David Frum

03.20.13

Michele Bachmann, Shockingly, Gets Food Stamps All Wrong

The Washington Post's Glen Kessler sorts through this very Michele Bachmanny Michele Bachmann quote from CPAC:

“Here's the truth that the president won't tell you. Of every dollar that you hold in your hands, 70 cents of that dollar that's supposed to go to the poor doesn't. It actually goes to benefit the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. — 70 cents on the dollar. That's how the president's caring works in practice. So $3 in food stamps for the needy, $7 in salaries and pensions for the bureaucrats who are supposed to be taking care of the poor. So with all due respect, I ask you, how does this show that our president cares about the poor?”

Kessler, perplexed, commits an act of journalism and tracks down the source of the 70 percent statistic. Shockingly, it turns out Bachmann is less than accurate with her numbers. (Emphasis mine).

“I have seen this quoted back to me,” Tanner said in an interview Monday. “It is always quoted back to me wrong. I wrote about bureaucrats and others who serve the poor” — the whole panoply of people who receive federal dollars because of anti-poverty programs. Or, as Woodson originally put it, the “poverty industry.” Asked about Bachmann’s claim, Tanner said: “That’s not what I said.”