Under a new Trump administration policy, 3.6 million people are likely to lose their food stamps. Most of those to be affected live in states Trump won in the 2016 election.
According to an analysis done by Mathematica, about 1 in 12 people that are currently receiving nutritional benefits will lose them. These estimates include:
- 400,000 people in Texas
- 328,000 people in Florida
- 200,000 people in New York
- 97,000 people in Georgia
- 176,000 people in Washington
These cuts are coming because the administration is ending BBCE or broad-based categorical eligibility, a bipartisan policy that was used to protect low-income families from what is called the “benefits cliff.”
Before BBCE, a family would be kicked off assistance for earning just slightly more (in the ballpark of 24 cents an hour) or for having a savings account which prevented low-income families from creating an emergency fund.
The move to cut BBCE will also kick about 500,000 kids out of the free lunch program at school, a move that can lead to issues in cognitive development.
VP of No Kid Hungry discussed some of the big issues that are likely to arise with these proposed cuts:
“Allowing families whose gross income is a little over the poverty level to receive food assistance helps make sure that both the kids and adults in the family are able to eat. Children that don’t get the nutrition that they need end up with worse health-care outcomes, worse physical and cognitive development, they have poorer outcomes in school, they find it harder to concentrate, they don’t do as well on tests, there are more behavioral issues.”
Part of the push to end the BBCE program can be traced back to a retiree from Minnesota named Robert Undersander. Claiming a net worth of $1 million, Undersander says he applied for and received food stamps writing an op-ed about it in his local paper.
This started an outcry from some on the right, like Rep Dusty Johnson of SD who claimed that Undersander was “not alone” and that “tens of thousands” of millionaires were likely to be getting food stamps.
Undersander purposely sought to defraud the system, but the idea that millionaires were getting SNAP benefits became a rallying cry for many:
Did you know millionaires can be on food stamps due to a loophole in current law?
— Rob Bluey (@RobertBluey) July 23, 2019
The incidents of SNAP fraud are actually relatively small, but the damage of reducing benefits for those in need is extremely damaging. Not only will it cause families in need to suffer unnecessarily, but it may also be bad for the economy.
Since the spending done by consumers is what drives the economy, the estimated $10 billion that the Trump administration is withdrawing from the SNAP program is billions of dollars that won’t go back into the US economy.
While an economic slow down is likely to get the attention of a lot of people, it shouldn’t really be the point. 3.6 million more Americans will be going hungry if the Trump administration gets its way and that alone should matter to everyone, especially those that put him in the Oval Office.
More at Think Progress.