Colorado journalists and politicians who fell in line and attempted the bogus "Food Stamp Challenge" probably didn't anticipate that a Colorado blogger would call them out, and then call their bluff. But that is exactly what happened.
In June, Colorado Freedom Report's Ari Armstrong challenged those in that state's media and political class who swallowed the claim that Food Stamp recipients can't get by on $21 per person per week (even though, as syndicated columnist Mona Charen and yours truly noted back in April, the right number is between about $27 and $36, depending on family size) to pay $10 to a charity of Mr. Armstrong's choice for every dollar under $1,080 ($6 a day for 180 days) that he and his wife combined spent on food in a six-month period.
(Picky, picky -- The Armstrongs were even tougher on themselves than they needed to be, as there are 184 days in the six-month August 2006 - January 2007 time period involved. They could have used $1,104 as their benchmark.)
Nonetheless, Armstrong had only two people take up his challenge:
The rest, including Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, Denver Human Services Manager Roxane White, and Diane Carman and the editorial staff of The Denver Post, obviously don't even believe their own propaganda. If they really believed that $3 per person per day for food is inadequate, then they should have happily accepted our challenge in order to prove us wrong.
In the process, Armstrong has provided a valuable service by showing just how bogus the nationwide "Food Stamp Challenge" has been from the very beginning -- even at the incorrectly low $21 per person per week level. No one can seriously believe that Ohio's Tim Ryan, Illinois’ Jan Schakowsky, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongowski, or any of the other publicity-seeking poseurs would have bet against Armstrong.
This case is closed -- By showing that advocates won't put their money where their overexercised mouths are, Armstrong has, uh, cooked their goose.
Nevertheless, to prove their point, the Armstrongs have revised their plans, and are going to get through the month of August -- a period over four times longer than the seven days Food Stamp program expansion advocates carried out their "Challenge" -- on $180 in food. Ari has pledged to fully document their results.
(Picky, picky -- they could have used $186, which is 31 days times $3 a day for two people.)
He has named their new effort "The Liberty and Prosperity Challenge."
I'm looking forward to seeing just how far under $180 they come in, and to the insights on how to economize that accompany their efforts. If form holds, Colorado's media and political class will try to pretend that Armstrong doesn't exist. Readers here know better.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.