SNAP Recipients: Prepare For Changes Under Trump! - Part 2
State-Specific Political Considerations Complicate the Problem for Trump
One area of particular interest is the "Rust Belt," a band of Midwestern states including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa, where blue-collar manufacturing and coal mining jobs are harder and harder to find with each passing day. Conventional political wisdom says it would be insane for Donald Trump to eliminate benefits from the people he vowed to protect, but when was the last time Trump was conventional in any way? If the federal government does take a hammer to SNAP benefits, will anyone be there to pick up the pieces?
Individual states play an important role in this picture, and as you might imagine, it gets complicated fast. The proposed Trump budget calls for states to match up to 20 percent of the cost of SNAP benefits for their residents, but what if the states don't have the money? Unlike the federal government, many state constitutions require annual balanced budgets, which means no deficit spending.
Add in the skyrocketing pension and healthcare costs for state employees, and it's easy to see how more than a few states across the country are locked in a perpetual budget crisis mode with no real solution in sight. The states with the weakest economies and the most people who need SNAP are the same ones that cannot afford to pay their assigned portion of the cost. To put it another way, the states Trump would be asking to pick up the tab really can't afford to do so because the money just isn't there. Coupled with other budgetary cuts to services, the impact for recipients could be devastating.
Where Do We Go From Here?
If there is a silver lining here, it is the fact that proposed budgets are almost never final budgets. It's hard to imagine Congress will let the proposed cut to SNAP benefits become law without finding some way to ease the pain for their constituents. Even if Congress does step up, at least some of the proposed cuts will still be on the table, so recipients need to pay attention to the news as the issue unfolds.
Feeding your family isn't a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. It's an American issue, and it's an issue that nobody should take lightly. If you receive SNAP benefits and don't know how you'd manage without them, let your Congressman and Senator know it! Self-interest governs all politics, so if you are doing everything you can to get by and still need help making ends meet, you need to stay engaged and make your voice heard, regardless of political affiliation. Elected officials do listen when their constituents speak because they want to be re-elected. Your voice does matter, but only if you use it!