tv Fox News Report Food Stamp Binge FOX News August 11, 2013 9:00pm-10:00pm EDT
ever tell start with, don't tell." don't tell dad. start yours in the new santa fe. from hyundai. >> a southern california beach bum. >> it's awesome. >> a preacher in central florida. >> we would give up our freedom. >> pushing people to sign up for >> pushing people to sign up for food stamps in brooklyn. >> hunger malnutrition and starvation in america. >> scenes from across an increasingly dependent nation. this is f"fox news reporting" te great food stamp binge. >> i am bret baier. reporting from the u.s. department of agriculture. why the usda? for historical and political reasons food stamps fall under the agriculture department's domain. food stamps will cost taxpayers
a projected $78 billion this year. a staggering amount that has more than doubled since 2008. food stamps and other food assistance add up to more than 70 percent of the usda. voters think most of the 46 million food stamp recipients are taking advantage of the system and not truly in need. you have heard stories of food stamp waste, fraud and abuse. this hour we will also look at the cost of the recipients and to the american character. during the show you can share your thoughts via twitter. be sure to use hash#fox news reporting. they are getting more people signed up. >> you are watching a team of
determined activists preparing their plan of action. >> you are all set and ready to go. >> they will be walking around the streets of brooklyn. the mission, to sign up as many people as they can for food stamps. the new york city coalition against hunger in action. >> people don't know they are eligible. >> the clinton administration official is the organization's director. >> we have information. >> snap stands for the supplemental nutrition assistance program. >> the food stamp program. >> in 2008 the federal government officially dropped the term food stamps partly to fight the stigma associated with that term. most everybody still calls them food stamps. even people at the coalition.
>> tell them you are prescreened and you would like food stamps. >> bird believes folks here don't want to go to a government office to find out if they are eligible. so his team set up shop at this supermarket. >> 50 percent of our customers on a monthly basis are using the benefit. >> he is the store manager. >> we feel it is a positive thing for the community. >> to get rid of the stigma they got rid of the stamps all together. the benefit is now electronically delivered via cards they work just like any debit card. food stamp usage has been on the rise since 2000 but it exploded under president obama. 28 million were receiving food stamps. now about 47 million do. one big factor is obama's stimulus package in addition to
pumping more money in it makes food stamps easierer. increased spending on food stamps in the stimulus bill did indeed stimulate the economy. >> definitely eligible. >> joe burg says it literally saved lives. >> we are ahair away from large scale hunger malnutrition and starvation in america. >> you really bree that. >> no questions whatsoever. >> you are laughing. absolutely prepros truss. only one in 20 american adults say they were hungry for even a single day in a year i think starving is a bit soon. the reality is american poor people are not malnourished they eat in fact too much food. >> if joe burg is an advocate food stamp robert of the heritage foundation is the great
sceptic. >> they are distorting the data and creating a huge mirage how you really help the poor rather than making it moir dependent on government. >> 80 percent of the people who turned to his coalition for help are ultimately approved. some they spoke to never thought they would be eligible. >> i am going to give you my number this is my direct extension. my name is denise and we can help you with that as well. >> she wasn't aware she could apply for her daughter. >> you stop and explain food stamps to just about every person on the street. >> yes. >> it could be construed as recruitment. >> we would never convince someone who get it who didn't want it.
>> recruiting people to go on food stamps is against the rules. as you will see the usda itself has gone right up to the line. did they cross it? their stratd gee to get past no. but first john roberts and the new face of food stamps. a character you won't forget. >> when the safety net becomes a hammock after the break. ♪ alert. the beach on your tv is much closer than it appears. seize the summer with up to 50% off hotels at travelocity.
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easy to get people are taking advantage of that. no doubt in these tough times many people in the united states worry about feeding themselves and the family. america is a generous nation and few would deny the help for those who need it. we also realize every dollar we give to people who should be fending for themselves is one less dollar we can use for other purposes including helping the trurlly needy. some people don't need to worry about that. john roberts found one of them in law h.a. hoya, california. >> meet jason green slayer food stamp recipient. >> another day in the life of living a rat life. >> what exactly is the rat life? >> your tip of the day? early morning guy?
you get up in the morning or start later in the afternoon? >> later in the afternoon kind of guy. wake up go down to the beach deal with my friends, hit on some chicks, start drinking. >> all day every day. ♪ >> we caught up with him in l california close to where he grew up. the 29-year-old has chosen the life of a beach bum in this sea side paradise. with no affixed address he has for the last couple years floated from place to place staying with family, pals, girls he dated. >> nice day today. >> he gets by with a little help from his friends and you the taxpayers. >> my ebt snap card.
