.) Gingrich draws a distinction between "the Democratic Party of food stamps and the Republican Party of paychecks" and adds, "Which future do I want? More food stamps? Or more paychecks? This is the choice we want to drive home again and again for voters from now until Election Day":

This year, the House Republican's Pledge to America has set the stage for a powerful, symbolic closing argument for candidates seeking to unseat the left-wing, big spending, job killing Democrats: paychecks versus food stamps.

It is an unassailable fact that in June, more food stamps were distributed by the government than ever before in American history [http://bit.ly/bTKw79]. (It turns out that Barack Obama's idea of spreading the wealth around was spreading more food stamps around.)

It is also an unassailable fact that in January 2007, when Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid took over Congress, unemployment was 4.6% and food stamp usage was around 26.5 million Americans. Today, the unemployment rate is 9.6% and over forty million Americans are on food stamps.

Compare this to our record after we took control of Congress in 1994.

In four years, unemployment fell from 5.6% to 4.2% and food stamp usage dropped by 8 million American thanks to record job creation. Furthermore, we turned a $107 billion deficit into a $125 billion surplus in four years, paying off more than $400 billion in federal debt. And we did it with a liberal Democrat in the White House.

Read the full story at Politico.

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Daniel Fromson, a former associate editor at The Atlantic, is a writer based in Washington, D.C. He writes regularly for The Washington Post. His work has also appeared in Harper's Magazine, New York, and Slate.

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