President Donald Trump's recent attack on working families has been particularly hard hit in the states that voted for him: More than half of the people who will lose access to food stamps due to the regulations proposed this summer live in states who chose Trump in 2016.
Every twelfth person who receives food stamps nationwide will lose them under the policy – according to a new analysis by Mathematica, the private sector analyst company that the USDA has relied on for the past 40 years, will be around 3.6 million People get lost.
"I was surprised at the scale of the impact in some southern states like Texas," said Sarah Lauffer, a senior research programmer at Mathematica. The impact has always been severe in countries that apply the rules in a most generous manner, but the southern states have generally not quite extended their approval limits. Still, said Lauffer, her team found that "34% of older Texans who receive benefits lose it through this rule."
Nearly 400,000 people in Texas who are currently receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits would lose them. Another 328,000 in Florida, 200,000 in New York, 97,000 in Georgia and 176,000 in Washington, to name but a few.
Almost one in five households in Wisconsin that is currently receiving food assistance will lose this benefit, as will 16% of those in Oregon, Nevada, Iowa and Delaware. Two out of 13 SNAP households in Minnesota and Texas have to find food money elsewhere.
The government plans to reduce the benefits by ending a widespread bipartisan policy known as BBCE (Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility). This policy protects low-wage workers from a feature of the Poverty Alleviation Act known as the "Benefit Cliff". Earning or saving something too much money can result in low-income families being excluded from public aid programs.
With the end of the extended authorization system for SNAP, around half a million children nationwide will be released from free school meal programs. The administration has insisted that these children can all get back on board immediately by filling out application forms that are currently being discussed by the BBCE system. However, experts have warned that this doesn't necessarily work that way.
The government predicts a total reduction in SNAP spending of $ 10 billion in the next five years once the policy comes into force. The long-term costs that make families hungry and desperate have not been estimated.
"If families whose gross income is slightly above the poverty line receive food aid, both children and adults in the family can eat," said Lisa Davis, senior vice president of the Center for Poverty Policy, "No Kid Hungry." “Children who do not get the food they need have poorer health outcomes, poorer physical and cognitive development, poorer school outcomes, find it harder to concentrate, do less well with tests more behavior problems. "
The government has always known it would take away millions of food aid. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials said this when they announced the new regulations in August.
"It doesn't make sense to us," said Ellen Vollinger of the Food Research Action Center. “Taking people away from food will only worsen their nutritional situation and make them hungry. This will have a negative impact on the economy if some economists warn us that we are facing another downturn. "
Nonprofit groups across the country are dutifully making public comments criticizing the rule and indicating all manner in which the USDA has apparently ignored evidence, congressional intentions, and practical facts when it published its proposal. The 60-day window for such comments will close later in the fall, and the administration is likely to face legal challenges if it tries to deal with the objections in a pro forma manner.
But USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue has been determined to kill the BBCE for months since Congress decided to keep politics in last year's Farm Bill. There is a big chance that the cut – in some form – will start at this time next year.
These families earn slightly more than the legal maximum income for SNAP eligibility. However, this does not mean that they can afford to cut even the modest food aid they are currently receiving from their monthly budget.
"They make compromises between the bills to be paid. Do they pay the rent or have a car repaired so they can keep working or stop the lights?" Davis said. "We see these families reduce food first. (BBCE ) helps both children and adults to eat in the family. "
Trump's policies hardly hit red states hardest
As the figures at the country level show on Thursday, the categorical downgrading of eligibility will be particularly difficult to feel in four states in which very narrow Trump victories in 2016 irrevocably moved the electoral college in his favor.
Trump won Wisconsin with less than 23,000 votes last time. He will have released 118,000 Wisconsin residents from food stamps by election day if the rule goes as planned.
One in nine people currently benefiting from SNAP in Michigan will boot according to this rule – a total of approximately 165,000 men, women and children. Trump won the state with only 10,704 votes in the final round.
In Pennsylvania, which Trump owned with almost 47,000 votes, his sliced food stamps will throw more than five times as many people off the food aid rolls.
The potential economic self-sabotage and self-sabotage in elections is particularly striking, as the bipartisan majority in Congress has repeatedly rejected this precise policy in the past year. The right-wing crusade against broad categorical authority has never won the majority of Republican hearts and minds. Like the vast majority of voters who oppose cutting food stamps, the elected GOP understands that BBCE is an effective investment in the long-term future of children, the short-term health of the local economy, and the progress of working families on the income ladder ,
“The attacks on SNAP in the past few years have largely been unsuccessful. Congress has decided not to weaken the snap in the 2018 farm bill and has denied several crazy attacks on it, ”said Vollinger.
"We are confident that in this comment phase there will be enough comments and insights that the administration would review again."
It is not just the SNAP recipients who will feel the effects: the suffering that the government wants to inflict on poor families is likely to be felt in households with higher incomes in the form of a broader economic slowdown. Consumer spending drives the entire economy. If you limit the SNAP benefits, consumers will have to spend less.
USDA staff released updated estimates of the economic multiplier effects of SNAP spending earlier this summer. Although the Trump administration team's official assessment is slightly below the previous multipliers, the report includes several models. Each additional dollar of SNAP benefit paid out generates between $ 1.50 and $ 1.80 in aggregate activity when the economy is in trouble, as the tables show.
The agency has also broken down the economic impact by sector, with some surprising results. The retail and transportation sectors are most affected by the SNAP cuts. In nine major industrial sectors analyzed by the agency, between 27,000 and 32,000 jobs will be lost each year over the next half decade.
Forecasters who predict their existence as to what the economy will do next are already beginning to fear that a nationwide recession is emerging. Several states have experienced recessions within their own borders in the past two years, and at least two appear to be on the verge of entering into new contractions based on sudden jumps in local unemployment rates.
The economy is still growing, but has been slower than before in the past two quarters. The investor class relies on long-term US government bonds and produces the dreaded but lengthy "yield curve inversion" – a phenomenon that does not guarantee a recession, but which occurred before every US recession in the last half of the year. Century.
The country's manufacturing sector has been expanding for three consecutive years, but it shrank in August – again not a sure sign of a general downturn, but certainly an unhealthy indicator.
As the financier and policy expert Barry Ritholtz recently noted in a column, presidents almost always get too much recognition for good economies and too much guilt for bad ones.
But Trump is doing more to keep an eye on the markets than an average president. And while the economist and investor classes are alerted to the kind of sophisticated technical indicators that make up the business pages, the administration also plans to stab the working poor with a sharp stick.
Whether or not the SNAP cuts Trump is aiming for would help push the country into recession, they are sure to make life difficult for people who are poorly positioned to absorb such a pinch. Presidents seeking re-election generally rise or fall with the health of the economy credited to them – fair or unfair – – with creating.