States are recruiting people (with recruiters) into food stamps because it means a federal money infusion.

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Attached is the tale of Dillie Nerios a recruiter (with quotas) for the Florida SNAP program. She spends her days talking with senior citizens trying to get them to sign up for government assistance.

She seems like a pleasant enough woman and no doubt her job is often a heart wrenching one. But should the food stamp program have people actively out in the community seeking to expand the program?

As I’ve written before, I am for a safety net for those who need it. It should be as private as absolutely possible, but I certainly don’t begrudge someone who is hungry (especially if their children are hungry) from using food stamps. Life can be brutal at times.

But actively encouraging people into the system because it is perceived as a boon to the local economy is wrong. But that is exactly what some states are doing.

(From the Washington Post)

In fact, it is Nerios’s job to enroll at least 150 seniors for food stamps each month, a quota she usually exceeds. Alleviate hunger, lessen poverty: These are the primary goals of her work. But the job also has a second and more controversial purpose for cash-strapped Florida, where increasing food-stamp enrollment has become a means of economic growth, bringing almost $6 billion each year into the state. The money helps to sustain communities, grocery stores and food producers. It also adds to rising federal entitlement spending and the U.S. debt…

…Rhode Island hosts SNAP-themed bingo games for the elderly. Alabama hands out fliers that read: “Be a patriot. Bring your food stamp money home.” Three states in the Midwest throw food-stamp parties where new recipients sign up en masse.

In Florida, where Ms. Nerios signs people up, the food stamp program is administered by JP Morgan, a $100 million contract.

Click here for the article.