>> how do you get a stamp card? >> go to the human resource office to have your birth certificate your social security card, got don't have a paycheck coming in so i qualify. >> how often do you have to do this? every month every six months? >> they got it now to where you only do it once a year. >> things have changed. back in 1996 if you were an able adult like jason with no family there were limitations. you could get food stamps for only three months every three years. the exception, if you were working at least a 20 hour workweek or participated in a work training program. president obama wiped away the restrictions when he signed his stimulus bill in 2009. and in 2010 obama used his regulatory powers to extend the suspension of those welfare to work requirements. >> you fill out the form for a stamp card they give you that for a year no questions asked.
>> yeah. you are good to go, you are golden. >> $200 a month. >> $200, free money. radical. why not. >> this is plmy job right here make sure everything is rolling smoothly make sure the sun is up and the girls are out. >> how big a part of your life is surfing? >> i surf every day. it's wonderful. get away from everything clear your head. get out with the boys and have a good time. >> living the life never a dull moment. >> another day in paradise. >> party at your house, dude? >> yeah. oh, yeah. >> party at my pad. >> it's off to the gourmet section. >> i have my rainbow, ahi, salmon, yellow tail with rice and avocado and then they have lobster on special. we have lobster and coconut water. >> then jason is off to the automated checkout counter.
food stamp card at the ready. it00 a month. >> all paid for by our wonderful tax dollars. >> is that typically the type of thing that you will get on the snap card? >> yeah, i usually get sushi, but make it my own way. they didn't have any good fish. >> ♪ >> lobster. anybody want a piece? >> safe to say that this motion of holding down a steady job just is something that is not in your real house? >> that's not the direction i am
going now. >> that's not something that appeals to you? >> no not whatsoever. >> i didn't know what to expect when i sat down with jason. i was taken aback by the fact that he seemed unembarrassed about sponging off the rest of us. it was a guy who is capable of pulling his own weight as resourceful even intelligent and went to san diego state for a while and then technical school where he trained to become a recording engineer. then he realized what he really wanted in life. >> skate into class and here comes motley crue coming down the halls partying and i didn't want to be the guy recording those guys i wanted to be the guys being those guys. >> he wanted to be a rock star. >> you decided that was going to be your life. >> yeah, i want to be heard i don't want to listen. >> wait until you hear what else he had to say. >> john roberts returns a little
later. but first food stamps offer a helping hand. what about people who say thanks but no thanks? the usda still push food stamps in spanish speaking communities. experts say you might find hard to stomach. during the break tell us what you think of the show so far. or on twitter use the hash t#fo report. >> there has been an amber alert that has been in effect in the state of rhode island. they were looking for a missing 2-year-old boy after a crime scene was discovered by police. state police in that area. two people murdered inside of a home, that child lived at that house. they have been looking for this 2-year-old little boy isaiah perez and is this is the kind of update that we always hope to give. the public we are told helping
out in this instance little identifies yaw has been found-- little isaiah has been found alive. that is the word from state police. they have a suspect in the double homicide that happened at the home. the rhode island home where this child lived and moments ago state police saying they have found this little boy and he is alive. we don't have much more information than that. i can tell you coming up in the next little while, possibly, possibly we will get an update and a news conference form from state police there. what we know right now is that the little boy is in good health according to police there. we don't know exactly where he was found but we know the area was providence. providence rhode island. the little boy never left the state as far as we know. about 5 after -- 5 hours after police discovered the bodies
inside of the home where the child lived. the adult bodies they issued an amber alert. it wasn't right away. they tried finding him there on the property they weren't sure. in that time they picked up one suspect in the killings then they picked up a second suspect in connection with this case. all day long we have waited to find out whatever details would become available about this child. the search for isaiah perez began about 5:30 this morning in johnston, rhode island. that is less than 10 miles from providence. investigators believe the two people in the home were killed early this morning and then someone fled the home with the wil -- child. that's what we are being told now. a spokesperson says authorities don't believe the child is harmed and they are hoping he will be -- they are going to check him out at a hospital hope that go that evaluation will
