FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Tens of Millions of Are Out of Work, Why on Earth is Trump Trying to Cut Food Aid?

In some ways, this horrible pandemic has brought out the best in humanity.

Where I live, neighbors are helping neighbors. A friend who cleans houses for a living says about half of her clients are no longer having their homes cleaned, but they are still paying her. I hate what’s happening right now, but I love that so many of us are helping each other.

And then there’s the Trump administration, which appears to be taking things the other way.

Before the pandemic, Trump wanted to cut people off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — also known as SNAP, or food stamps. And during the pandemic, he still does.

In case you hadn’t noticed, 100,000 Americans are dead. More than 36 million lost their jobs. I’m spending an extra year in school because employers have hiring freezes, and I’m afraid that when I graduate with more than $100,000 in student loan debt, it won’t be much better.

People who argue against the social safety net complain about free riders. If everyone could just get freebies from the government, why would they work?

Having been on food stamps myself, that’s nonsense. As a single person, I’d have to make less than $1,276 per month in order to qualify. That’s an income of $15,312 per year. When I qualified, about seven years ago, I got $70 per month in benefits.

No rational person would choose to earn less than $15,312 a year to get $70 of free food each month. Nobody. You do the math.

Right now, especially, we are in an extraordinary time. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and millions more have to risk their health in order to work because they can’t afford not to.

Families still need to pay rent, pay mortgages and other loans, buy food, and so on. The choices the government makes now will not just affect who lives and who dies. They will also affect how quickly we are able to recover.

Trump has talked about prioritizing the economy from the beginning. The economy is made up of people. Our economy is the aggregate of all of us working, earning money, and paying for what we need to live. When consumers and businesses falter, it’s up to the government to do what’s needed to keep the economy from going off the rails.

Put another way: now is not the time to cut food stamps.

Helping out people at the bottom is good for two reasons: first, because they need help the most. And second, because they will spend the money they receive and put it right back into the economy.

Every five dollars spent on food stamps generates $9 in economic activity. When families buy food at grocery stores, their money is distributed throughout the entire supply chain — to farmers, processors, distributors, truckers, warehouses, marketers, and the grocery store itself.

Food stamps are not just a matter of compassion, though compassion is more important than ever right now. They’re also smart economic policy.

It’s not that the government is not spending. They’ve given massive handouts to large corporations and wealthy individuals. Why do we have enough money to give handouts to billionaires but we can’t help hungry people eat?

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 03, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Peter Linebaugh
Police and the Wealth of Nations: Déjà Vu or Unfinished Business?
Rob Urie
Class, Race and Power
John Davis
A Requiem for George Floyd
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mutiny of the Bounties!
Richard D. Wolff
Revolutionary Possibilities: Could U.S. Capitalism Turn Nationalist?
Richard Falk
When Rogue States Sanction the International Criminal Court
Louis Proyect
Smearing Black Lives Matter…From the Left
Ralph Nader
Trump and Pence – Step Aside for Professional Pandemic Scientists and Managers
Ramzy Baroud
Tearing Down the Idols of Colonialism: Why Tunisia, Africa Must Demand French Apology
Philippe Marlière
Challenging the French Republic’s Color-Blindness
Richard C. Gross
Attack, Deny
Lee Camp
Connecting the Dates – US Media Used To Stop The ‘Threat’ of Peace
Steve Martinot
The Desire to Kill
David Yearsley
The War on Kitsch
Amy Eva Alberts Warren – Rev. William Alberts
Why are Certain Christians Democratic and Others Authoritarian?
Lawrence Davidson
Covid Madness
Brian Cloughley
Britain’s Disorder and Decline
Ellen Taylor
The US Military Has Its Knee on the Throat of the World
David Rosen
White Nationalists on the Attack
Jeff Cohen
Politicians of Color Should Not be Immune From Criticism
Joseph Natoli
Drawn Away from Reality in Plain View
Frank Joyce
Give Me Liberty,  Give You Death
Jonah Raskin
My Adventures in the Matriarchy
Paul Street
The Racist Counter-Revolution of 1776
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Corruption of the Democratic Party: Talking to Ted Rall about his new book
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Trump’s Record on Foreign Policy: Lost Wars, New Conflicts and Broken Promises
Paul Edwards
A Bridge Too Far
Jennifer Joan Thompson
How to Do Things With Theses: Chile’s National Police Force Sues the Feminist Artistic Collective, Las Tesis
Shawn Fremstad
Vacations for All!
Thomas Knapp
A Modest Proposal for Compromise on “Confederate” Military Bases
Vijay Prashad, Eduardo Viloria Daboín, Ana Maldonado, and Zoe PC
Venezuela’s Borderlands Have Been Assaulted by COVID-19
Thom Hartmann
COVID Masks: The Latest Faux Conservative Outrage
Jesse Jackson
Mandatory College Football Practices in Time of Pandemic are Nuts
Nicholas Vincenzo Barney
Consensus Politics on the Fringe: The Intellectual Dishonesty of the Intellectual Dark Web
Ted Rall
The Data is Clear: Progressives Should Boycott Biden
Theresa Church
In Reconsidering ‘Normalcy’ Genetically Engineered Trees Do Not Belong
Chelsea Carrick
Let’s Not Lose Momentum
Adam Rissien
Sorry Secretary Perdue, Our National Forests are Not Crops
Arshad Khan
India and China Tussle on the Roof of the World
Paul Gilk
A Few Theoretical Percentages
Thomas S. Harrington
“New Corona Cases”:  A Phrase That’s Tells us Very Little, if Anything,  About the Actual Levels of Danger We  Face
Claire Chadwick
I Got COVID-19 at Work. I Won’t be the Last
George Wuerthner
The Upper Green River Should be a National Park, Not a Feedlot
Julian Vigo
Profiteering in the Era of COVID-19
Ravi Mangla
Policing is Not a Public Good
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail