Politically Speaking, My Views on the Left the Right and Everywhere in Between

Awwwwww SNAP!

Posted in Issues, message to readers by politicalily on March 6, 2010

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, provides millions of American families with what we call food stamps. With the economy in the state that it is in, the number of families that would be eligible for food stamp assistance is increasing at an alarming rate. With this number rising it is time we take a harder look at SNAP and make sure all Americans that need help are getting it. An increase in funding for SNAP is not the answer. Instead what we need to do is reform our system so that it works more efficiently. The problems I am aiming to solve are the poor nutrition of food stamp recipients and the low number of food stamp eligible families that are actually receiving assistance. Food stamp recipients are forced to live on three dollars a day, that is a dollar a meal. Clearly, these people cannot afford to buy healthy food. Instead, they survive on boxed processed food that is generally unhealthy. This unhealthy diet leads to health problems latter on and because food stamp recipients generally live in poverty and are eligible for government assistance tax payers are paying for not only the unhealthy diet that leads to these people’s preventable health problems they are also paying for their health care. At first glance one would think the solution to this problem is to increase SNAP funding but what many U.S taxpayers don’t know is that the money needed to solve this problem is already in the system.
The money is there for 100% of eligible citizens to receive food stamp assistance, but nationally only 65% of eligible people receive food stamps. Food stamp distribution is not the responsibility of the Federal Government. The states get the funding for their SNAP programs from the Federal Government and it is then up to the state to distribute it. In some states as low as 48% of eligible citizens receive food stamps. Because the funding is there for 100% of eligible Americans to receive assistance the low participation rate leads to over 3 billion dollars left in the SNAP program at the end of the year.
The solution that I propose is a law that reforms SNAP. This law would require states to spend 90% of their SNAP funding each year. While some might say that this is impossible or that the Federal government is overstepping their boundaries I believe those few will be spread far and wide. States could increase the amount of money that they spend in one of two ways. The first way would be to increase the number of people that are eligible for food stamps that actually receive them. This would force states to increase their food stamp participation rate and more people would be receiving much needed assistance. The second way that states could spend their money would be to adjust the amount of assistance that each food stamp recipient receives. With a minimum of three dollars a day states would be free to raise the amount of money each participant gets. This would allow people to buy healthier foods and in turn be healthier people. The third and final provision in this law would prevent states form sending government jobs overseas. The state of Florida paid JP Morgan 50 million dollars to administer food stamps distribution and customer service jobs were outsourced to India. These jobs could have been held by food stamps recipients and allowed them to get off of government aid. This law is the best option to fix our broken food stamp program because it does not increase government spending, but instead uses funding that is already there to make our system work more efficiently and reach more people. With healthcare and the economy on the forefront of the American mind it might be challenging to make people see that our food stamp system needs fixing, but I believe if the American people are presented with the facts they will see that we cannot solve for the economy or healthcare until we fix our food stamp program.

If you want to help with the food stamp reform effort or have any comments or questions please contact me at: snap.reform@gmail.com

We will be organizing a letter writing campaign and petition in order to inform our congressmen of this huge and pressing problem and would truly value your participation.

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