To the Editor:
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has announced new rules that will remove about 700,000 persons from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called food stamps). This is another example of the current Administration’s nearly constant undermining of fundamental Catholic (Jewish and biblical) teaching on social justice; e.g. immigrant treatment, option for the poor, gun violence, economic justice, death penalty, dignity of women and etc. etc. In addition, there is an explicit attack on Pope Francis.
Furthermore, Perdue’s statements indicates that he has little understanding about who is served by SNAP.
Mr. Perdue talks as if many healthy persons who could work stay in the program for a long time. Many persons with disabilities and children living in dire poverty do stay in SNAP for more than a year out of sheer necessity. Able-bodied persons are served on average about half a year as they transition between jobs usually due to causes beyond their control.
The claim is that nearly $5 billion would be saved over five years. One might compare that to the about $28 billion in welfare disbursed to farmers who are said to have been hurt by the ongoing, mostly senseless trade wars. Most of that unearned money went to corporate farmers in just one year. One might ask if our U.S. senators were included and, if so, by how much.
Those who support such policies might be well served by reading the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 25.