Recent report shocked the nation by exposing the fact that one in five Americans are currently using food stamps. But what has been discussed less is who is the new face of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and why there has been such a dramatic increase over the last few years.
Conservatives will have you believe that rise in numbers is due to people “scamming the system,” pointing to instances of fraud on college campuses as if it was the main factor in the 34 percent rise in the last two years.
Instead, the new face of food stamps isn’t college students or even so much the unemployed. According to Reuters, 40 percent of those accepting food stamps are wage earners who simply do not make enough money to pay all of their bills.
About forty percent of food stamp recipients are, like [mother and Wal-Mart cashier supervisor Genna] Saucedo, in households in which at least one member of the family earns wages. Many more could be eligible: the government estimates one in three who could be on the program are not.
“If they’re working, they often think they can’t get help. But people can’t support their families on $10, $11, $12 an hour jobs, especially when you add transport, clothes, rent.” said Carolyn McLaughlin, executive director of BronxWorks, a social services organization in New York.
As businesses continue to bring in record profits while cashing in and asking for even more tax breaks, they continue to take advantage of programs paid for by the rest of the country’s taxpayers to support workers who they refuse to pay a living wage to. Regular families are subsidizing programs like SNAP so businesses can continue to reap even larger rewards.
This crisis that has caused so many people to need these programs that they aren’t sustainable in their current form. What’s the Republican solution? It’s not to ask the businesses to pay more in taxes, or encourage them to raise wages, both of which would help the struggling economy by giving people back some ability to spend on goods again. No, it’s to cut the programs themselves.
It’s milk the middle class until they have nothing left, then cut off the lower class from assistance when it’s out of money. All to protect the rich.
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