Don´t cut SNAP benefits

Jim Weill, from FRAC, pens an excellent op ed on the Hill talking about why the cuts to SNAP proposed by Eric Cantor in the House of Representatives are a terrible idea:

Everyone with a conscience should be mad as hell at those in Congress who have signed up behind a heartless Farm Bill proposal to cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). Their plan would throw millions of people out of the program and cut benefits for millions more.

If you are a man, woman, parent, business owner, farmer, teacher or veteran, you should be furious. If you’re old, young, Black, Hispanic or White, your blood should be boiling. Why? Because we all stand to lose big.

Weill gives some examples on why SNAP benefits are so important, and why cutting them would have some real, lasting effects for millions of Americans and our economy:

Children. Rampant unemployment and the proliferation of low-wage jobs have resulted in one out of two American children spending at least a few months during childhood on food stamps. The good news? Food stamps help boost their health, learning and long-term productivity. The bad news? House Republicans have made children prime targets for cuts. (...)

Women. SNAP cuts are particularly brutal to women. Because they tend to earn less and be the primary caregivers to children, 60 percent of working-age adult SNAP recipients are women. In addition, 67 percent of elderly SNAP recipients are women.

In Connecticut alone, more than 430,000 people  received SNAP benefits in June 2013.  Many of them are children. The majority of them are on working families. SNAP benefits are going to be subject to automatic cuts later this years as additional funding from the stimulus bills expires; cutting the program further will be devastating to millions of children  and families across the country.

The SNAP program is a crucial part of the US safety net. Cutting the program is damaging and senseless, and will only hurt those who are the most vulnerable. Considering how income inequality has skyrocketed since the end of the recession, this cut is anything but a reasonable way to cut deficit.

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