Why Won’t the Feds Disclose What People Buy With Food Stamps?

American taxpayers spend a whopping $80 billion per year on food stamps. The program is supposed to be for the poor, but more and more middle class Americans are using it, and the Democrats have blocked any attempts at reform. We don’t even know what people spend that money on, because the federal government refuses to tell us.

Food stamps can be spent on goods ranging from candy to steak and are accepted at retailers from gas stations that primarily sell potato chips to fried-chicken restaurants. And as the amount spent on food stamps has more than doubled in recent years, the amount of food stamps laundered into cash has increased dramatically, government statistics show.

But the government won’t say which stores are doing the most business in food stamps, and even it doesn’t know what kinds of food those taxpayer dollars buy.

Coinciding with lobbying by convenience stores, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the program in conjunction with states, contends that disclosing how much each store authorized to accept benefits, known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), receives in taxpayer funds would amount to revealing trade secrets.

As a result, fraud is hard to track and the efficacy of the massive program is impossible to evaluate.

As the House debates the once-every-five-years farm bill, the majority of which goes to food stamps, there is a renewed and fervent call from a broad spectrum of camps that the information — some of the most high-dollar, frequently requested and closely held secrets of the government — be set free.

Read the whole thing. What is the government trying to hide? We have a right to know what our tax dollars are being spent on.

Update: Linked by Lady Liberty – thanks!