SNAP — A Program Constantly Under Threat

By Matthew Schuster
October 25, 2011

With all of the Super Committee budget work that is being done in Congress, it is more than important to make sure our country’s politicians do not make cuts in funding to the “SNAP” program*. The program is always in threat of losing funding, and with the recession, we at NETWORK are more concerned than usual about protecting it.

SNAP is the current title of the food stamp program that helps 43 million low-income Americans to afford an adequate diet. For example, one in eight Latinos needs the program. The reason that SNAP becomes an issue during budget organization is because the federal government pays for the full cost of the program. However, it is a necessary program and money well spent. It has been the most responsive federal assistance program and in this economic downturn, it is needed more than ever. In fact, 15.6 million more people have participated in the SNAP program since the recession began in 2008.

The truth is that the amount people get a month averages only about $134. That is basically a dollar a meal. With all the government spends on expensive military operations overseas, that is such a meager cost to feed someone within our own country. Furthermore, SNAP includes employment and training assistance so that people can indeed have some resources to move from government assistance to work. If people do not believe in food stamps, they should visit a food bank or soup kitchen. This is one program that I definitely will never mind my tax dollars going towards.

* The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the name of the Food Stamps program. As noted by the Coalition on Human Needs: “The goal of the program is to alleviate hunger and malnutrition by permitting low-income households to obtain a more nutritious diet through normal channels of trade.” It provides monthly benefits to eligible low-income families for the purchase of food. These benefits are funded by the federal government, with states providing part of the administrative costs.

As noted in a recent NETWORK blog post from former NETWORK Associate Casey Schoeneberger, “SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) has proven to be the most successful and cost-effective anti-poverty program in the nation, most recently in response to the recession and high unemployment rate. With the current “food insecurity rate” of 1 in 20 families (FRAC, 3/2/11) surely more children and struggling families will go hungry if the Republican Budget Resolution to turn SNAP into a block grant becomes law. The House Republican plan to change SNAP would endanger lives. Not only is an adequate food safety net the most basic support the government and fellow citizens can provide struggling families, but economists agree that food stamps are one of the best known stimulus tools the government can use to spur the economy, adding $1.74 to the economy for every $1.00 spent.”

To access the government website explaining the program click here.

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