Food stamp usage in the U.S. has seen a significant decrease under President Donald Trump’s leadership. That equates to a 7.8% reduction since President Trump’s election and more than 2.8 million people dropping off the program altogether since President Trump’s first full month in the White House in February 2017. This is the fastest such drop in American dependence on state sustenance ever since the food stamp program’s inception, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Currently, there are around 39 million people relying on the food stamp program which historically is the fewest amount of Americans to rely on government sustenance handouts since February 2010. This is fantastic news…unless of course, you happen to be Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY-D) or Rep. Nancy Pelosi (CA-D).
According to Breitbart –
“The latest USDA data shows that since Trump served his first full month in office in February 2017—when food stamp enrollment was at 42,134,301— participation in the federal government’s food stamp program decreased by 2,804,945 to 39,329,356.
During Trump’s first year and a half as president, many people discontinued their SNAP benefits due to the Trump administration’s attempts to reform SNAP at both the federal and state levels of government.
Trump released an executive order on welfare reform in April that would require the USDA to issue updated rules for those receiving benefits such as food stamps, and invest in workforce development programs.
The USDA also hired an “integrity officer” in March to bolster the administration’s efforts to prevent SNAP fraud, and announced in February the rollout of its “Harvest Box” program to give food stamp recipients a box of shelf-stable food as part of their monthly benefits package.
The continued decline in the number of individuals enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—the federal government program in charge of administering food stamps—during Trump’s year and a half as president is consistent with the downward trend in SNAP enrollment since 2013.
In 2013, when the Obama administration was in power, enrollment in the program reached its highest levels in the nation’s history.
After 2013, SNAP enrollment declined when state legislatures passed laws requiring food stamp recipients to work, attend school, volunteer, or participate in job training for a set number of hours per week to receive benefits. The improving economy also contributed to the continuing decline in food stamp usage.”
And according to the Independent Journal Review, the burgeoning economy under Trump is causing the major change to food stamp enrollment.
“The number of Americans dependent on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) dropped by 2.8 million users as President Donald Trump’s economy continues to grow.
SNAP has been on a downward trend for a few years, but membership has declined significantly since the president’s first full month in office.
Most of the decline in SNAP participation is believed to be from U.S. economic growth. President Trump’s administration has seen record job numbers and low unemployment, greatly reducing American dependence on government programs like SNAP.
Although much of the SNAP reduction is believed to be from economic growth, there have also been many proposed changes to the program itself that may have encouraged users to find an alternative.
On the state level, several states already implemented work requirements for food stamps and saw participation levels drop rapidly.”
This dramatic decline in food stamp usage comes as the Trump administration implements a variety of changes to the program, which as Dan Calabrese notes recently are genius insofar as you are not supposed to like being on welfare nor is it supposed to be a career goal! It is speculated that enrollment in the nation’s food stamp program might plunge even further if work requirements are included in the latest Farm Bill going through Congress.
President Trump tweeted his intentions regarding food stamps – “When the House and Senate meet on the very important Farm Bill – we love our farmers – hopefully they will be able to leave the WORK REQUIREMENTS FOR FOOD STAMPS PROVISION that the House approved. Senate should go to 51 votes!”
When the House and Senate meet on the very important Farm Bill – we love our farmers – hopefully they will be able to leave the WORK REQUIREMENTS FOR FOOD STAMPS PROVISION that the House approved. Senate should go to 51 votes!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 2, 2018
The House recently passed a version of the bill in June. This version of the bill included a provision requiring able-bodied adults without dependents between the ages 18 to 59 work, enroll in job training, or look for work under the supervision of a case manager in order to receive food stamps. The Senate version of the bill did not include the work requirement provision.
Adding further to that is President Trump’s Harvest Box proposal. A Harvest Box is a package box of nutritious, 100% U.S. grown and produced food. According to the USDA – “Under the USDA America’s Harvest Box proposal, all Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participating households receiving $90 per month or more in benefits will receive a package of nutritious, 100-percent U.S. grown and produced food. Approximately 16.4 million households or about 81 percent of SNAP households would be impacted by this proposal.
The amount of food received per household would be scaled to the overall size of the household’s SNAP allotment, ultimately representing about half of their benefits. SNAP participants would receive domestically-sourced and produced food in lieu of a portion of their SNAP benefits.
USDA would utilize a model similar to that currently used to distribute USDA Foods to other nutrition assistance programs to provide staple, shelf-stable foods (such as shelf-stable milk, juice, grains, ready-eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans, canned meat, poultry or fish, and canned fruits and vegetables) to SNAP households at approximately half the retail cost.
This proposal creates a new approach to nutrition assistance that combines retail-based SNAP benefits with the delivery of USDA America’s Harvest Boxes supporting the President’s leadership on Buy American. This proposal is cost-effective, enhances the integrity of SNAP, and provides for states’ flexibility in the administration of the program.
The remainder of the household’s benefits will still be provided via the current Electronic Benefit Transfer card.”
As Zero Hedge reports –
“The Department of Agriculture estimates the change would save taxpayers $129 billion over 10 years by switching to defined packages that would presumably have a predictable, consistent cost. I’m guessing it would actually save a lot more than that precisely because people would hate being restricted to the Harvest Boxes, and at least a significant percentage of them would respond to the added incentive to improve their situations.
And of course, I’m sure part of the idea here is that people can’t trade or sell their food stamps or find some clever way to use them to get booze, cigarettes, drugs, etc.
Yes, the government would be picking out your food for you. Yes, that would be frustrating and no fun.
The point of food stamps is not to treat you to gourmet meals. It’s to prevent you from starving to death while you get out of the trouble you’ve gotten yourself in, whether that takes the form of unemployment, underemployment or some other type of financial mess. We want you to have food. We want you to live. But if you want the kind of food you prefer, that’s going to require you to earn your own money and buy it.”