Do Programs like SNAP Create a Cradle-to-Grave Welfare state?
At today’s House Budget Committee hearing on “Strengthening the Safety Net,” Republicans continued to make the claim that programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly known as food stamps – create a cradle-to-grave welfare state.
FACT CHECK: Under the false motive of “saving it,” the GOP guts this critical program.
SNAP is one of the most reliable safety net programs when people find themselves in a difficult situation, serving more than 46 million people. [NY Times, 4/09/2012] It is critical in helping Americans put food on the table for their families – nearly three-quarters of whom are families with children and one-quarter are in households with someone who is elderly or disabled. [HBCD, 3/28/2012] The Republican budget cuts this program by more than 17 percent over the next 10 years – and since 90 percent of the program’s funding goes to food assistance benefits for low-income households, these deep cuts would mean ending assistance for millions of families, cutting benefits for even more households, or some combination of the two. [CBPP, 3/22/2012] This takes us in the wrong direction. In fact, a new study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that SNAP reduced the poverty rate substantially during the recent recession. [NY Times, 4/09/2012]
This program doesn’t just provide tangible benefits to struggling families, it helps our economic recovery. SNAP generates about $1.70 in economic activity for each $1 spent in benefits. [Zandi, 2009]
How can anyone justify taking food off of the tables of families who are struggling to make ends meet, while serving up millions of dollars in tax breaks for millionaires, Big Oil, and special interests?