Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Let them eat cake

The Editorial Board of the New York Times exposes The Cruel Farce of Cutting Food Stamps. The Trump administration has decided to make a show of fiscal discipline by withholding food from hungry children.

Scriber’s Usually Unreliable Sources report a government employee remarking “Let them eat cake.”

Our government is supposed to look after the health and welfare of the nation. However, in the Trump era the government is more concerned with ferreting out low probability abuses than looking after the needs of poor children.


That was me whacking my head. Duh. Since when have the GOPlins done anything differently.

The Trump administration, which often talks about the importance of reducing regulation, has found at least one place where it would like to add red tape. The Agriculture Department wants to make it more difficult for poor children to get enough food.

The department is proposing to end programs in 40 states and the District of Columbia that make it easier for low-income families to sign up for food stamps. The stated rationale is that some people who are getting help do not need it. But the evidence suggests that problem is quite small, while the proposed solution is likely to keep millions of Americans who do need help from getting it.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program helped 33.5 million people in the average month over the last year — mostly families with children, older Americans and people with disabilities — to buy a limited range of groceries from a list of supervised retailers. In place of the original coupons, beneficiaries now get an average of $127 loaded on a special debit card.

The program is enormously successful in mitigating poverty. Studies of Americans born in the 1960s, when the program was implemented nationally, show that children in families that received benefits went on to lead healthier and more productive lives.

[Big snip]

… the administration says the government can save about $2 billion a year by denying benefits to 3.1 million people who would not meet the old standards. By the same logic, the government could save $60 billion a year by suspending the entire program. But those savings will not come from denying food stamps to millionaires. The vast majority of the government’s money is given to Americans who are hungry, so they may eat.

The proposal once again highlights the gap between Mr. Trump’s rhetorical promises to help lower-income American families, and the reality of his policies, which have systematically made life more difficult for those very families. The administration has slashed taxes on affluent Americans and significantly increased total federal spending — on Thursday, it announced plans to give another $16 billion to farmers hurt by Mr. Trump’s trade policies — even as it seeks to make a show of fiscal discipline at the expense of children.

Congress should move to codify the current food stamp rules, which have been embraced by red and blue states alike, to protect millions of Americans from this act of theatrical cruelty.

But they won’t.

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