Trump’s new budget proposal has been panned for its magical thinking on economic growth and sloppy accounting errors.
One of the big cuts proposed would also take a sledgehammer to a safety net program that’s been remarkably effective.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, has been helping keep Americans from going hungry since the 1960s. Formerly known as food stamps, the program began as a pilot under President John F. Kennedy in 1961 as part of the war on poverty. Today, SNAP is the biggest and most important nutrition assistance program: About 45 million Americans living below the poverty line — nearly half of them children — rely on SNAP to purchase food.
If Trump had his way, though, the number of SNAP recipients would soon be drastically cut. The administration’s first comprehensive budget proposal would trim SNAP spending by $191 billion over the next decade — which is about a quarter of the program’s funding. (The program costs the federal government $80 billion a year, which is a large amount of money — but a relatively small fraction of the budget.)
Paul Ryan has had three overarching goals during his political career: to cut taxes on the wealthy, to cut government spending on the poor and old, and to make the needy work if they want government help. Last year, the House Speaker finally checked the taxes bit off his Congressional bucket list. But his dreams of clipping the safety net have proven more elusive. The Obamacare repeal bill Ryan jammed through his chamber would have made the historic reductions to Medicaid that Republicans have been chasing for decades. But that effort died with a thumbs down from John McCain.
"At the end of 2017, Ryan made it clear he wanted Republicans to make one last effort at “welfare reform” before the midterms potentially swept them out of power. The point was not to save money, he insisted, but to do “workforce development.” This was his dry, bureaucratic euphemism for making more adults work in order to qualify for federal aid like food stamps. Some Republicans were skeptical of this “workforce development” plan—perhaps because literally taking lunch money from the poor seemed like a dubious election year strategy—but the White House said it was on board."
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food stamps, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Then the republicans will stand before him and he will say I was hungry and you took away my food stamps, I was a pregame tanager and you called me a hoar, I was disabled you cut off my disability. I was old and sick and you took away medicare.