I don't believe there is a single government program that is despised as much as the Food Stamp Program, or as it is now called, SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). For years, people have railed against abuse in the system. And this year congress finally did something about it. Congressional Republicans were successful in their fight to pull the food stamp program out of the farm bill and let it stand alone. Then they went to work finally right sizing the problem. They were able to reduce the food stamp payout by about $36 per household. That's billions of our tax dollars in the years to come. Four days ago those cuts went into effect.
Now I don't know if it is a coincidence or not, but yesterday, three days after those cuts, I received an e-mail with a plea for help from friends at the United Way. It said:
"YOUR LOCAL SALVATION ARMY IS OUT OF FOOD IN THEIR FOOD PANTRY...They are turning people away...Won't you please help?"
That e-mail made me stop and think. Say what you want about abuses in the system, but realize this, there are people in your community who need help to make ends meet. If they don't receive it, they go hungry.
Some folks would suggest that there is an easy fix - "get up and go to work like the rest of us." Those folks need to understand this: The majority of folks on SNAP who can work, do so.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, roughly four out of five program recipients are already working or belong to the 70 percent of program recipients who are not expected to work. And why would they not be expected to work? That's easy- because they are children, they are elderly, or they are disabled.
A good measure of the effectiveness of any government is the ability to care for the most vulnerable within their society. This is not a third world country we live in, this is the land of plenty. There is no reason for anyone in the Heartland of America to go to bed hungry tonight. Unfortunately with these cuts to the SNAP program, some will.
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