Your feet stroll behind your grocery cart, weaving through the aisles. You mentally calculate the cost, even though you’re grabbing the generic brand of each item. What meal can you prepare tonight that will last your family at least three days and allow you to take some for your lunch break? Perhaps your daughter won’t mind sandwiches this week even though all her friends have over the top Lunchables.
You stand at the register, watching your total climb. You tell the cashier to remove your pack of ground turkey. If you go over budget, you’ll be forced to pay the balance out of pocket. As the line behind you grows, so do the groans and sighs of frustration from impatient customers. The sighs are usually followed with “of course, she’s using a food stamps card” and “if she would just get a job, she could pay for her food.” Arguments over food stamps have even been captured on camera. It’s a sad and honest reality for many Americans.
In case you missed it, the Trump administration proposed to make budget changes for 2018 that will affect a great deal of Americans —mostly the poor. The plan is to cut funding important public assistance programs such as Medicaid, Social Security disability and SNAP benefits. The most concerning part is the administration’s willingness to justify the cuts.
The way they see it, if those on public assistance would just work harder, they’d be okay. Unfortunately that way of thinking is demeaning and perpetuates the notion that those who seek public assistance are lazy and undeserving of receiving aid.
Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, made a great point that food stamps were designed to get people back on their feet. That’s a plan everyone can get behind because, in reality, no one enjoys struggling to survive. Unfortunately, it is more complicated than simply working harder.