The National Catholic Reporter recently published an editorial calling the Federal Government’s proposed cuts to food assistance programs for the needy “immoral.” Under a 2018 farm bill proposal in the House Agriculture Committee, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits would be reduced by more than thirty percent over the next ten years. The overall program itself would be restructured with eligibility for benefits tied closely to work requirements and steep penalties for recipients who fail to meet the required work hours.
Citing Catholic social teachings, NCR reported: “The dignity of work is a pillar of Catholic social teaching. Encouraging work and responsibility are worthy goals. Personal motivation and work ethic are virtues, but an ‘economy of exclusion and inequality,’ as Pope Francis has rightly described it, presents systematic barriers.
An analysis prepared by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) indicates that “the unemployed, the elderly, and low-income working families with children would bear the brunt of the cuts.” Under the proposed restructuring, about half of SNAP funds will be used to provide households a government-purchased non-perishable food box in lieu of food that households would otherwise purchase at the grocery store.
In addition to the proposed SNAP changes, the 2018 farm bill also includes provisions to refuse Medicaid coverage to people who are not working or not working a specific number of hours each month.
The CBPP is an American “watchdog” organization that analyzes the impact of federal and state government budget policies. Their stated mission is to “conduct research and analysis to help shape public debates over proposed budget and tax policies and to help ensure that policymakers consider the needs of low-income families and individuals in these debates.”
Click here to review the National Catholic Reporter article.
To review the CBPP’s in-depth analysis, please click here