Tom Reed’s one sided view of hunger in NY-23



Ron Nixon, in an article in the NY Times dated Feb. 4, 2014 titled “Senate Passes Long-Stalled Farm Bill, With Clear Winners and Losers” writes:

No one was happier than Danny Murphy, a Mississippi soybean farmer with 1,500 acres, when the Senate on Tuesday passed a farm bill that expanded crop insurance and other benefits for agribusiness.



Few were as unhappy (about the compromise farm bill) as Sheena Wright, the president of the United Way in New York, who expects to see a surge of hungry people seeking help because the bill cuts $8 billion in food stamps over a decade. “You are going to have to make a decision on what you are going to do, buy food or pay rent,” Ms. Wright said.

The article continues:

Over all, farmers fared far better than the poor.

A cut of $8 billion in a decade amounts to $800 million per year. Yet Tom Reed writes:

The recently passed Farm Bill includes a $205 million increase for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), an important program Rep. Tom Reed is pleased to see increased support for in the final Farm Bill expected to be signed into law this week. Reed says the funding will help distribute food to local food banks, pantries and meal programs in New York.

Thus for Tom a $205 million increase in Federal support for foodbanks, as welcome as that is, compensates for a $800 million cut in SNAP funding.  Desperate people apply for help at foodbanks, which for many are a last resort.  SNAP enables people to buy food for themselves at stores. Tom Reed’s logic and math both stink.

Here are the facts about the $205 million increase for  The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP):

TEFAP funds the purchase of commodities for distribution through food banks and the emergency food system.  Mandatory funding from the Food and Nutrition Act for fiscal year 2013 was $266 million.  The conference agreement would raise the grant by $50 million in fiscal year 2015 $40 million in fiscal year 2016, $20 million in fiscal year 2017, and $15 million in fiscal year 2018 and later years (with annual adjustments for inflation in subsequent years).  In addition, it would make funds available for two years, giving food providers more flexibility to respond to fluctuations in need for emergency assistance.

Tom, who seldom tells the whole story, neglected to mention that the increase is $50 million, not $205 million, in 2015 and only reaches $205 million in 2021.

 © William Hungerford – February 2014


About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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15 Responses to Tom Reed’s one sided view of hunger in NY-23

  1. Deb Meeker says:

    Since Tom Reed’s most generous donor is the insurance industry, I’m sure he’ll be expecting some nice fat checks.

    “The New York Times scores the winners and losers. The big winner? The insurance industry.
    Unlike the food stamp program, the federally subsidized crop insurance program was not cut. The program, which is administered by 18 companies that are paid $1.4 billion annually by the government to sell policies to farmers, pays 62 percent of farmers’ premiums.”


  2. whungerford says:

    Incredible: more welfare for those who need it least.


  3. BOB McGILL says:

    What you won’t admit is that——
    A cut of $8 billion in a decade amounts to $800 million per year was only a 1% cut. Do you mean to tell me you can’t find 1% in waste that can’t be cut without having someone starve ? The aid to farmers will reduce the cost of food for everyone more than that. Don’t you understand how it works ? 🙂


  4. Barbara Griffin says:

    It’s so sad that the government will not extend unemployment benefits to those who can’t find jobs…and those that do, often can’t earn a living wage…and now the government cuts food subsidies. Meanwhile, the rich get richer, and billion dollar corporations pay little or nothing in taxes. There is something seriously wrong with this picture.


  5. whungerford says:

    I do agree, Bob. SNAP costs about 80 billion so an 800 million dollar cut is one percent. However, the compromise Farm Bill cuts benefits for about 850,000 households in 17 states by an average of $90 a month, according to CBO — no small matter for those affected. Your claim that aid to farmers will reduce the cost of food for everyone seems wrong — more likely it will pad the profits of agri-interests.


  6. BOB McGILL says:

    Your statements are nothing but conjecture. Nothing you ever say can be proven or even comes close to reality. 🙂


  7. whungerford says:

    Bob, even when I agree with you, you aren’t satisfied. Loss of benefits isn’t conjecture: that comes from the CBO. If you think farm subsidies reduce costs to consumers when the cost of the subsidies is taken into account, please explain.


  8. whungerford says:

    What’s wrong is the idea held by many including Tom Reed that receiving benefits discourages people from finding jobs. The fact is that people who don’t have jobs need benefits.


  9. BOB McGILL says:

    It is just your perception. Rich people and corporations built this country. In fact, it was the rich people who started the Revolution, otherwise we would still be a British colony.


  10. whungerford says:

    The idea that rich people “built this country” is contrary to fact. How many rich people hitched up the team every morning to plow, worked as a lumberjack or a quarryman, worked a rivet gun or a jackhammer, laid bricks, laid track, or harvested crops? It would be more correct to say that many got rich from the labor of others.


  11. BOB McGILL says:

    Well, when the richest 1% pay 95 % of all taxes that, in fact, provide the money for the subsidies, just who do you think benefits ? You think it is your money but it is not. Ever heard the story about the goose that laid the golden egg ? YOU WANT TO EAT THE GOOSE ! This country is at a cross roads where we need to lighten up and stop driving the wealthy people out. Why do you think New York is so bad off ? The wealthy are moving out, plain and simple. I know more than one person that is moving to Costa Rica !! 😛


  12. BOB McGILL says:

    Ya know, I used to work for a corporation. We had to work overtime and I would take home $5.00 for working Saturdays, so I stopped working overtime. GET IT ??????


  13. whungerford says:

    You’re right, Bob: I don’t get it. Surely we need doctors and lawyers, business investors, stock brokers, corporate executives, and entrepreneurs. They need to be fairly paid, but they needn’t be rich. In fact, if we adopt Tom Reed’s ideas, they had better be poor. Tom believes only desperate people will bother to work.


  14. BOB McGILL says:

    Which came first the chicken or the egg ? Rich people created the projects, provided the jobs and that opertunity is what brought many immigrants to this country. Besides, many of the so called laborers got rich, didn’t they .


  15. BOB McGILL says:

    ever heard the saying ” you can’t fix stupid “


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