By Juan Peralez / Herald Forum
The federal government’s disgraceful attempt to address the country’s poor through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stampes, is a manifestation of this country’s total disregard for the 42 million or more poor people who qualify for the program. Of those 42 million people, half are children.
To qualify for SNAP you have to be very poor. A family of four must earn no more than $2,600 a month. A family can barely survive when you consider having to pay for shelter, food, clothing and utilities.
The federal government has proposed an increase in food stamps; 1 in 8 people, which is approximately 12 percent of this country’s population, will receive an increase in food stamps that is equivalent to going from $4 to $5 a day. This is totally inhumane and immoral when you consider that the U.S. is the world’s richest country.
This proposed increase will do nothing to change the inequality in this country and obviously will not change their quality of life. Consigning the poor to little food and bad food is unacceptable. What’s worse is that food of low nutritional value will only exacerbate the obesity problem of the world’s richest country. This is an unacceptable and inhumane commentary on our society’s inability to function regarding its poor.
Giving the poorest people in the country — or the euphemism used by the government: “food insecure people” — a dollar a day more, amounts to $15 billion a year which is less than one half of 1 percent of the budget deficit in the federal government’s current budget. It is less than 1.5 percent of the trillion dollars spent on 20 years of war in Afghanistan.
It is an amazing spectacle to watch made even more ugly by the hype of the Biden administration that it is a great contribution for the people living in poverty in our country. The Biden administration with its twisted priorities is producing a deeper social divide between the poor and everyone else. It does nothing to solve the fundamental inequality that haunts the United States of America.
Juan Peralez is president of Unidos of Snohomish County, uniting law enforcement and the communities of the county. Learn more at www.unidos-snoco.org.