show them he is fine. so far the word he physically at least to the eye is in good health. about 30 minutes from now we are finding out in the fox newsroom that that news conference is expected to happen. we don't know who will lead it but again leading this investigation all along have been state police. if we get more information on fox news channel of course we will bring it to you. it has been a weekend of amber alerts. we saw a rescue of young hannah anderson. she came out alive police found her. now 2-year-old isaiah in the state of road eye p land alive. up states when we get them. >> america has long been a magnet for immigrants whose industry and drive made our con story stronger. did the usda try to undermine those virtues in order to expand the food stamp roles? peter bowyer reports from
florida. >> it has been an integral part of our culture. >> in the central florida town feel lex r felix ramirez preach about self reliance. >> they may give up their freedom. >> he stressed to them the important of self reliance of counting on themselves not havi wanting a handout. >> want to remind them who they are. reliance and self-respect go together. >> which might explain why pastor ramirez is still angered by something he heard from the usda a while back. >> our story begins in 2008 a glimpse of how the usda under republican and democratic administrations has come to see its mission as pushing food stamps on groups of people reluctant to take them. the agriculture department produced a series of spanish
language spots they made them available from any one who wanted to play them. >> the united states department of agriculture usda and supplemental nutrition program are proud to present the radio series. enjoy the show while you saver a delicious piece of fresh fruit. >> happiness park is like any other soap opera that is any character obsessed with food stamps. each of the 10 spots make the point. episode 1 tries to bust the myth that stood tafood stamps are wed only the unemployed can qualify. >> just can't seem to make ends meet. >> meet monica. >> it is not that we don't love each other but we are always fighting over money. >> she is talking to her friend
claudia. >> did rop bert toe find a job? >> not yet. that worries me. what i earn as a baby-sitter is just not enough. >> apply for >> isn't it like welfare? >> no, snap is a supplemental nutritional assistance program that helps you afford healthy food in difficult times. >> in >> in episode ii she does it and episode 3 she tried to get a friend to sign up. tries to convince a trend to do it. >> i don't think i qualify. i own my house. >> you might. snap is a program that upon hads people. if you don't apply, you never know. >> it's highly offensive. we can count on our own >> in episode 4 ramone does sign up for food stamps and urges another friend to do so as well. she is very reluctant. her name is dion.
>> i don't need help from anyone. my husband makes enough to take care of us. >> when are you going to learn? >> this gentlemen better not say that to any of my ladies in this >> say that to any of my ladies in the church. >> turns out dion is the most stubborn. but they wear her down over the next few episodes. in episode 5 we learn her daughter suzette is over weight. in episode 6 suzette comes in last at a slimming rate. dion and friends keep up the full court press. full court press. >> it doesn't matter if your husband works full time or if you own a car. i was approved and roberto has a job. >> i know. put on your shoes. we are leaving. >> why are you angry. do it for your own health and suzette. >> it's appal >> it is apauling and insulting. >> her husband and her own an
operate the restaurant in the florida town. she recalls hearing episodes on the radio. >> when you hear this and you recognize that it is aimed at -- >> hispanics. >> what's your reaction? >> my gut reap action is they are calling us stupid. >> episode 7 is an eye opener for the reluctant deanna. she goes shopping with monica. >. don't use food stamps in front of everybody. >> there is no stamps. snap gives you a card. >> wow! it looks like a bank card. >> exactly. no one has to know. apply! you can gain. >> that's not why we came to america. we take care of our own without any help and you get ahead on your own. >> back at happiness park deanna is still not convinced. the next episode she didn't need
help from any one. but everything changes in episode 9 which according to the usda production script was written to over come the barrier of pride. >> hello. >> hello? yes. what? what happened? what happened? she is crying and she's at the hospital. >> thankfully diana survived. >> i thought it was a heart attack. >> what? >> yes. i felt horrible, but the doctor told me it was indigestion. >> indigestion? >> the doctor scolded me and said i need to lose weight and eat fruits and vegetables. i should have listened to you. what's the program called? >> it's called snap. >> it is called snap. by the last episode deanna signs up. she doesn't know that contrary to the radio suggestion that food stamps will help her lose
weight the usda's own research actually shows a correlation between snap card use and obesity and nonelderly adult women like diana. >> we think uncondition alex perts by the best food stamp president in american history to maximize dependency is terrible for the future of this country. >> when the national food stamp binge became an issue in the campaign the radio nobela series became a news story and embarrassed usda pulled the series from circulation. under secretary of agriculture admitted some of the content these advertisements doesn't meet the standards of what i consider to be appropriate outreach. but it turns out hispanics were not the only group targeted by the usda outreach squad.
