Communities

Here’s What Trump Doesn’t Understand About Families On Food Stamps

by Stacey Leasca

May 25, 2017

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget calls for a reduction in a plethora of social services, but it’s one cut in particular that has everyone arguing: Trump’s proposed $193 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as food stamps, over the next 10 years. The cut adds up to 25 percent of the program’s total budget.

According to a report released in January by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 44 million people took part in the SNAP program in 2016. In Washington, D.C., more than 20 percent of the population uses the program to assist in feeding themselves and their families.

But Trump doesn’t see it as a help, instead he sees it as a handout. And he couldn’t be more wrong.

On Tuesday, President Trump's budget director Mick Mulvaney noted of the proposed budget on Tuesday, "If you're on food stamps and you're able-bodied, we need you to go to work. If you're on disability insurance and you're not supposed to be—if you're not truly disabled, we need you to go back to work.”  

But, according a 2015 report by the Department of Agriculture, nearly two-thirds of SNAP participants were children, elderly, or people with disabilities. Forty-four percent of participants were 18 years old or under; 11 percent were age 60 or older; and 10 percent were disabled nonelderly adults.

Additionally, nearly one-third (32 percent) of all SNAP households—and more than half (55 percent) of households with children—had earnings in 2015, they just simply weren’t enough to pay for food. As the report states, the average gross income for all SNAP households was just $786 per month, and less than 6 percent of SNAP participants received welfare.

And those without work already need to find it anyway. In fact, SNAP already requires adults without children to find a job within three months or lose their benefits according to NPR

By removing this program Trump may be shooting himself in the political foot, too. As Mother Jones duly noted, these cuts will hit the states that voted for Trump, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, and Georgia, so perhaps the administration will give this $191 billion item line a second look.

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Here’s What Trump Doesn’t Understand About Families On Food Stamps