If House Republicans get their way, then we will see as many as three million of our countrymen go without food assistance in the next year.
Republicans are justifying their proposed cuts by pointing out that many food stamp recipients “auto-qualify” simply because they qualify for another assistance program – the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
What they want to do then is to get SNAP recipients to meet minimum federal eligibility standards where gross income should not exceed 130% of the poverty line. That means a family of four must earn no more than $2,422 a month with their total resources not exceeding $2,000.
Another justification for the cuts is that Republicans are aiming to close loopholes and not to let the poor go hungry.
“I want poor people to have food; I want children to eat well,” says Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.).
But the problem here is that while the minimum federal eligibility standards may be enough to put food in your mouth and a roof over your head, it sure as heck isn’t enough to provide enough support to help you get out of a deep financial rut.
An even more disturbing trend among Republicans is how quickly they turn to welfare cuts whenever they need to work on the budget.
“It has become fashionable to blame the poor for our budgetary problems,” says Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.)
It would appear that Republicans are more concerned about closing loopholes in programs that put food in people’s mouths but aren’t quite as concerned about tax loopholes where rich investors can put their money in foreign banks without paying a cent back to the American people.
The American spirit of self-reliance built this great country, yes, but that spirit will have to give way to reality when you lose the job you spent decades in and can no longer find a decent-paying job that can cover the bills.
If this can happen to even the most industrious American, then the least we can do is have a strong safety net to hold us up while we weather the post-recession storm.