With Families and Kids Starving, Republicans Try to Slash Food Stamps


Conservatives are waging a strange, scary, immoral war on the federal food stamp program at a time when it is needed most, argues writer Jordan Weissmann in a compelling essay on the Atlantic Monthly website.

The Great Recession has plunged millions of American families into poverty, where they are dependent on the modest subsidies in the food stamp program literally to stay alive and feed their children. But Republicans in Congress have decided that the program is full of fraud—with absolutely zero evidence to back up that claim—and they have been attempting to take an ax to the program and significantly reduce the number of families who receive aid. And it’s important to note the word “kids” with this program, because it is children who are the primary beneficiaries of the federal SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), the official name for the food stamp program.

An astounding one out of every seven Americans receives food stamps, about 45 million people—Weissmann points out this is roughly equivalent to the population of Spain. In the richest nation on earth, one of every seven people could starve if not for government assistance. There has been a 70 percent increase in those receiving food stamps in the past four years—while there has been ZERO change in the eligibility rules. In other words, the numbers have exploded because so many more Americans are poor. That’s what’s going on in America right now—previously comfortable families pushed to desperation. The average monthly income for food stamp families is a measly $731, and 85 percent of recipients were below the poverty line—$18,500 a year for a family of three.

But yet, these numbers mean nothing to Congressional Republicans. Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama is trying to push as many Americans as he can off the food stamp rolls, while Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky wants to slash the food stamp budget by 40 percent. The Republican-led House has passed a bill that would cut $34 billion from its $770 billion budget, but the Democratic-led Senate won’t go along.

Clearly, our nation is being “led” by a group of rich, out-of-touch white men who have no connection to the actual lives Americans are living, have no contact with the pain and suffering occurring in our communities. The states where Congressmen are the most vociferous opponents, such as most of those in the Deep South, have the highest percentages of recipients because they have the most poverty. For example, both Alabama and Kentucky, the states where the senators are so intent on slashing the rolls, are in the top ten of the states with the highest percentage of recipients. In both states, about one in five residents receives food stamps. One out of every five people!

Oh well, so much for Congressmen actually serving their constituents.

To read this entire post, go to AtlantaBlackStar.com.


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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. It is so hard making it, I can testify to that! Groceries are expensive, along with many other necessities; we ourselves, make a little too much to get on assistance – and I know they are going to make it even harder or even strip it away for the vast amt. of people needing it. So sad!

  2. The system does need some revamping. A friend of mine received food stamps for herself and her children. She was given so much money on her card that at the end of the month she would have hundreds of dollars left on it. So she did what a lot of folks do and sold the rest off, so she could have cash for other essentials. I know another woman (single, no kids) who lost her job and was struggling with the small amount she received from unemployment. When she applied for food stamps they gave her $16 a month. Now, what was she supposed to do with that? We should not be stripping these programs by any means, but the system is in serious need of retooling.

  3. The SNAP needs to be revamped significantly due to millions of hard working people that have been laidoff. Why would someone that worked all their life, have to be held to the same criteria to receive temporary foodstamps until you get back on your feet. When you are married it is even more impossible to qualify because thier is at least one imcome in the household. When a household is reduced down to one income you should automatically qualify for temporary food asstistance. Most families struggle every month with two incomes and its a slap in the face to someone who has worked and paid taxes since high school (over 20 yrs) to be told that in their one time of need, your household income is two high. This country should be ashamed! It makes you want to move to another country. Shame, shame, shame.

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