To call Barack Obama the food stamps president would be an understatement.
Under his administration, nearly 1 in 6 Americans were receiving food stamps, and not just during the depths of the past financial crisis. In 2009, 33,490,000 people received food stamp benefits. By the conclusion of his presidency, that had increased by nearly ten million to 42,691,363 recipients. That’s roughly fourteen percent of the population!
We should’ve expected food stamp usage to be high in the early days of Obama’s presidency simply because the state of the economy was in shambles, but it should’ve peaked there, not continued to increase. By 2013, food stamp usage had peaked at nearly 75 million!
Much of the problem stemmed from Obama’s Department of Agriculture suspending the work requirement to receive food stamps. Such a change in policy would make sense as a temporary measure during a recession, but the Dept. of Ag let it up to the states to re-implement their work requirements. States that have re-implemented those requirements have seen massive declines in food stamp usage among able-bodied adults; -85% in Alabama, -58% in Georgia, -75% in Maine, among others. You can thank states like that for the decline in food stamp usage after the peak in 2013.
And don’t expect usage to start increasing again anytime soon.
More than 1.1 million Americans dropped off the food stamp rolls since President Trump took office in January 2017, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics on food stamp enrollment.
Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – the official name for “food stamps”) dropped to 41,496,255 in May 2017, the most recent data available from the USDA, from 42,691,363 in January 2017 when Trump took office.
According to the latest data, SNAP enrollment during the first few months of Trump’s presidency decreased by 2.79 percent.
Food stamp participation on average in 2017 has dropped to its lowest level since 2010, and the latest numbers show that this trend is continuing.
Trump proposed cuts to SNAP in his 2018 budget proposal, suggesting that states match up to 20 percent of federal money allotted for the food stamp program and expand work requirements for able-bodied adults receiving food stamps.
Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration has also prompted many immigrants, both legal and illegal, to cancel their food stamps over concerns that they might be denied citizenship or deported. Federal lawmakers are also working on legislation that would seek to expand food stamp work requirements and put time limits on how long those enrolled in the food stamp program can receive benefits.
So far, so good! We need to liberate millions more from the government welfare rolls, but we’re making progress.
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