What Happened to States’ Rights?

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

While the federal government pays for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), states are responsible for determining who is eligible for the program and for covering at least half of the administrative cost of enrolling them.

The Trump regime has apparently decided, however, that states should no longer be allowed to determine who is eligible.

Some states automatically enroll residents in the SNAP program if they participate in other assistance programs that indicate that they're eligible, but the Department of Agriculture wants to rewrite the rules to place new restrictions on who can be enrolled.

The new rules will push up to 3 million people out of the program according to the Trump regime's own estimates.

From Bloomberg:

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said state governments “have misused this flexibility.”

“We are changing the rules, preventing abuse of a critical safety net system, so those who need food assistance the most are the only ones who receive it,” he added. [...]

The Trump administration rule would rein in states’ ability to enroll recipients earning more than 130% of the federal poverty guidelines -- in most cases capping eligibility to an annual income of $32,640 for a family of four. Households are also limited in most cases to $2,250 in countable assets, such as cash or money in bank accounts.

States with flexibility? Gasp!

This is bad policy and not just because it's inhumane and will likely lead to families with small children losing what little benefit they received.

It's also bad policy because food stamps are the most stimulative spending program in the federal arsenal, with each $1 spent on food stamps resulting in $1.73 in economic activity according to Moody's Analytics.

The Trump regime estimates that kicking up to 3 million people off the SNAP program under the new rules will result in $2.5 billion in savings per year, but that also means economic activity at grocery stores and producers will drop by over $4 billion.

The SNAP program is more of a stimulus program than a welfare program and, if you asked them, I doubt the average farmer would tell you this is a good time to kick 3 million people off the program; not while Trump's trade war is ongoing.

  • muselet

    Even as their friends, neighbors and family—and, in a non-trivial number of cases, themselves—are removed from the SNAP program, I fully expect the MAGA-hatted hordes to cheer this decision wildly because the Trump administration owned the libs!

    If there is a Hell, there must be a special place there for people like Donald Trump and Sonny Perdue.


    • Draxiar

      They’ll also cheer because they (wrongly) believe that the majority of people game the system to get “free” stuff. They’ll point to people allegedly buying lobsters and filet mignon as a reason SNAP recipients- any recipients- shouldn’t get any help. While there may be some that game the system they aren’t the majority for sure, I would wager that the number of people that do game it is a very, very small percentage. Living life on SNAP is not glorious and you really have to mind what you buy. How do I know? Because when I was a kid my parents fell on really hard times and we got food stamps. My parents discarded their pride in order to survive while they went to back to college and engineered their careers. SNAP is meant as a stepping stone for people that get punched with misfortune. So to further humiliate and inflict pain on people that have already dismissed their dignity is vile in the extreme.

  • Dread_Pirate_Mathius

    What Happened to States’ Rights?

    They don’t give a single shit about States’ Rights.

    As with their pearl grasping panic over debt and deficit, Republicans only care when the Democrats are in charge.

    • Christopher Foxx

      They don’t give a single shit about States’ Rights.

      Nor have they ever.

      Like everything else the modern Republican party is “for”, be it states rights, family values, opposition to deficits, bringing honor back to the Oval Office, limiting government, the rule of law, etc etc etc.

      The only two things they are truly for are keeping their positions of power and making things worse for people they don’t like. EVERYTHING else is just the legitimate-sounding facade they put up.

  • Draxiar

    Next policy is to kick puppies and kittens because who the fuck do they think they are?