Is it a good idea to cut food stamps?

SNAP spending via CBO
Update: A previous version of this post included a graph that used nominal dollars based on USDA data. stated the annual spending by the U.S. Government on SNAP. This updated post now features a graph from the Congressional Budget Office in adjusted dollars.

Congress is poised to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly referred to as food stamps. In predictable form the House is seeking deeper cuts (more than $20 billion) while the Senate is pursuing smaller cuts (less than $4 billion) to SNAP over the next 10 years. The program is a large part of the Farm Bill.

The number of Americans receiving food stamps has grown since the Great Recession that began in 2007. In 2012, 47 million Americans received assistance at a cost to the government of $79 billion.

“We know the research shows that kids that eat well, parents that eat well, do better at work, they do better at school,” said Bev Durgan, dean of University of Minnesota Extension, which runs the statewide program. “It cuts down on health care costs. So this program really is about helping people make better decisions.”

Durgan said the program is particularly important at a time of economic crisis, when families are struggling to put healthy food on the table and health care costs are rising. (MPR News)

Additional information from the CBO about the SNAP program is available here.

Stateline provides a look at the numbers in nominal dollars based on USDA data and provides additional context on the SNAP program in this infographic.

SNAP Cuts via

Today’s Question: Is it a good idea to cut food stamps?