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I want them to -- special edition of Hannity you know this is the second part of our Boomtown series where we have been taking a close look.
At the business of Washington DC and how it's making a lot of people very rich all with your money.
Now we -- -- the nation's capital and surrounding suburbs have become a new American Boomtown.
-- government contractors lobbyists and all those connected with all aspects of politics.
-- the region almost immune to our country's financial woes.
Now Peter Schweitzer heads back out to look at another aspect of the business of government.
Washington DC America's new Boomtown.
Tonight we're going to find out how this city has become so fabulously wealthy.
The wealthiest tonight's.
We think of the federal government we think about program.
-- the most well known perhaps is the food stamp program.
And how to pay for America's welfare programs is a hot topic in Washington and food stamps -- at the center.
Now the left sees these programs as pillars of -- generous and caring nation a sign of our commitment to the pool that injects a lot of cash into our economy.
They pay salaries for grocery clerks truckers -- all the food.
USDA estimates -- sixteen cents go right back to the barber.
Food stamps are such a good investment into our economy for every dollar that you -- -- -- -- you get a dollar 71 back into the economy.
Concerns on the other hand see these programs out of control.
Wasteful riddled with -- and they harm economic growth.
-- we've provided everybody is close she is.
When you take money from the economy -- -- it is within that to provide non office staff for somebody you don't get a net gain into the economy.
The food stamp program is only one of a huge number of anti poverty programs offered by the federal government and the current -- 126.
The current cost over a trillion dollars a year.
But what if Washington's most vested interest in the country's biggest corporations.
Are profiting from the explosive growth of these programs designed for the war.
Welfare and America's supposed to be a safety net for those in need.
But instead it's become an insider's game of how.
Tonight you're going to learn that food stamps are not just a program it's an industry.
It begins here.
At the US Department of Agriculture.
But the tentacles of this industry that's been the Wall Street and Madison avenue include some of the largest corporations in America it's -- -- Industry that has lobbyists.
Advertisements and promotions and in increasing market share.
It started as a way to get farm fresh produce onto the tables of the -- And give a boost to struggling farmers along the way.
But the program has grown enormously.
And big corporations and their lobbyists spend millions to try to get their hands on a piece of this 75 billion dollar -- Food stamps have become big business in America.
They were originally intended for things like cheese eggs meat and vegetables.
But thanks to be aggressive lobbying of large corporations they can be used for everything from soft drinks -- in some cases.
Fast -- Teams like Pizza Hut Taco Bell have -- with mixed results.
You get a cut of the money with only some states green -- and be used in certain locations.
At the same time corporations like Coca-Cola and Kraft Foods have successfully lobbied against.
Bills that would block soda and junk food.
From being food stamp eligible.
But with the program experiencing explosive growth it shows no signs of slowing down because the politicians argue that the bigger the program gets the better it is.
For America if you want to get Johnson quickest way to do it.
At least to provide more funding for -- it's nothing creates jobs faster.
Then -- injecting demand into the economy.
And that demand is created when people use the food -- Jury -- sequestered -- food stamps were -- off limits for any cuts in fact the program is undergoing explosive growth.
Just through the lens of C a bigger program is good for America.
And it's great for -- And joining us now Peter Schweitzer -- -- -- of the government accountability institute also Karen had birdies back with us vice president of public affairs for the American Beverage Association -- to see guys and you -- well let's go to -- nothing creates jobs faster than food stamps Nancy -- his comment.
And senator Gillibrand sixteen cents goes right back to the farmers and you get a dollar 71 back into the economy for every dollar spent so.
-- that's the traditional keynesian argument that you spend government money and somehow it multiplies the simple fact is there's no economic evidence of that and what we're talking about here is.
A program that is a nutrition program that's what it was designed to do to provide supplemental nutrition.
To people who were having a hard time making ends meet but as you saw on the clip you see a lot of politicians who are now trying to turn this into some kind of economic programmer jobs program.
That's not what this is about -- about meeting the basic nutritional needs of -- -- to a Peters say in the use that term food stamps big business and industry goes from Wall Street to Madison avenue 75 billion dollars is talking about.
