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(Article Summarized by Meridian Institute) In this editorial, The New York Times writes: “Among the numerous harebrained ideas in President Trump’s budget proposal this week, one stands out as especially pernicious: a scheme that would slash an essential antipoverty program and put fresh food further out of reach for 46 million low-income people, or one in seven Americans.” The administration, the editors note, wants to cut the budget of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by 30 percent over 10 years; one way it plans to accomplish this feat is by giving low-income families boxes of food, as opposed to giving them the full amount of their benefit on electronic cards, as the program works today. The proposal, says the administration, is “designed to improve nutrition and target benefits to those who need them, while ensuring careful stewardship of taxpayers’ money.” If Trump actually cared about improving nutrition and the lives of low-income Americans, the editors write, he would be trying to put more money in SNAP, not less. Studies have shown that SNAP participants are less likely to report not having enough to eat, are less likely to take sick days, and spend less on healthcare as compared to similar people who do not benefit from the program. The program, the editors say, has done a heroic job of reducing poverty and improving the lives of millions of people. This proposal, they conclude, “comes just as Congress is working on a new Farm Bill, which lawmakers have to pass before the end of September, when authorizations for food stamps and other agricultural programs are scheduled to end. Several Republican lawmakers have said they are unlikely to get on board with the administration’s retrograde ideas. That’s good. But given how far members of Congress have gone to do Mr. Trump’s bidding in the last year, it won’t be a complete relief until lawmakers vote to keep the program going without cuts.”

Posted February 15th, 2018