Millions of American families will face the holidays with less to eat due to the fact that the government is reducing food stamps benefits that feed poor families. Actually, today the food-stamp program is called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It began scaling back benefits for all recipients effective Nov. 1, 2013, as a result of a recession-era benefits hike now in reduction.
Unfortunately, the SNAP program has grown considerably in recent years, as a result of the weak economy and high unemployment. The program now helps more than 23 million families, or nearly 48 million people. The USDA says the average monthly benefit is about $275 per household. So a family of four will receive $36 less per month, according to the USDA. That may not seem like a lot of money to you or I, but when you’re earning the minimum wage or can’t find any kind of job, receiving $36 less a month makes it difficult to make ends meet.
This development is particularly ironic when you compare it to a Nov. 6, 2013, News max story about how the U.S. Marshals Service has spent $800,000 on lapel pins, silk scarves, Christmas ornaments, crystal statues, promo pens and other promotional “swag” over a six-year period, according to an inspector general report.
The Justice Department’s Inspector General Oversight and Review Division launched the investigation after receiving an anonymous tip in 2010. The 37- page report reveals that one of the divisions of the Marshals Service increased its spending tenfold on what the report described as “swag” (aka promotional products such as Bic promotional pens).
Reportedly, the Investigative Operations Division spent at least $793,118 on promotional items during fiscal years 2005 to 2010. Further, these expenditures were excessive and, in some instances, contradictory to the department’s policies and the Government Accountability Office’s decisions and guidance.
For example, in 2005, the Marshals Service spent a little more than $29,000. In 2010, spending soared to more than $313,000.
On what kind of promotional items was the USMS spending money? Items ranged from challenge coins and lapel pins to key chains and other more traditional promo items such as USMS-themed T-shirts and sweatshirts, patches, promotional pens, clock sand watches.
However, the USMS appears to have learned its lesson. In fiscal 2012, less than $600 went to “promotional and ceremonial” items.