Congress is currently working on passing a farm bill that essentially distributes money across a number of agriculture and nutrition related program. Though you might think it has nothing to do with you, think again. We’re talking about how to divvy up a trillion dollars for the next ten years and not surprisingly, it’s causing a lot of debate. The biggest fight is over the fate of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) though you probably know it as food stamps.
Currently, food stamps account for approximately 80% of the farm bill’s budget. The Senate is proposing to cut 4 billion in food stamp spending while the House is proposing a 20 billion dollar cut. In all it would only amount to a 2.5% cut in food stamp spending, but that equals about 2 million American households that would no longer be eligible.
On one side of the debate are the Republicans who claim the food stamp program has gotten out of hand since Obama’s election. They cite a 100% increase in people on food stamps as proof that 3the program needs to be cut back in order to free up money for other uses such as new subsidies for farmers. Republicans claim that as it is, too many people are abusing the system and cutting food stamp spending would only affect those people and not those who are really in need of it.
On the other side are Democrats arguing that the increase in food stamp recipients has nothing to do with freeloaders and everything to do with the struggling economy. They claim cutting food stamp spending during a time when it’s needed the most will only cause more problems down the road. Rather than cut food stamps, they recommend cutting some of the subsidies such as those that go towards big oil companies in order to free up money in the budget.
While the real argument here may seem to be food assistance and who deserves it, it’s hard to ignore the role money is undoubtedly playing. Because food stamp spending and agricultural subsidies are all rolled into one bill, Republicans with ties to agriculture stand to benefit from decreased food stamp spending. And on the other side the Democrat’s defense of SNAP might not be so noble either with the majority of their supporters being the lower class Americans that depend on it.
With two biased sides each with something to gain, the only fair solution to reducing the farm bill budget can be a more balanced one in which there is a proportionate amount of cuts to both SNAP spending and agricultural subsidies.
One thing is certain, we can’t rely on government to provide the nutritional assistance people need in the future. With SNAP spending cuts, it’s more important than ever for families to begin making plans to take care of their own nutrition. This can be done by beginning to gather a food storage. By investing money in food storage families can ensure that regardless of what government decides with the new farm bill, they will be able to take care of themselves.
Clift, Eleanor. “Food Stamps Under Threat: House GOP Wants to Cut $20.5B From SNAP.” The Daily Beast, 16 June 2013. Web. 6/17/13.
Garofalo, Pat. “A Food Stamp Food Fight That the Poor Will Lose.” US News, 12 June 2013. Web. 6/17/13.