If you are too poor to buy food but have always dreamed of visiting the South Pacific, don’t worry: You can pay for your groceries — and your next Hawaiian vacation — with food stamps.
Actually, that’s not true — not even close to being true — but Newt Gingrich, who wants to rep the GOP in the 2012 presidential election, certainly thinks so.
“You don’t get food stamps,” the former House speaker told reporters Wednesday. “You get a credit card and the credit card can be used for anything. We’ve had people take their food-stamp money and use it to go to Hawaii.”
He goes on, telling ABC: “And you know, they give food stamps now to millionaires. Because after all, don’t you want to be compassionate?You know the Obama model: Isn’t there somebody you’d like to give money to this week?”
Unfortunately for Gingrich, this doesn’t jibe with the facts: You can’t pay for plane tickets or booze with food stamps, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). You also can’t receive them if you make a lot of money, so there goes the millionaire myth, as PolitiFact has reported.
(Oregon’s SNAP setup might allow people to buy Starbucks — but the very recent news reports still seem a bit dicey, as the investigation originally came from a Fox affiliate.)
So, there you have it: Another well-heeled politician incorrectly assumes that the nation’s poor can’t be trusted to buy their own food.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 2, 2011