As you’ve certainly heard, House Republicans voted Thursday night to cut SNAP (better known as food stamps) benefits by approximately $40 billion over 10 years, about $4 billion a year. I know you’re saying: Republicans used to spend $4 billion in less than a week on the Iraq War. Why cut less than $5 a day in food assistance to some of the neediest Americans while millions are still out of work? How dare they consider such a thing when congressmembers — as Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) explains in the video above — get over $100 a day to eat when they’re traveling?
Republicans say the program is littered with fraud, that spending of food stamps will still be double pre-recession levels, even after the cuts.
Studies show that SNAP benefits have some of the “most extensive and rigorous quality control systems” of any government program. There’s a net loss to the government of about 2 percent, compared to the 15 percent in income taxes that go unpaid. So, we could save a lot more by hiring extra IRS agents to track down the money the government is owed. But that’s not fun!
A Moody’s study done at the beginning of the financial crisis found that SNAP benefits are the best money that government can spend to improve the economy, simply because they go to the people who need them most.
Republicans are attacking food stamp recipients for one simple reason: They’re an easy target.
Reviled by the conservative base and disengaged from the political process, the poorer Americans who receive these benefits generally exist on the margins of society — even though some are veterans. The reason the food stamp rolls aren’t shrinking is because for poor Americans, there has basically been no recovery.
Targeting of the vulnerable betrays the GOP’s willingness to afflict the afflicted in the quest to “shrink” government. Or, perhaps, they aren’t aware that there is other bloat in our budget that can be cut without potentially starving our fellow citizens.
Here are five things the House GOP could cut before food stamps, if they actually cared about balancing the budget.