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Democrat Chris Hahn Does A Great Job Explaining How Food Stamps Give A Great “Bang For Buck” To The Economy

Reported by Guest Blogger - October 9, 2010 -

By Brian

On Thursday (10/7/10), Your World’s guest host, Stuart Varney, featured a debate with Democrat Chris Hahn over which is a better stimulus: more money on food stamps or tax cuts for the rich. Hahn did a terrific job of presenting his case forcefully, concisely and in a friendly manner. He’s the latest News Hounds Top Dog.

Varney asked Democratic strategist Christopher Hahn, "If you get such a bang for the buck, how come with 41 million on food stamps, we’re not getting much of a bang?"

Hahn was strong right off the bat. "We don't want these people not to eat, right? We don't want these people to be living on the street. We don't want their children to go hungry and be without clothes… You give somebody food stamps, they buy food, Stuart."

Varney disagreed. "It hasn’t. It simply hasn’t. We've got a rising number of people on food stamps."

Hahn countered, "Nobody wants to put more people on food stamps… Even the people on food stamps would rather be back to work."

Stuart "You think the way to do it is to put more people on food stamps?"

Chris "Absolutely not. We want to do everything we can to keep people off food stamps. But if people need … emergency relief from the government, they should be able to get it… When you extend unemployment benefits, you allow people to pay their rent, and the landlord collects their rent, or the bank collects their mortgage, and they can keep people employed… If you don’t… they wind up out on the street. They wind up being drains on society."

Varney responded, "Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts. That’s how you get bang for your buck."

Hahn was friendly but firm. "You know, Stuart, you always say, ‘Tax cuts.’ If I give you a dollar in tax cuts, you’re probably going to put a dollar in your pocket. If I give you a dollar in emergency benefits, you’re going to spend it on things you need."

"That's absolutely untrue," Varney said and asked if it was true if you got a bigger return by spending on food stamps and unemployment insurance.

Hahn had a quick, forceful answer. "If you put a dollar out in food stamps, it returns a $1.80 into the economy $1.75… The actuary tables that I have seen over the years have always been consistent… Buying food and buying clothes employs people in the food and clothing industry, we know that."

"If only history backs you up, but it doesn't," Varney said.

Economist and John McCain advisor Mark Zandi unequivocally backs up Hahn. Zandi testified to Congress in 2008, “Extending food stamps are [sic] the most effective ways to prime the economy's pump." He put together a table showing that for every dollar spent on food stamps, there’s a benefit of $1.73, every dollar extending unemployment benefits reaps $1.64. An across the board tax cut brings $1.03; permanent dividend and capital gains tax cuts engender $0.37. Permanent Bush tax cuts? $0.29.

The winner is Christopher Hahn by a knockout!

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