Among the 254 counties where food stamp recipients doubled between 2007 and 2011, Republican Mitt Romney won 213 of them in last year’s presidential election, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data compiled by Bloomberg. Kentucky’s Owsley County, which backed Romney with 81 percent of its vote, has the largest proportion of food stamp recipients among those that he carried.
This is excellent news for Mitt Romney, because it proves he was able to get the moocher vote after all.
Owsley County is represented by Hal Rogers, who also chairs the House Appropriations Committee and voted for the failed farm bill in June — the one that would have cut $2 billion a year from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. He also voted for the replacement bill that stripped SNAP funding out altogether, but continued subsidies for agribusiness. Despite representing the Republican county with the highest proportion of food stamp recipients, Rogers also explained, in a letter to the Lexington Herald-Leader, that the GOP has to destroy the program in order to save it:
we believe we must strengthen our social safety net for those who need it by reforming our broken food stamp system … Reforming the food stamp program is not about being “spiteful” or denying people benefits; it’s about eliminating the waste that prevents Kentucky families who truly need help from getting it.
Of course, the House cuts are just plain cuts, not actual measures against waste and fraud, which are already at an all-time low. Then again, Republican congresscritters’ sightings of people who don’t look like they deserve food stamps buying crab legs are at an all-time high, so somebody’s numbers clearly don’t add up.
Among other numbers that may matter are these:
The Bloomberg review of 2,049 counties where the data was available included the 250 with the highest concentration of food stamp recipients. Among that group, 227 are wholly within one congressional district, with 160 represented by Republicans and 67 by Democrats.
Over at Daily Kos, Laura Clawson suggests that, with two thirds of the highest food-stamp receiving counties represented by Republicans, the Bloomberg study should make the GOP “rethink that whole food stamp moocher thing.” It’s nice to think that Republican voters might notice that their party’s policies are causing pain in their own communities, but that strikes us as a tad optimistic. After all, when a Republican voter gets food stamps, it’s a temporary necessity that is only fair because they’ve paid their taxes. It’s always those other people that are lazy moochers.