Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture panel and its former chairman, has signaled a willingness to look at a compromise that would come down a notch to 135 percent of poverty. Peterson has also argued that for efficiency’s sake the government should end the practice of paying a minimum food stamp benefit — about $16 a month — to persons who don’t qualify for more aid.Representative Peterson is wrong. Receiving even $1 in foodstamps qualifies a person for tuition assistance. Which means people using that foodstamp benefit to help them improve their lives by receiving worker retraining, which would eventually get them off foodstamps. And frankly $16 will buy a gallon of milk, a pound of butter, a chicken, an onion and some noodles. That's a meal for four people.
The new report indicates that more than a million individuals received this minimum benefit in 2011. Peterson would argue it is too small to make a real difference in people’s lives and a needless administrative cost for the government. (emphasis added)
My family receives $240 in foodstamps a month. That's for me, my husband, and his four kids when they're here for their visitations (approximately one week out of the month). But because they don't live with us 50% of the time the kids aren't included in the benefit amount. $240 doesn't go very far, but it means we can afford meat and fresh vegetables and fruit and milk.
Reducing food benefits makes no sense. SNAP benefits are fiscally stimulative because people have to turn that money into food, which means we shop for food, which means grocers get money. And we get FOOD, which means our kids aren't starving. What is so difficult about keeping people from starving for goodness sake? Why is that so politically difficult?
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