The Everett Herald’s Sunday editorial, “Values and food stamps,” gives only one point of view and ignores the reality of the “cuts” and how the program has grown out of control. First, the Republican plan will lower the program by $40 billion over 10 years, so the overall financial impact is not as bad as stated. In 2010, the food stamp program had 17 million participants with a cost of $18 billion, in 2013 the numbers are 48 million participants with a bill of $82 billion per year, even though per President Obama, we are now in a recovery from the recent recession.
The main issue is how do people qualify for the program; the Republicans have re-instituted a “Welfare-to-Work” program which existed until President Obama took office and was put in place by the far-right wing President Clinton. Before 2009, able-bodied recipients between the ages of 18 and 50, with no children, were required to participate in an employment and training program, or participate in a SNAP “workfare” program, or work for at least 20 hours per week. We know that work is the key to getting out of poverty. Just 2.8 percent of those working full-time today are below the poverty line, compared to 24 percent of those not working. Far from being cruel, by restoring work to a primary component of the welfare system, Republicans would be nudging recipients onto a path out of poverty.
The current program continues the cycle of poverty, the Republicans are showing faith in their fellow citizens that if they receive that nudge then they will go to work and get themselves out of poverty … It takes a first step and this a step in the right direction.