Looking Closer at the US Farm Bill: Food Stamps

food-stamps    In the most recent US Farm Bill signed by President Obama, Food Stamps are set to be cut $8 billion over the next decade. This comes after a discontinuation of the $5 billion a year increase in funding that was allocated because of increased need during the recession. Also known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), the program provided assistance to 46.8 million Americans in 2013, a full 15.1% of the US population.
Supporters of the recent cuts argue that programs like SNAP create a “dependence” on government and reduce incentives to work, while opponents point out that without SNAP, an additional 5.4 million people would be pushed under the poverty line in the US. This would increase the overall poverty rate to 17.6%, meaning more than 1 in 6 people in the US would be living in poverty. And being below the poverty line is by no means a comfortable way to live; The official poverty income level is set at a mere $11,945 a year. Further, SNAP benefits averaged only $133.07 a month per person, giving those in poverty less than $5 a day to spend on food.                                                                                                     Given the massive subsidies afforded to agribusiness in the farm bill, isn’t the food stamp program the least we can do to aid those living in poverty?

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