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Cutting Funding for Food Stamps is "Economically and Morally Unsound"

Washington Post Op-Ed piece makes case for retaining food stamp support

With nearly 20 percent of Americans poor or near poor, it would be “economically and morally unsound” for Congress to carry out proposed cuts to the food stamp program, according to an Op Ed piece published in the Washington Post by economists Robert Rubin, Roger Altman, and Melissa Kearney. Last year, they point out, 49 million Americans, about a third of them children, lived in food-insecure households that were uncertain of having enough to eat from one day to the next. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides a much needed buffer for families at risk of going hungry. But despite the worst poverty levels in two decades, Congress is considering cutting SNAP funding.

Rubin, Altman, and Kearney argue that the money saved from funding cuts to the country’s main hunger prevention program would make up only a small fraction of the $3.5 trillion US budget but would leave millions of poor Americans without enough to eat. In addition, cutting funding to SNAP is unwise economic policy because it undermines efforts to stimulate the lackluster economy by putting extra cash into the hands of struggling families. Rubin, Altman, and Kearney challenge Congress to devote its time to finding serious ways to combat poverty instead of cutting benefits that families need in order to survive.

Melissa Kearney is an economist affiliated with the University of Maryland’s Population Research Center and the director of the Hamilton Project. Robert E. Rubin and Roger C. Altman were Treasury secretary and deputy Treasury secretary under Bill Clinton.

Read the full article in the Washington Post

Read the article at the Council on Foreign Relations