SNAP Multiplier 1.7

From the Mouths of Babes

By PAUL KRUGMAN, The New York Times

Published: May 30, 2013

Food stamps have played an especially useful – indeed, almost heroic – role in recent years. In fact, they have done triple duty.

Indeed, estimates from the consulting firm Moody’s Analytics suggest that each dollar spent on food stamps in a depressed economy raises G.D.P. by about $1.70 – which means, by the way, that much of the money laid out to help families in need actually comes right back to the government in the form of higher revenue.

Wait, we’re not done yet. Food stamps greatly reduce food insecurity among low-income children, which, in turn, greatly enhances their chances of doing well in school and growing up to be successful, productive adults. So food stamps are in a very real sense an investment in the nation’s future – an investment that in the long run almost surely reduces the budget deficit, because tomorrow’s adults will also be tomorrow’s taxpayers.

So what do Republicans want to do with this paragon of programs? First, shrink it; then, effectively kill it.

Look, I understand the supposed rationale: We’re becoming a nation of takers, and doing stuff like feeding poor children and giving them adequate health care are just creating a culture of dependency – and that culture of dependency, not runaway bankers, somehow caused our economic crisis.

But I wonder whether even Republicans really believe that story – or at least are confident enough in their diagnosis to justify policies that more or less literally take food from the mouths of hungry children. As I said, there are times when cynicism just doesn’t cut it; this is a time to get really, really angry.


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  1. A substantial number of Democratic senators voted against Kirsten Gillibrand’s proposal rescinding the cut in food stamps that was part of Obama’s sequester proposal.

    Best,  Terry

  2. However, the last paragraph in the quote above is, well, perhaps, in very limited cases, somewhat true, but mostly, my contention is that Republicans could give a “sheet” if hungry children are being fed or not, particularly, if they are not pure white and lily religious.

    “As Lawmakers Target Food Stamp Funding, New Report Finds 1 in 6 in U.S. Are Going Hungry”

    As Republicans move to cut billions of dollars in funding for food stamps, a new report finds one in six Americans live in a household that cannot afford adequate food. In “Nourishing Change: Fulfilling the Right to Food in the United States,” the International Human Rights Clinic at New York University’s School of Law reports that of these 50 million people going hungry, nearly 17 million are children. Food insecurity has skyrocketed since the economic downturn, with an additional 14 million people classified as food insecure in 2011 than in 2007. The report comes as Congress is renegotiating the farm bill and proposing serious cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. Millions of Americans currently rely on the program to feed themselves and their families. The report’s co-author, Smita Narula of the International Human Rights Clinic at NYU’s School of Law, joins us to discuss her findings and why she is calling on the U.S. government to ensure that all Americans have access to sufficient, nutritious food.


    Congressional Candidate Tries Living on Food Stamp Budget

    Can you live on $4.80 a day for food?  That’s what U.S. Senator Chris Murphy is doing this week to gain a better understanding how the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) works on a personal level. Starting today, Senator Murphy will live on the average state food stamp benefit.

    According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the Food Stamp Program, the average monthly benefit in Connecticut is $143.89 per family member, which is $4.80 per day or $1.60 per meal.  Nearly 61 percent of SNAP participants are in families with children, and more than 33 percent of SNAP participants are in families with elderly or disabled members. About 33 percent of SNAP participants are in working families.  

    “427,000 people in Connecticut rely on SNAP benefits to feed themselves and their families,” said Murphy. “Spending some time living on this budget gives policymakers a firsthand look at the realities of maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet on an extremely limited budget. It’s not easy, but it’s important for people in Washington to understand what our constituents who rely on SNAP face every day. Some lawmakers have proposed steep, damaging cuts to SNAP as part of the Farm Bill here in Congress, and we owe it our constituents to face up to the reality of those cuts.”

    You can track Senator Murphy’s meals and observations throughout the week via witter/ChrisMurphyCT and Facebook/ChrisMurphy/CT.  

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