The GOP Wants to Slash Food Stamps. Here’s Why That’s a Stupid Idea.

Pennies pinched today will result in big healthcare costs down the road.

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

President Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress have publicly flaunted their desire to slash food aid for the poor. The deficit-swelling tax cut package they passed in late 2017 will embolden their efforts later this year, when the twice-a-decade farm bill—which funds the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  (formerly known as food stamps)—comes up for debate. 

Meanwhile, a new paper from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities demonstrates just how short-sighted this miserly agenda is.

The paper shows that people who struggle with food access are more likely to have chronic health conditions including hypertension, coronary heart disease, and diabetes; incur higher healthcare costs, including from publicly funded programs like Medicaid; and are more likely to require emergency-room visits, running up bills they can’t afford to pay. 

All told, the CBPP researchers found, “people in food-insecure households spend roughly 45 percent more on medical costs in a year ($6,100) than people in food-secure households ($4,200),” including both out-of-pocket and government spending. 

The SNAP program is a crucial bulwark for keeping America’s low-income population from facing the health-destroying effects of chronic food insecurity. Adults in households that receive SNAP benefits spend $1,400 less per person than households with similar incomes but no SNAP benefits. As for children, the program delivers benefits that reverberate throughout their lifetimes. Note that 70 percent of SNAP-receiving households include kids, and that the program helps keep one in four US kids fed

In short, cutting the budget for SNAP is a classic example of a false economy: a short-term saving that results in large, unaccounted-for costs down the road.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate