Republicans often complain about the cost of food subsidization for the poor, but the reality is some of their biggest and most powerful constituents are profiting from SNAP, aka Foodstamps, in several sinister ways. The total budget for The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is $72 billion a year.
A bombshell report by eatdrinkpolitics.com tells the not so difficult to believe tale of how big businesses lobby heavily in Washington, D.C. to keep the food that can be bought through food assistance programs unhealthy and cheap, while mega banks like J.P. Morgan literally skim billions off the top by forming payment processing agreements for all now electronic transactions.
In total there are three sectors of big business which profit immensely from the general poverty of society. They are food retailers like Walmart, food manufacturing corporations like Kraft, and Coca-Cola and the most dubious of all -- big banks like J.P. Morgan which profit from every sale paid for with government subsidized money.
Indeed, mega bankers have figured out a way to make money off of those who don't have enough to feed themselves. Is there anymore of a disgraceful scenario that you could envision? Is there anything as lowly and despicable as using the weakest in society for financial gain? Alas, these are questions for others than a lowly journalist such as myself.
How much did these colossal entities each profit from the poor? It is difficult to say with exact certainty the dollar amounts because it is not Congressionally mandated for such records to be kept. Who do you think made that a rule, by the way? However, for example, nine Walmarts in Massachusetts received over $33 million in revenue from SNAP sales. In Oklahoma Walmart received $500 million in sales over two years.
Coca-Cola, Kraft, and other companies are privately owned and not legally obligated to disclose how many products they specifically sell, or where. Nor are stores obligated to release what consumers bought which items with their SNAP funds. It is however known that Coca-Cola, Kraft, and the Corn Refiners of America all banded together to kill a bill in Florida that proposed to disallow SNAP purchases for so-called "junk food." As is expected, big business triumphed again.
The real story here is J.P. Morgan and their multi-billion dollar scheme of money funneling.
- Florida has a seven year agreement which saw J.P. Morgan rake in a profit of $123 million.
- In New York the bank earned over $112 million by processing payments over five years, earning up to $1 for every single SNAP purchase made in the state.
- Washington paid $74.3 million over seven years.
One question that needs to be asked is how much were states spending to print food stamps in comparison to how much they pay J.P Morgan to process transactions electronically? I'd wager it is was cheaper to print the stamps.
Why should private entities that have business agreements with SNAP have the only knowledge about products bought with public money? More transparency is the ethical and civilly correct policy to champion.
Nearly half of all SNAP participants are children. In 2011 an average of $137 was delivered to 44.7 million people each month.
Over 41% of people who receive food assistance have jobs and earn an income.