Fox Pushes Ohio Governor's Plan To Limit Food Stamp Access
As food insecurity remains high, Fox News touted a plan by Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich to impose work requirements on food stamp recipients, despite concerns that Ohio does not have enough jobs to accommodate those who would have their benefits put in jeopardy.
On the September 10 edition of Fox News' America Live, host Martha MacCallum and guest Chris Plante expressed support for Kasich's proposal to require some food stamp recipients to spend 20 hours a week working or engaging in work-related activities such as job training. MacCallum likened the program to college work-study programs, saying, "Nobody thinks that that model is an inappropriate model or an unfair or mean model, so what's wrong with it?" Plante called the program "a reasonable and honest and decent approach to getting people back to work," claiming, "we live in a world now where Democrats, the Democrat party has put themselves in the unfortunate position where they are now incentivized as a political party to keep as many people on the public dole as possible":
But according  to The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio officials point out that the availability of jobs and qualifying activities is lower than the number of people who fall under the new requirement:
"We don't have nearly enough places for 15,000 people" to work, said Lance Porter, spokesman for the Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services. Many of the "able-bodied" food-stamp recipients in the Columbus area have disabilities and are seeking Supplemental Social Security, an application process that can take months, even years.
"We don't oppose the requirement, but most of these people have no other income than food stamps. Getting them transportation and other help to participate in work activities costs money," said Jack Frech, director of the Athens County Department of Job and Family Services. "We'll have 1,000 people subject to this requirement and there is no way we will have work sites for them. Every work site we have is already filled up by people working for cash assistance."
The article also quoted Joel Potts, the executive director of the Ohio Job and Family Services Directors' Association saying, "The rolls will go down because of this. Some people will leave because of the requirement, and some won't be able to meet it. It will be similar to what we saw with (welfare) rolls."
After guest Leslie Marshall pointed out that "we don't have enough jobs for the people to go to with all this training in the state of Ohio," Plante claimed Kasich is "implementing policies that are lowering the unemployment rate in Ohio." In fact, a Pew Research survey found  that Ohio ranks 47th among the 50 states in private sector job creation over the past year. Kasich also argued against  the auto bailout in 2008 despite nearly 12 percent of Ohio's labor force being linked to the auto industry.
Fox's promotion of Kasich's food stamp plan comes as the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported  that 14.5 percent of American households' "access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources," and remains at essentially the same level as 2011:
- In 2012, 85.5 percent of U.S. households were food secure throughout the year. The remaining 14.5 percent (17.6 million households) were food insecure. Food-insecure households (those with low and very low food security) had difficulty at some time during the year providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources. The change from the 2011 estimate (14.9 percent) was not statistically significant, meaning that the difference may be due to sampling variation. The prevalence of food insecurity has been essentially unchanged since 2008.
- In 2012, 5.7 percent of U.S. households (7.0 million households) had very low food security. In this more severe range of food insecurity, the food intake of some household members was reduced and normal eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year due to limited resources. The prevalence of very low food security was unchanged from 2011 (5.7 percent).