>> coming up breaking down pride in north carolina. the usda didn't back away from this step. in fact they gave it an award. [ male announcer ] what?! investors could lose tens of thousands of dollars in hidden fees on their 401(k)s?! go to e-trade and roll over your old 401(k)s to a new e-trade retirement account. none of them charge annual fees and all of them offer low cost investments. e-trade. less for us. more for you. what areow! that hurt!k there? no, no, no, no. you can't go to school like this, c'mon. don't do it! no! (mom vo) you never know what life's gonna throw at you. if i gotta wear clothes, you gotta wear clothes. (mom vo) that's why i got a subaru.
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>> columbus, ohio just this week. fox news reporting was there. >> these under cover state food stamp investigators say this store let them buy alcohol with food stamps. >> the store was cited for illegal use of a food stamp card but the clerk told us she thought she was selling the under cover officer an energy drink. either way in the food stamp binge we seem to be hearing these stories more and more. another reason why some of the people are puzzled the usda is trying so hard to get even more people to sign up for food stamps whether they say they want them or not. one of those efforts was in
north carolina where 17 percent of the people get food stamps. more than double nearly a decade ago. part of that increase was apparently efforts to breakdown mountain crime. >> one of the oldest art forms in america. ♪ >> mournful strain tell of god fearing people who live in remote unfor giving places like the vast appalachian regions of ash county north carolina. >> this has not been an environment in which it is easy to get by. >> it has been tough times here. >> what kind of folks did this land produce? fiercely independent bunch
of people. they believed strongly in self reliance. >> lonnie is a retired engineer. >> they may do or do without. >> for countless generations the people of ash county made due by a growing tobacco raising cattle on small family ranches. and producing lumber from the vast forest that still surrounds it. >> what do they do when hard times come? >> my daddy dot a job. he got 250 a day. he could have given up but he didn't do that. this mountain pride took over. >> we heard a lot about this thing called mountain pride. this deeply held belief that it is best to do for one's self. but as the federal government sees it mountain pride is a
problem. the government tries to track how many people in the area are eligible for food stamps and how many signed up for benefits. when a place like ash county stands out with an unexpectantly high number of people refusing food stamps a network of social service types from local state and federal government and nonprofits, too, springs into action. >> this money is out there if you are not savie taking it there's something wrong with you. >> jeff sessions republican from alabama is angry the government wants to coax people on to the food stamp rolls. >> the idea that a person says i don't want it i don't need it then you feel it is your obligation to talk them into taking it it makes the hair stands up on the back of my neck. they think they should over come mountain pride. >> a local social services
worker funded by usda grant while folks value self reliance too much to accept government money for groceries they would accept it to buy seeds they could plant in their garden. that proves to be the opening everyone was looking for. >> food stamp participation jumps 10 percent in nash county. folks here became more open to other forms of government aid as well. social worker grand de leg's ingenuity earned her a trip to the annual american association of snap director's convention in columbus, ohio where she received the gold champion's award from the usda. >> the citation applauded the very important strategy in counteracting what they described as mountain pride. >> real lang gree. >> unbelievable. seemed to me it's in reverse. we should be getting an award for the people we get off food stamps and find them a job.
