Odd Tom Cotton is nothing if not firm in his extremism. The Republcian Senate candidate assailed the farm bill in an appearance before the Arkansas Farm Bureau today though it numbers many supporters of the legislation he opposed. He also reportedly told a whopper about food stamps, which he’s long said should be drastically cut back.
According to Twitter accounts, Cotton told the farmers that it was mostly a food stamp bill and that millionaires could qualify for food stamps. He also urged drug testing of food stamp recipients. No word yet if he included children in this drug-testing scheme.
About food stamps for millionaires (a comment attributed to Cotton by Democrat-Gazette columnist John Brummett, who attended): It is simply untrue, though a recurring lie among Republicans.
A Democratic Party spokesman notes that a fact-checking organization looked into this one a while back and dubbed the pronouncement by Newt Gingrich of millionaire food stampers a “pants on fire” lie. Food stamps are means tested.
According to USDA, in 2010, about 43.2 of households on food stamps had gross incomes at 50 percent or less of the poverty line. A full 85 percent had gross incomes below 100 percent of the poverty line. The remaining 15 percent were between 100 percent and 130 percent of poverty, often elderly beneficiaries on fixed incomes.
People above the income ceiling could certainly receive benefits under false pretenses, but doing so would be illegal. Is it possible to be a millionaire and legally receive food stamps? We found one way — but it’s ridiculously improbable. You’d have to own a million-dollar house but have no other income, and live in a state with sufficiently lenient enforcement to allow it. (Principal residence values, among other assets, are not counted in determining eligibility.)
This one’s simple. Odd Tom merely needs to name an Arkansas millionaire on food stamps. Millionaires on corporate welfare programs and beneficiaries of windfall tax breaks for unearned income? Those would be much easier to find. Just peruse Cotton’s list of contributors from the Club for Growth.
Sen. Mark Pryor sent a video, a poor substitute for an in-person appearance.
John Lyon has a full report for Stephens Media, plus the unsubstantiated fraud claim.
“There’s still no asset test, which means millionaires can get food stamps,” he said
Challenged, he could cite none. But he claimed there were too many ways to defraud the government. Yes, millionaires do it all the time, though not for food stamps.