Do you disagree with that -- -- generally conservative.
-- And here's where it.
When we don't see eye to eye on this which is this notion that.
I at the food companies and of course you know I wouldn't -- -- the non alcoholic beverage industry Coke doctor pepper to shame I'm sorry non alcoholic and I know how I I -- and I humor joke about I didn't.
You know this notion that they are spending millions of dollars lobbying in order to get their hands on this money.
Which is just simply not the case.
Because the USDA has never had a list of excluded foods they'd never had a -- a good a list of good foods vs bad foods healthy foods -- I'm healthy foods.
And that's a way we should want as a conservative you do not want the federal government getting all the business and saying hi you're on the good list you're on the -- and I think that is that is a very slippery slope again now.
Well -- -- well -- with all due respect -- the program was set up initially to provide basic nutritional needs so it was cheese and it was -- necessarily part -- -- And it was originally set up and what you have is the expansion of -- so now you have.
Snack foods and soft drinks and look -- I had that for decades yeah.
Oh yeah that incident sixtieth minute past past -- what it -- -- -- 64 right but how did how did that -- Get implemented it didn't get implemented because you had food stamp recipients coming to Washington.
Asking for it happened because industry saw and recognized that government money puts money on the table and they were looking to make that money I.
No problem actually that's that's that's not entirely accurate either because if you look at the congressional record in 1977.
Congress -- there's been a lot of debate how do you ensure -- that your taxpayer dollars are going toward.
Only you know what -- -- you know wouldn't.
Commonly be referred to as healthy foods right 1977.
I play today congress said -- -- -- Tried to sort -- The good vs the bad is a cure worsened and and -- -- the so called junk food we're talking about sorting between the million and I just sort between good that you have over 300000.
Food products little bit and then -- government bureaucrats seem like how can go through.
And it's it's very simple you down and you make this argument of what the libertarian argument that's not freedom.
This is a 75 billion dollar industry that's metastasized -- its -- -- doubled in the last four years in an age of austerity tough measures have to be taken.
These are these are tax this is a assistance program that's taxpayer funding yes -- the beverage industry the sub entry I think it's four billion dollars -- -- -- -- five today.
And a 20% margin but -- a one billion dollar.
Cash benefit to the soda industry underwritten by people making 50000 dollars a year that's just not in an age of.
Sorry that's not to answer then is to go to the USDA and say listen we would like you to expand.
USDA says that they would have to do if you're going to start picking and choosing which foods based on.
I don't know how do you define IA nutritional foods -- mean there are 151000.
For instance 151000.
I see you worry snacks with the bar codes even sort of 150.
-- we're going to sort thing that good what a bad parent.
-- the bottom line is is this is not a lifestyle program this is a nutrition assistance program.
They're all kinds of -- He like to come and how.
I don't want us to the federal government all -- -- and it definitely -- about didn't like Bernadine.
Eight if you're -- -- company is -- is on that good list or the bad -- you're putting yourself.
I'm white and white as sugar sodium right now the State of New York there's debate going on because it was found out that -- money welfare money.
Is being used it strip clubs to buy cigarettes all sorts of waste fraud and abuse no it's not it's not because it's legal and what's happening is the same argument today we just have to get.
-- -- -- I don't know I don't know I am an old -- no it's not.
But what I'm saying this that there's a debate going on right now Albany, New York about restricting that -- an argument that those defend this practice are making is that we should let them -- Let's let me -- then we're -- and I think.
-- biggest problems are art and that's like the biggest problem we have for the sheer numbers and Steve touched on this a little bit.
We now have fifty million Americans on food stamps it's doubled under Obama and we have fourteen million Americans on disability that's one in five Americans.
Getting almost here.
-- life sustenance from the government SI according 47% of probably wants now for children.
You have 8% are -- our citizens Karen good to see you thank you I don't Peter -- -- gonna stay with us and coming up.
We're gonna show you how hoping the -- used to be done in America plus our studio audience.
Business experts commentators they will join this discussion straight ahead.
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