>> at the deepest level the motivation that drives the government to encourage people to take benefits they say they don't need. i think the difficult thing to understand. >> the usda they declined to speak with us. they did send us this 39 page report basically summing the usda's mission. >> it seems to boil down at some level to put as many eligible americans on the food stamp rolls as possible. >> that is exactly the way they see their mission. they explain it in their documents. >> this is a big government that spends a lot of money, a lot of it goes to prosperous people, tax breaks for their vacation homes or some folks out in hollywood who buy the fancy electric cars get a lot of help from the government. what's going on exactly with needy folks, poor folks getting their share of government
cheese? >> nothing wrong with poor people who need help getting help. >> always help those that need help. it's been through the churches, it's been through organizations. if it all falls through the cracks and ythese people cannot get food and they need it to feed their children i think the government should help them. >> you just give them money and if it's just a question of money and benefits then you can diminish and dull the incentive to work and achieve and to rise above difficult circumstances. so i think there's a real moral question. >> chald the consequence be if mountain pride were froenz. >> they would not show up in the work force. >> even these days? >> even these days. restaurants are having problems in towns getting waitresses people are becoming, used to getting something for nothing.
>> one brief message to deliver to president obama what would you say? >> i would say for those of us who still have that mountain pride, leave us alone. >> coming up, the indiana tended consequences of government welfare. are we unlearning the lessons of our past? like this california 29-year-old be exhibit a? get on twitter during the break. tell us what you think. use the hash tag #fox news reporting. alert.
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so why are food >> why are food stamps administered by the usda? turns out in the great depression the first food stamps aimed to solve two problems while poor people in cities were going hungry farmers were growing a surplus of food. so the department of agriculture sold stamps that gave half off of produce items farmers couldn't get rid of. the program ended in 1943. among the reason surpluses had disappeared. in the 1960s the johnson administration launched the current food stamp program as part of the war on poverty. it had nothing to do with foreign policies. political ad vantage to making food stamps under the usda. it made the massive thorn bill popular from lawmakers in cities
and moral communities aluke. in a surprise move a group of break away house republicans had the latest farm bill. they want a separate vote on food stamps hoping to draw attention to what they see as wasteful spending that can also make the poor too dependent on government. they weren't the first to worry about that. it was on the minds of those who launched the war on poverty. >> the days of the goal in our country are numbered. american answer to poverty is not to make the poor more secure in their poverty, but to reach down and help them lift themselves. >> it sounded really good at the time give a hand up not a handout. >> at that time charles murray was a 21-year-old history major at harvard. a liberal policy walkoming of age in heavy times.
>> we were optimistic in the 1960s because we never tried to use government programs to eradicate poverty. turned out to be really tough. >> turned out how tough years later. after learning a ph.d. in political science he went to work for a washington think tank for a government think tank to evaluate the anti prove vert programs. his ground breaking research transformed him from a liberal to a libertarian and helped transform the nation's welfare policy as well. >> was there a eureka moment during your research? >> there was. i came across a source which calculated the poverty rates back to world war ii. the poverty rate had been going down even faster before the war on poverty. that was the moment i said, oh, it is only after the war on poverty was a few years along that we stopped making progress.
>> it slowed. >> it stopped. >> murray's landmark 1984 book "losing ground" not only included the war on poverty failed to help people out of po vert but it had devastating consequences for an under class stopped in a culture of dependancy. >> your findings were controversial? >> very much so. their conventional wisdom now. >> they were conventional wisdom by the early 1990s. >> when you can you must work because welfare should be a second chance not a way of life. >> by 1996 a republican congress passed and the democratic president signed a welfare reform bill. in the years since that law has been hailed as a success helping people get off the welfare rolls and gain self-respect. but murray thinks america is unlearning many lessons of the recent past.
>> food stamps as a specific program is one of the most obvious ways in which the government has reached in to american neighborhoods and said it is okay to be dependent. the cost of that is the kind of pride that used to be the hallmark of america. >> that puts murray directly at odds with joel burg who you will remember ram meants the stigma that still surrounds food stamps is making it hard for groups like his to fight the spector of mass hunger in america. >> shouldn't there be at least some stigma? >> no. >> at all? >> no more than there should be a stigma of a small business person getting government grants or loans. no more than someone riding their private car over a government paved road. >> we are ostracized with that question. i wish people who understand that if you don't stigma ties one set of behaviors you can't
celebrate another. you can't say of the family that doesn't accept them, we will do it on our own thank you very much, you can't celebrate them. i want the culture to say that you guys are wonderful. and de stigma tizing food stamps won't help. >> it implies somehow that these low income people are wanting to be freeloaders and the federal government helping them. >> do you worry about hurting poor people over the long-term at all? oo one out of four american children now get food stamps. do we want to take the food out of the mouths of hungry children? shame on us. >> i have to smile, brett, because otherwise i would erupt.
