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AMERICA THE DEPENDENT

| Monday, April 30, 2012, 5:24 p.m.

Government's food-stamp stampede and its ballooning costs have reached all-time highs, prompting a political pie fight over how to sustain the entitlement instead of how to contain it.

Based on Congressional Budget Office estimates, one out of every seven Americans is on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the cost of which has more than doubled since 2008. That ratio soon could grow to one in five. And that's not entirely blamed on the recession. The caseload and costs have been surging since 2000.

Yet the Obama administration, which keeps spoon-feeding the entitlement mentality, wants to spend even more on this and other welfare programs, which last year reached $927 billion, according to The Heritage Foundation. But heaven help the conservative who suggests pulling the emergency brake on this runaway train.

"We're going in the wrong direction in that we're growing the amount of people who are being on government subsistence or government dependency," Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., tells Newsmax. That must change.

It's not enough to simply control "waste and abuse," Mr. West says; the focus should be getting people off the dole. That begins by limiting, not lengthening, benefits and giving people incentive to find work and earn.

Of course, that also requires an economic turnaround, which President Obama's public-handout proclivities cannot sustain.

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