Proposed Cuts to the WIC Nutrition Program Bassed Upon False Information

Apparently, some members of Congress think the phrase “women and children first” applies to budget cuts. Even worse, the proposed cuts are based upon false information:

Ill-Informed Claim Does Not Justify WIC Cuts, CBPP: The House is scheduled to vote today on a measure to slash funding for the WIC nutrition program, which (as we have shown) would force the program to turn away at least 200,000 to 350,000 eligible low-income women and children next year.  The Appropriations Committee approved this unprecedented cut last month, in part based on the claim that more than 40 percent of WIC costs go to program administration.  But this claim is flatly false, as our new paper shows.

In reality, only about 9 percent of federal funds for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) go to administrative costs, and these costs represent only about 6 percent of the program’s total cost.. In deriving the 40 percent figure, the Committee apparently misunderstood a finding in a federal Agriculture Department (USDA) report…

The proposed funding cuts for WIC are unprecedented.  Since 1997, Congress — on a bipartisan basis — has provided sufficient funding each year for WIC to serve all eligible low-income pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants, and young children at nutritional risk who apply.  False claims regarding WIC administrative costs are no justification for breaking that 14-year commitment.

It’s definitely more important to cut nutrition funding for 200,000 to 350,000 children than to, say, cut back on defense spending. Or raise taxes on the wealthy, run a temporary deficit, or just about anything else. And if there are real administration problems with a program like WIC instead of phantom, imaginary problems as in this case, we should make children pay the cost instead of firing administrators and then trying to fix the administrative problems. Let’s hope the vote on this fails.

About Mark Thoma 243 Articles

Affiliation: University of Oregon

Mark Thoma is a member of the Economics Department at the University of Oregon. He joined the UO faculty in 1987 and served as head of the Economics Department for five years. His research examines the effects that changes in monetary policy have on inflation, output, unemployment, interest rates and other macroeconomic variables with a focus on asymmetries in the response of these variables to policy changes, and on changes in the relationship between policy and the economy over time. He has also conducted research in other areas such as the relationship between the political party in power, and macroeconomic outcomes and using macroeconomic tools to predict transportation flows. He received his doctorate from Washington State University.

Visit: Economist's View

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.