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House Budget Slashes SNAP Food Stamp Benefits

2 million people would lose benefits entirely

According to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the 10-year budget plan passed by the House of Representatives strictly along party lines May 10 shows that only the Republicans are willing to make the tough choices to tame a soaring federal debt. And, he says, to change history as well.

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"It is so rare in American politics to arrive at a moment in which the debate revolves around the fundamental nature of American democracy and the social contract, but that is where we are. … [This] budget is a vote of confidence for the American experiment."

Not surprisingly, the Democrats see it differently. The House GOP budget "stands as another example of the Republican establishment grasping onto the same failed economic policies that stacked the deck against the middle class and created the worst financial crisis in decades," said White House press secretary Jay Carney.

"The House GOP budget is not a plan to reduce the deficit. Rather it is a blueprint to ask low- and middle-income families to finance enormous tax giveaways to the wealthy and corporations through cuts to health care, nutrition assistance and investments needed to create jobs and grow the middle class. Not a single new measure to help the nearly 13 million unemployed find a new job, including higher taxes, is in the budget," said Michael Linden, director for tax and budget policy at the progressive Center for American Progress.

Just what is this new budget? As passed by the House May 10, over the next 10 years $1.2 trillion in spending cuts will be imposed, except for defense, which gets an extra $228 billion to spend by 2022. The wealthy and corporations will see their taxes cut. Overall, Ryan says, the House budget makes cuts to "a level not seen since World War II."

Of course, the federal government's budget has to stretch further than it did at the end of World War II. In 1946 — just after the war ended — there were an estimated 141.4 million U.S. residents. By 2010, the census tallied up 308.7 million people — over twice as many as 1946.

Since defense spending would go up and wealthy Americans and corporations get tax cuts, where will those new spending cuts come from? Some will come from SNAP, the program formerly known, and in some states still known, as food stamps.

Next: How SNAP works as an economic multiplier. »

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