Make us your home page
Instagram

PolitiFact.com | Tampa Bay Times

Rise in food stamps far below Giuliani's claim

Caption: (Tampa 12/15/2007) Republican primary presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani gives a speech at the Tampa Convention Center. (CHRIS ZUPPA   |   Times) Summary: Republican presidential primary candidate Rudy Giuliani delivers a speech at the Tampa Convention Center.

TP_279802_ZUPP_Rudy_7

Caption: (Tampa 12/15/2007) Republican primary presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani gives a speech at the Tampa Convention Center. (CHRIS ZUPPA | Times) Summary: Republican presidential primary candidate Rudy Giuliani delivers a speech at the Tampa Convention Center.

The statement

"Food stamps have gone up 2½ times under Barack Obama."

Rudy Giuliani, Sept. 4 on CNN's State of the Union

The ruling

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a surrogate for Donald Trump, recently criticized President Barack Obama's stewardship of the economy as he touted Trump's efforts to court African-American voters.

"So, now you compare New York to Detroit and Baltimore, and you look at the number of crimes in both of those cities and you look at New York, you look at the unemployment rates, you look at the economic opportunities, and you see that I think Donald Trump is the first Republican since Jack Kemp, and me, to go into minority, poor communities and say, the Democrats have failed you for 50 years, and you are reflexively giving them your vote, and they are going from bad to worse," Giuliani said. "Food stamps have gone up 2½ times under Barack Obama. He should be ashamed of himself. Jobs should have gone up 2½ times."

Is the use of food stamps — formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP — really 2½ times higher than it was when Obama took office?

The short answer is that it's higher — but not by nearly that much. And in recent years, it's been falling.

SNAP is the federal government's largest food program, eclipsing other big farm-bill food spending for school lunches and breakfasts and for the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program. It helps low-income people buy groceries, usually with benefit cards that work like debit cards.

Two factors undergird the rise in food stamp use during Obama's presidency.

The first is that the number of food stamp beneficiaries ticked upward under President George W. Bush due to policies that broadened eligibility for the program and more aggressive efforts to get eligible Americans to apply for benefits. These policies remained in place under Obama.

The second is the 2007-2009 recession, which drove the number of SNAP recipients to record highs. In an average month in 2011, one in seven U.S. residents got help.

So what does the trend line for food stamp usage under Obama look like? The number of beneficiaries did rise — but not nearly by 2½ times, or 150 percent. At the outset of Obama's presidency, nearly 32 million people were receiving SNAP benefits. By May 2016, that number had risen to 43.5 million, an increase of 36 percent.

That's a significant increase, and it's one of the weakest economic metrics on Obama's watch. But it's not 2½ times as high as when he came into office, as Giuliani said.

It's also worth noting that while the number of recipients is higher now than it was when Obama took office, it has fallen, slowly but consistently, over the past three years.

What about the cost of the program? During the Obama presidency, the cost of SNAP increased at a somewhat faster rate than the number of beneficiaries did — by just under 50 percent. But even that increase was nowhere near the 2½ times or 150 percent that Giuliani cited.

We rate the claim False.

Edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com.

Rise in food stamps far below Giuliani's claim 09/09/16 [Last modified: Friday, September 9, 2016 5:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Will new laws protect condo owners from apartment conversions and rogue associations?

    Real Estate

    Danny Di Nicolantonio has lived in St. Petersburg's Calais Village Condominums for 33 years. Annoyed at times by the actions, or inaction, of the condo board and property managers, he has complained to the state agency that is supposed to investigate.

    That has left him even more annoyed.

    A bill passed by the Florida Legislature would affect places like The Slade in Tampa's Channelside district, where cCondominium owners have battled a plan to convert homes into apartments.
[Times file photo]
  2. Walmart opens first Pinellas County in-house training academy

    Retail

    Seminole — It had all the hallmarks of a typical graduation: robe-clad graduates marching in to Pomp and Circumstance, friends and family packed together under a sweltering tent and a lineup of speakers encouraging the graduates to take charge of their future.

    New Walmart Academy graduates are congratulated Thursday morning by associates during a graduation ceremony at the Walmart store, 10237 Bay Pines Boulevard, St. Petersburg. The Walmart location is one of the company's training academies where managers complete a one week retail course. David Shultz and Richard Sheehan, both from St. Petersburg, get high fives from the crowd.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  3. Lawsuit: Florida contractor fakes death to dodge angry homeowners

    Human Interest

    SEMINOLE — For weeks, Glenn Holland, 67, crawled out of bed before the sun rose to look for a dead man.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  4. Owners to level Port Richey flea market but may rebuild

    Public Safety

    PORT RICHEY — The owners of the recently shuttered USA Flea Market have agreed to demolish all structures on the property, leaving open the possibility of rebuilding the weekend shopping attraction, according to Pasco County officials.

    Pasco County officials shut down the USA Flea Market after it received hundreds of citations for health and code violations.
  5. Kimmins Protégé-Mentor Program a crash course on business know-how

    Business

    TAMPA

    Williams Landscape Management Company was founded 30 years ago with one employee.

    Marisela Linares and Jorge Castro listen to speakers during a workshop at the Kimmins Contracting Corporation on Wednesday, June 7, 2017.   Kimmins Contracting Corporation is handling road construction projects Jeff Vinik's company as he remakes the Channel District. To do some outreach, the company is partnering with three minority contractors, but it's a unique partnership with Kimmins not only giving them the opportunity, but taking them through a series of workshops. It's essentially providing training to the subcontractors so they will be in position to get other contracts.