Merry Christmas: Republicans Cut SNAP Benefits


This would be bad news no matter what time of year it was announced, but announcing cutbacks to food programs just before the holidays seems particularly cruel. For this current administration it is par for the course in their treatment of children. The fact that no Republican anywhere put up a fight for the poor is no surprise.

These cutbacks are expected to affect 700,000 recipients and save $5 billion over 5 years. Not too surprisingly, the effects will not be limited to 700,000 as families and communities will also suffer. The billion dollars a year is such a small blip in the sea of federal government spending. This os but a few hours of spending for the Pentagon.

Nathalie Baptiste at Mother Jones magazine did some research into what these cutbacks will mean. Here  are some excerpts from her story:  

“The Trump Administration issued a draconian rule in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that will cut off basic food assistance for nearly 700,000 of the nation’s poorest and most destitute people,” Robert Greenstein, the president and founder of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said in a statement


“These are folks who are already living on the edge,” says Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, the executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. She adds, “It is our national nutrition safety net and it serves 40 million Americans. I’ve never witnessed anything like this. It’s a deliberate attack.” Unsurprisingly, the rule will hit communities of color and people living in rural areas the hardest.

Despite conservative rhetoric, able-bodied adults without dependents who receive SNAP are some of the poorest Americans. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, their average income is 18 percent of the poverty line. Their average monthly SNAP benefits are approximately $165 a month. For many of them, because they are adults without children or other dependents, these are the only federal benefits they are eligible for.


Along with gutting a crucial benefit for the poor, the new Trump administration rule could also affect grocery stores in rural {ed. note – this will affect areas in Iowa} and other high-need areas where many customers use SNAP. “Grocery stores are not going to stay in those communities,” Hamler-Fugitt says. “That’s a quality-of-life issue for everyone.” She notes that food banks won’t be able to serve as a stand-in for federal food assistance. “Do not think for one minute that food banks and pantries can fill this gap.” (my bolding – ed.)

It seems readily apparent that the target are poor people living in the cities. Our myth is that that is where those “sponging” off the government are located. As usual the myth is wrong and the administration’s shotgun approach will as usual hit unintended victims. In this case it will hit the poor living in rural areas and small town. This is the Republican base and similar to the same groups that took the most direct hits from the current president’s poorly thought out and executed tariff policies.

The Food Stamp program – now SNAP – began in the late 1930s as a way to feed the poor and hungry in the cities at a time when farms were destroying over production. Rather than waste the good food, the food stamp program was created. This is still one of the purposes of the program. So SNAP not only helps the poor, it also creates a market for farmers.   


About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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