President Barack Obama forcefully pushed back against conservative rhetoric targeting food stamp recipients on Tuesday night, declaring in his final State of the Union address that people on food stamps were not responsible for the 2008 financial crash — the titans of the financial industry were.
"After years now of record corporate profits, working families won't get more opportunity, or bigger paychecks just by letting big banks or big oil, or hedge funds make their own rules at everybody else's expense," Obama said. "Middle class families are not going to feel more secure because we allow attacks on collective bargaining to go unanswered. Food stamp recipients did not cause the financial crisis. Recklessness on Wall Street did."
Continuing his Bernie Sanders moment, Obama added: "Immigrants are not the principal reason wages have not gone up. Those decisions were made in the boardrooms that all too often put quarterly earnings over long-term returns. It is sure not the average family watching tonight that avoids paying taxes through offshore accounts."
Conservatives have targeted the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, known colloquially as food stamps, for cuts in recent years, arguing that the program is rife with fraud, although research shows an infinitesimal fraud rate. Under stringent federal welfare rules that impose time limits on benefits, at least 500,000 and up to 1 million people will lose food stamp benefits in 2016, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.