I’m sure by now many of you have heard about the upcoming cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka SNAP), often called “food stamps,” that are about to take effect this coming Friday, November 1. Well, technically it’s not a “cut” as much as it is a loss of additional funds the program had been receiving since the passage of the 2009 stimulus bill.
And according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, these cuts will impact roughly 900,000 of our veterans.
“Nationwide, in any given month, a total of 900,000 veterans nationwide lived in households that relied on SNAP to provide food for their families in 2011.”
Meaning that come Friday, those veterans (just like everyone else on SNAP) will experience a decrease in their benefits.
How much of a decrease? Well, the CBPP estimates it will mean a reduction of approximately anywhere from $36 per month for a family of four to $11 per month for a single person. What they roughly estimate is if we factor in 3 meals per day, it will give an individual $4.20 per day to eat on. That’s not per meal, that’s per day.
These cuts will especially impact our veterans, as the unemployment rate for recent veterans (2001-present) currently sits well above the national average at 10.1%.
And if any of this disgusts you, it gets worse. Around the same time these reductions are set to take place, the House has a proposal on the table that would cut the program by another $39 billion over the next decade. What that breaks down to is just about 3 million people per year, every year, being denied benefits through SNAP.
Considering how the CBPP claims that 80% of those on SNAP live below the poverty line, how can this be seen as anything other than a direct attack on the poor?
I mean, could you imagine Republicans supporting a $39 billion tax hike on the rich? Hell, they’d probably shut down our government again just to try to block that. Or could you imagine Republicans approving a cut of $39 billion in oil subsidies we’ve been handing over to huge oil companies? You know, the same ones that are earning record profits.
But for Republicans, it’s perfectly acceptable to cut programs which are designed to give aid the poor and help hundreds of thousands of our veterans buy food.
Yes, we have a deficit problem. Yes, we have a national debt problem. But guess what? The poor didn’t create it.
Two unfunded wars, huge growth in our defense spending, massive tax cuts and unethical behavior on Wall Street are the main culprits behind much of our national debt.
Sure, programs like Social Security and Medicare eventually must be dealt with to elongate their sustainability. And yes, some programs that help the poor and middle class will face cuts. But it’s reprehensible to me that whenever Republicans talk about “deficit reduction,” they hope to achieve their goals by placing the burden of those cuts squarely on the backs of the poor and middle class.
Meanwhile, any mention of asking the wealthy to pay a higher tax rate (or close tax loopholes many use to pay lower tax rates than most middle class Americans) is quickly dismissed by practically every member of the Republican party.
So the next time some conservative starts harping on about “supporting our troops,” please remind them of the billions in cuts Republicans are pushing for that would remove food from the households of our veterans. “Supporting” them only while they’re at war and then cutting off support once they return home is not only unethical, it’s flat-out un-American.