You’re tired after working a 12-hour shift at the supermarket. You left when the kids went to school, and now you’re back hours after they got home. Your spouse has been gone for months. Your kids watch you enter, and they hungrily wait for you to present them with dinner. At this time of the month, the rent weighs heavy over your head and food takes a sidecar. You lost your access to food stamps last week. They’ll have to share whatever is in the pantry.
If the House Republicans have their way, this narrative will represent 1.7 million more people in the U.S. this year. According to a Politico storyMonday, the Congressional Budget Office projects 3.8 million Americans losing access to food stamps by 2014. In June, the House Agriculture Committee proposed $20 billion in cuts, but House Republicans are now proposing just about $39 billion in savings over the next 10 years.
In a political environment fueled by a bloated budget and debate over how and where to cut spending, this move will have an impact on the country. With the similarities between food stamps and welfare, it is easy to consider the former an entitlement — but food stamps are something the government must provide citizens. Can Republican House members consciously cut these necessities for families?
Compared to the sheer size of the budget, this $39 billion does still take a chunk out of our debt. Like the Sequester, which successfully shrunk the deficit, according to a Washington Post story from August 11, this spending cut will help balance America’s massive budget. Like sequestration, there are painful steps government officials feel they must take to repair the damage they’ve made to the economy.
Americans on food stamps are resilient, and those who lose their entitlements do have the community at their disposal. The average American on food stamps is given $130. These cuts may take $90 out of those budgets. The money they have, however, does not have to go to the expensive, processed foods Americans think they need. There are options to help sustain a family if you lose food stamps.
If people with little money for food bought local produce, not only will those struggling farmers catch a break, the nutritional quality of the food will improve their family’s overall health. They would also help bolster their small, community businesses. This is is, however, no justification to taking away entitlements before a person is ready.