Cherry Picking

Cherry Picking

1610063_1034383819988005_5767839952915136507_nTL;DR Summary:

  • Example of a simple to understand poster that is out of date and misleading but lives on forever on the Internet! The post is from 2014 but was still being shared in 2015 and 2016.
  • The $15 a month figure is the minimum payment if you are making too much money to qualify for more assistance.
  • State governors largely reversed the changes.
  • The issue has nothing to do with taxing the wealthy and the U.S. still has a future 🙂

This post was shared into my FB news feed. Can you spot the problem in this propaganda message? There are many!

This post is from 2014, and has little to do with current events at the end of December 2015. In 2014, SNAP funding was cut as part of a Federal “Farm Bill”, dropping assistance to as little as $15 per month, in legislation supported by both Democrats and Republicans. That legislation made changes in SNAP funding due to how a supplemental fund to help with heating costs changed qualifications for food stamps.
The key figure here is “$15 per month“. That is not per day but per month. This is the smallest support check that SNAP issues.  If you are receiving only $15/month it is because your income is sufficiently high that you were judged to not need as much assistance as others. Those who need more assistance, get more per month (as a simplified explanation).
Ultimately, actions of state governors offset the Federal cuts in SNAP: “While SNAP escaped the $40 billion cut in funding proposed in the version of the bill passed by the House, an estimated $8.5 billion was cut from SNAP benefits over the next decade in the final legislation. By raising the minimum level of heating assistance through LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) that qualifies an individual for SNAP, the bill was expected to reduce benefits by about $90 each month for 850,000 households in seventeen states. However, the governors of 12 of the affected states have increased LIHEAP benefits so that their constituents will still be eligible for SNAP. In effect, state governments have reversed the SNAP cuts in the majority of states where they would have occurred.”
There are several issues with this propaganda poster:

  • The issue it addresses occurred in 2014, not 2015.
  • The number of people receiving SNAP benefits fell sharply since peaking in 2009because the economy improved (this is a good thing!)
  • The issue is not connected to tax issues on the wealthy.
  • The vote on the 2014 Farm Bill in the House and Senate received strong support from both Democrats and Republicans. In the Senate, twice as many Democrats voted for the bill than did Republicans, even though Republicans outnumber Democrats in the Senate. That is of interest since the poster was distributed by an online Democratic Party support group.
  • The claim that the U.S. “has no real future” because the 2014 Farm Bill was passed is goofy nonsense – a fake strawman argument.

In the end, we have nothing more than a messed up propaganda poster that serves its purpose of emotionally riling up its support based within the community. From that perspective this poster is a propaganda success – even if it linked together old data and is a moot point poster.
Text for Search Engines
A message regarding cuts to the food stamp program: A country that expects poor seniors to eat on $15 a month to avoid taxing the wealthy is morally bankrupt and has no real future.

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