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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 12/9/19

700,000 Americans To Lose SNAP Benefits Under New USDA Policy

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Whenever Democrats propose policies to make college more affordable or to provide healthcare as a human right, there's always someone bound to ask, "How do we pay for it?"

The mainstream (so-called "liberal") media is one of the worst offenders.

But when Donald Trump's Republican party proposed permanently cutting $1.5 trillion in taxes for its wealthy donors, no one--least of all the corporate media--asked how we were going to pay for it.

They don't want to publicly admit we pay for it the same way we have always paid for tax breaks to the rich: by cutting social safety nets and public programs that benefit lower-and middle-income Americans.

It's the con Republicans have been perpetrating on the American people since the 1970s when Republican strategist Jude Wanniski created his "supply side economics" theory, what came to be known as the "Two Santa Clauses Theory."

It became codified into Republican-party policy during Ronald Reagan's administration, kicking off the economic death spiral we have been perpetrating the past four decades.

On Wednesday, the Agriculture Department (USDA) followed the playbook perfectly when it announced it had formalized work requirements for 36 million Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)--i.e., food stamps--recipients.

Now nearly 700,000 Americans risk losing the safety net they have relied on to feed themselves and their families.

This rule change will affect non-disabled childless 18- and 49-year-olds, who must now work at least 20 hours per week for more than three months over a 36-month period.

So far, some states have been granted wavers for high-unemployment areas, but this rule limits those waivers to those areas with a six-percent or higher unemployment rate.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, blasted the new rule:

"This Administration is out of touch with families who are struggling to make ends meet by working seasonal jobs or part-time jobs with unreliable hours. Seasonal holiday workers, workers in Northern Michigan's tourism industry, and workers with unreliable hours like waiters and waitresses are the kinds of workers hurt by this proposal."

She added work requirements originally introduced as part of last year's Farm Bill were rejected, stating:

"There's a reason Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly rejected this callous proposal in the Farm Bill and instead focused on bipartisan job training opportunities that actually help families find good paying jobs."

President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Robert Greenstein, argued:

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Ted Millar is a writer and teacher. His work has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Straight Forward Poetry, Better Than Starbucks, the Broke Bohemian, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices (more...)
 

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