WTF Community

Day 1047

1/ The White House will not participate in the Judiciary Committee's first impeachment hearing on Wednesday. In a letter to Chairman Jerry Nadler, White House counsel Pat Cipollone called the inquiry "baseless" and "partisan," and that "all" of Trump's due process rights had been violated by the impeachment inquiry. Cipollone did not rule out the possibility that the White House would participate in future proceedings. The White House has a Friday deadline to decide whether or not Trump will offer a defense as part of the broader impeachment proceedings. (Politico / CNN / NBC News / Washington Post / Reuters / ABC News)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

In addition to the millions of struggling families whose health and well being will be jeopardized, this move will harm farmers, retailers, and local economies. I don’t have any numbers on the extent of the impact, but here’s a recent study on how much the SNAP program benefits these entities:

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, previously food stamps) is an important public-private partnership that helps families afford a basic diet, generates business for retailers, and boosts local economies. SNAP accounts for about 10 percent of the food that U.S. families buy for their homes. Participants purchase groceries with SNAP benefits at about 260,000 retailers — from superstores to farmers’ markets — across the country. By increasing low-income households’ purchasing power so they can buy the food they need directly from stores, SNAP integrates economically marginalized households with almost no government administrative overhead resulting from food distribution.

SNAP redemptions are a meaningful share of food purchases in our country. In fiscal year 2017, SNAP participants redeemed about $63 billion in SNAP benefits for food purchases, supporting retailers of every size. In 2014 (the most current year available), the roughly $70 billion in SNAP redemptions accounted for approximately 10 percent of expenditures on food for consumption at home.

SNAP generates business for retailers of all types and sizes. SNAP retailers comprise big- box superstores and major national grocery chains as well as small specialty stores, convenience stores, and farmers’ markets. Between 2013 and 2017, the number of authorized retailers increased by 4 percent. Recent growth in the number of participating retailers has made SNAP an integral part of the food retail industry.
SNAP provides important support for small business. While over 80 percent of SNAP benefits are used at larger stores, including superstores (like Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco) and supermarkets (like Food Lion and Safeway), the vast majority of SNAP authorized retailers — about 80 percent — are smaller stores. These include many locally owned businesses, such as private groceries, convenience stores, dairies, butchers, bakeries, and farm stands. For these small businesses, SNAP is an important revenue source — particularly in high-poverty areas, where SNAP purchases can account for a significant share of a retailer’s total sales.

SNAP increases both food and non-food purchases. Households participating in SNAP spend more on food. But SNAP also increases their overall purchasing power, allowing them to meet other basic needs. By providing more resources for food, SNAP helps free up cash for poor households to buy other essential items, like diapers and medication. As a result, retail sales increase, benefiting stores that sell both food and non-food items.

SNAP helps local economies. Because most households redeem their monthly SNAP benefits quickly and because the program helps struggling households purchase adequate food, SNAP is one of the most effective forms of economic stimulus during a downturn. Economists estimate that, in a weak economy, every SNAP dollar that households redeem expands the economy by about $1.70. In 2009, the peak year of the last recession, $50 billion in SNAP benefits were spent in local stores, generating about $85 billion in local economic activity, even as the overall economy was struggling.

Has the impact on small grocery stores in impoverished areas been considered? The report points out, “For these small businesses, SNAP is an important revenue source — particularly in high-poverty areas, where SNAP purchases can account for a significant share of a retailer’s total sales.” One of the major problems in depressed areas is that residents lack access to grocery stores because it can be difficult for the stores to make a profit in the area – this can add to a snowballing decline of a neighborhood. I don’t know for sure, but I imagine that this sharp reduction in food stamp revenue for small, struggling grocery stores may cause even more to shutter their doors.

The SNAP cutbacks will also hurt local farmers markets.

This report makes a case that the SNAP program helps support farmers markets. Again, I don’t have any numbers to show the negative impact of the new rules, but considering that millions of food stamp recipients will have their benefits reduced or eliminated, I imagine the impact on farmer’s markets could be significant. BTW, the fact that these numbers are not readily available on the web, makes me wonder if the negative impacts to businesses and farmers were even considered when making these cuts.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides over 45 million low-income Americans with monthly benefits that can be used to purchase most foods and beverages. Each year program participants spend roughly $70 billion in SNAP benefits, including more than $22.4 million at farmers markets in 2017. While SNAP helps low-income Americans purchase food, the program also supports farmers and farmers markets in all 50 states. …


WTF - we are now going to plow through a natural refuge area with a wall that no one wants…and no one thinks is money well spent. T got his Wall deal with his guy.

A company that President Trump urged military officials to hire for border wall construction has been awarded a $400 million contract to build a span of new barrier across an Arizona wildlife refuge, according to a Department of Defense announcement Monday.

North Dakota-based Fisher Sand and Gravel Co. won the contract to build in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Yuma County, Ariz., the Defense Department said, with a target completion date of Dec. 30, 2020.

Trump has repeatedly pushed for Fisher to get a wall-building contract, urging officials with the Army Corps of Engineers to pick the firm — only to be told Fisher’s bids did not meet standards. Trump’s entreaties on behalf of the company have concerned some officials who are unaccustomed to the president getting personally involved in the intricacies of government contracting.

Trump has been enamored with Tommy Fisher, the company’s CEO who has made multiple appearances on Fox News to promote his firm and insist it would do a better job than those the government had already chosen. The company’s attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment late Monday.

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), a Fisher booster who has taken the case to the Oval Office, has argued that the company could build the wall faster than any of the current Army Corps contractors. Trump has grown upset in recent months that so few miles have been built given his campaign promises to construct hundreds of miles of wall to keep immigrants from crossing into the United States via the southern border.


Trump’s entirely unsurprising response to Lisa Page speaking out:

After smeared FBI lawyer Lisa Page speaks out, Trump tweets demand to see “lovers texts”

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