In the debate last night Speaker Gingrich criticized Obama for being the Food Stamps President claiming under his presidency more people have been given food stamps than under any President in American history. His numbers are actually correct but his message is misguided. PolitiFact gave the statement half-true not because his numbers were wrong but rather why it is the case so many people have been put on food stamps under Obama. Obama inherited a failing economy, which means job loss, high unemployment and less income. All of those contribute to the need for more food stamps.
It is not Obama’s fault the economy was thrown into the country’s worse recession since the Great Depression. And it should be noted there was an increase in the number of food stamp recipients in seven of the eight years of the Bush Presidency. It was also Bush policy that increased the number of possible recipients for food stamps.
However, unlike Gingrich I would not criticize Bush for enacting policies that help people eat. Nor would I criticize Obama for continuing this particular Bush policy during a terrible recession. Gingrich seems to imply people on food stamps is bad thing. In part it is because it would be better if those people were employed and did not need food stamps. But currently there are more unemployed people than number of available jobs, so it is understandable why more food stamps are being given out. We cannot blame Obama for this recession and imply he has not done his job well. When in actuality he is doing precisely what government should do in a recession. Government should help its people which is what the President is doing. So Gingrich may be right with his statistics but the meaning of his statement is off base and misleading. It is also disheartening that a possible presidential candidate is upset the President is doing his job and helping his people.