U.S. Congress cuts food stamps for those in need

Reginald J. Clyne | 2/13/2014, 9 a.m.

President Obama increased SNAP Benefits (Food Stamps) during his first term.  The increase was part of the economic stimulus package and ends November 1.  Congress wants to cut food stamps by an additional $39


Reginald J. Clyne

million and the Senate is willing to just decrease it by $5 billion.   With the drop in benefits, the average payment for meal for a person with food stamps is $1.40 per meal.  47 million lower income Americans will be impacted, mostly the poor, children, elderly or disabled. 1 in 6 Americans are hungry. 

One of the justifications  for the cuts is that adults capable of working are on food stamps and should find jobs. The problem with this rationale is that we are in a recession, and there is a shortage of jobs.  The other rationale for cutting  food stamps is that there is abuse of the program. It appears that 1.3 percent of recipients commit fraud.  It seems like we should punish the 1 percent committing fraud and not the 99 percent who are just  hungry.  Finally, we need to cut the deficit.  The deficit cutting sounds good on its face.  However, Congress is not cutting farm subsidies to large agribusiness who don’t need the money.  It appears that the agribusiness have a good strong lobby, and  were able to keep the funds coming even though 2012 was a banner year for agriculture, prices were up and we had record crop production.  Subsidies are paid regardless of financial need so the rich got richer in 2012.

So in the same farm bill, the legislature is cutting food stamps for 47 million needy Americans while maintaining funding for 157,000 large agribusiness.  Somehow paying corporations and starving people does not appear morale to me.