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U.S. Government Wounding U.S. Economy

November 4, 2013
Plain English Version

There are two economies. One affects individuals and families. The other affects the whole nation. The food stamp program is an example of both economies.

A scheduled change reduced benefits for a family of four by $36 a month. Families will have less to spend on food or less on something else. In the nation, lower spending will hurt farmers and the food industry.

Unemployment benefits were increased in 2009. Payroll taxes were reduced. Both were part of an effort to get the economy moving again. Now the extended benefits of these programs are being taken away.

Republicans say that lower spending will save taxpayers money. Democrats say less spending means lower overall growth in the economy.

In 2009, 26 million people were in the food stamp program. This year there are 48 million people getting food stamps. The program now costs about $76 billion annually.

People see on television how the loss of $36 in food stamps a month will hurt a family of four. And it will. But it is misleading to think low-income families do not have  resources to deal with change. To be low-income is to be able to adjust.

The other question is how much do we lose by trying to slow the overall growth of the economy? The recovery from the 2008 Great Recession has been the slowest in U.S. history. Some economists say the solution is spending, not lowering benefits for those in need.

Again, the food stamp program is an example. Experts say every dollar spent on food stamps produces $1.74 in economic activity. In this time of slow growth, why punish low-income families and the entire economy by cutting benefits?

Source: The New York Times                                                                                               October 31, 2013

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