Why Won’t The USDA Say Which Stores Get Food Stamp Money?

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture won’t disclose which retailers profit most from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka food stamps), despite pressure from some health and media organizations to reveal where the money’s going.

Unlike Medicaid and other public-spending juggernauts, which do reveal statistics on where the free money ends up, the food stamp program’s books remain on lockdown under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

It’s tough to know whether there’s a sinister reason lurking behind the USDA’s refusal to disclose how much money retailers are making off food stamps, how much stores charge food stamp users per product or which products food stamp users are even buying.

But a 2011 report done by a Tulsa newspaper showed that Wal-Mart was Oklahoma’s biggest retail beneficiary of the food stamp program, taking in half of that State’s food stamp dollars at the point of sale.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.