Starting November 1, 2013, food stamps in New York City were cut by 11 dollars for one recipient and by 20 dollars for a couple. For a family of four people, including two children, these cuts amounted up to $68 a month. Even SSI clients who live without Section 8 or subsidized housing had their monthly amount of food stamps slashed.
While the prices of groceries are increasing rapidly, these food stamps cuts seem cruel and counterproductive. Not only low income people will suffer, but also grocery stores, supermarkets, food delivery companies will feel the punch. I am totally for fighting waste, abuse and fraud. But I will never support punishing our neediest citizens for bad economy or large national deficit.
Amazingly, Congress is debating now how to cut food stamps program even further. Democrats in Senate want to cut food stamps by $400,000,000 a year for 10 years while Republicans in the House are pushing for more draconian annual SNAP cuts of $4 bln. ($40 bln. in 10 years) - in addition to current cuts!
I believe there are many other ways to find savings in our federal budget. For example, I don’t understand why we still need a military base in Germany more than 70 years after the WWII. We can easily cut large annual tax breaks for oil companies. And by fighting Medicare and Medicaid fraud more aggressively we can save another two-three billion a year from our expenses.
Unfortunately, it is not a direction we are going right now in Washington, D.C. Also, it is very hard to reach any compromise between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill when even the term “compromise” is considered as … compromised solution.
Ari Kagan Photo by Melanie Ruiz (missionlocal.org)