Although Donald Trump ran as a champion of the poor and working class (and many whites in those socioeconomic groups voted for him), the only thing the “president” seems to be draining is the federal budget for his golf outings.
Adding insult to injury, a new budget resolution put forth by Trump and passed by the House of Representatives this week will push millions off of food stamps, leaving our most vulnerable—children and the elderly—food insecure, or even hungry.
Newsweek reports that over $150 billion will be stripped from several poverty programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which gives those in poverty an allowance for food.
The outlet reports that only 75 percent of people who are eligible for SNAP actually participate in the program, because applying is cumbersome and complicated, and some state laws don’t allow people to stay on SNAP for longer than a few months unless they have jobs, are training for jobs or are doing community service. However, employment simply isn’t there for many.
“A lot of people don’t know that they’re eligible,” said Ginger Zielinskie, president and CEO of Benefits Data Trust, a company that connects people with the services they need, to Newsweek. “The first barrier is awareness. ... It can be a really complicated application process.”
Newsweek reports that in Alabama, for instance, the number of able-bodied people on SNAP has dropped from around 5,000 to 800. In California, Trump’s new budget, according to Jared Call from California Food Policy Advocates, would essentially have the state choose between SNAP and education, an unconscionable choice.
“California would go down $1.8 billion to just keep even,” said Call. “So you’re faced with cutting other important services or education or other programs, or cutting benefit amounts or cutting eligibility.”
Call added: “We want SNAP to go to the people who need it, but this proposal does not work that way. There is no way to cut SNAP without impacting benefit levels or eligibility. Ninety-four percent of these funds go directly to benefits, there’s no fat to cut.”
Contrary to (racist) popular belief, African Americans do not make up the majority of those who receive governmental assistance such as food stamps; but because poverty and food insecurity are higher among African Americans, about one-third of families receiving assistance are black, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. With any cut to food stamps, black children and the elderly would be most adversely impacted.
As it now stands, 32 percent of African-American children live below the poverty line, compared with 20 percent of all U.S. children; and about 1 in 5 elderly African Americans (age 60 years and over) live below the poverty line, compared with 1 in 11 American adults overall.
Read more at Newsweek.