The Trump administration is proposing a new rule that would kick approximately three million Americans off of food stamps, calling it necessary to avoid fraud, abuse, and inefficiency.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed a rule that would stop automatically enrolling families who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is more commonly known as food stamps. According to CNN, the rule could deprive millions of impoverished Americans of food assistance, as 40 states plus Washington, DC automatically enroll TANF recipients into SNAP in order to streamline the process for low-income families.
“The American people expect their government to be fair, efficient, and to have integrity – just as they do in their own homes, businesses, and communities,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a public statement. “That is why 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.”
However, there’s very little fraud and abuse of food stamps. In 2018, a report by the Congressional Research Service found that SNAP fraud was “relatively rare.”
While the Trump administration touts the rule as something that would be “efficient” for taxpayers, the administration doesn’t appear to have the same penny-pinching attitude for tax dollars when it comes to President Trump’s golf outings. The website TrumpGolfCount.com, which takes note of each time Trump spends taxpayer dollars on one of his branded golf resorts, estimates that the president has spent more than $106 million in taxpayer dollars on 198 separate golf outings since taking the oath of office in 2017. Trump’s most recent golf vacation was on July 21, 2019.
The TrumpGolfCount breakdown of costs shows that Trump has spent more than $47 million in taxpayer dollars just on Air Force One flights to his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
This proposed rule is just the latest change that the Trump administration has proposed with the end goal of reducing the number of Americans getting food assistance. A work requirements rule proposed earlier this year would eliminate an estimated 750,000 people from food stamp rolls, and even more Americans could lose SNAP benefits if the proposed “chained CPI” rule for calculating poverty goes into effect.
And even though the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 didn’t end up providing any real benefits to working-class Americans and benefits went almost exclusively to the very rich, Trump is doubling down on cutting taxes for the rich. In June, Vanity Fair reported that the Trump administration was working on a way to reduce taxes on investments and bypassing Congress to do it. 86% of the benefits would go to the top 1% if the new tax cuts were passed.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.