i guess they don't understand that people like me aren't just stingy and don't want to spend money on food stamps. someone listening to this and say charles murray is saying the government is making people lazy. >> that is obviously the simplification of what i am saying. charles murray says the government is systematically undermining a civic culture of independence that was a great american treasure, that is pretty accurate. >> murray now 70 years old finds himself back in another fierce battle of ideas. he believes they must be won. but the latest book "coming apart" says that battle is being fought on new terms. he says what were once the pathologies of the under class are becoming the mainstream. >> if you go to any working
class neighborhood in the united states and get to talking about the guys around town and their attitude toward work, yeah, there are some cases where guys are trying very hard to get working. the story you will hear more probably he doesn't want a job. >> sounds like someone we met earlier in this hour. i asked murray about jason the blissfully intent food stamp recipient. >> he surfs a lot. he doesn't have a job. he doesn't want one. he has no problem taking 200 bucks month from taxpayers. are you surprised we could find someone willing to tell us that? >> doesn't surprise me a bit. >> jason is not an anomaly. >> no, no. jason has cousins in every town in america. >> stories like jason's trouble murray not because of the money wasted, it's the lies murray beliefs that a-- believes that
being frittered away. >> that guy is passing time as pleasantly as possible right now. that's not what constitutes a satisfied human life. the sad thing is, the whole philosophical grounding of the welfare state encourages people to think of life in terms of a picnic. >> or as jason would call it the rat life. he gets the last word after the break. [ male announcer ] these days, a small business can save by sharing.
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beach bum, doesn't want to take a regular job with a regular boss. we wondered how jason's fellow americans would feel about helping pay for food stamps for someone like him. turns out according to a fox news poll conducted for this special, they have a problem with it. overwellingly so. as john roberts learned jason doesn't understand why. >> you can't have a job. >> you can't have a job. the wisdom of 29-year-old jason. >> you have to have a food stamp card. >> ♪ >> in case you didn't catch those lyrics jason singing i ain't got no mf job. i would rather be broke, steal and rob. >> tell me what's behind no job.
>> have no job living the dream. >> living the dream is having no job? >> yeah. >> how is that going for you by the way? >> it's going great, man. yeah. going real ry well. >> ♪ >> see the girls dancing up on the tables (bleep) while we are playing music. every day thing. 200 bucks from the man. >> this is the plan? >> yeah. >> yeah. >> jason does aspire to something more. his band signed with a record label. it doesn't pay them anything yet but he believes it is the start of something big. >> tell me about the record deal. are you in the studio yet? >> yeah, we have been in the studio. hopefully the fireworks start going off. >> where do you see this all going? >> to the top, man. the sky. >> heaven knows jason might actually make it, or maybe his
destiny is just the rat life. if so, he is okay with that. especially if you are still willing to pick up the tab. frush flush >> the food stamp program was designed to be a point in your life when you were down things weren't going well it's not quote a point in your life. this is life for me. >> this is how i live. cheap chicks doing my thing. this is the way i want to live. i don't see anything changing. >> it used to be that somebody was on food stamps it's like, hey, they are on food stamps, loser. >> why would it be bad? it's free food. it's awesome. >> what would you say to somebody who is looking at this saying, i am working hard paying taxes so that jason can live his surfer lifestyle, be in his band
and get $200 a month to buy good quality food? >> thank you taxpayers. thanks. >> do you feel guilty at all about doing that? >> (bleep) no. >> rugged individualism. it's a term that captures the american values of hard work, self reliance and pride in pulling your own weight. those values in a legal and political system that reward them help explain why america has prospered like no other country. at the same time we are also a compassionate and generous people willing to help the poor and feed the hungry. our nation huss find harmony in these two values so as not to lose all that made america great to begin with. that's our report. the conversation continues on
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