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Newt Gingrich has been castigated for referring to President Barack Obama as the “best food-stamp president in American history.” I, too, dislike the former House speaker’s inflammatory phrasing. Yet I am also troubled by the more than $100 billion designated for “food and nutrition” in the president’s 2013 budget. The current dominance of in-kind transfer programs, such as food stamps, Medicaid and housing support, relative to cash- based welfare programs, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and Temporary Aid to Needy Families, is based on politics rather than economics. A consolidated cash-based program could more efficiently deliver assistance and more effectively encourage employment.


Glaeser, Edward L. "Cash Is Better Than Food Stamps in Helping Poor." Bloomberg News, February 27, 2012.