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Bar graph showing the number of American households with children living on less than $2 per person per day in 2011. Counting cash income only, 1,648,000 were. Counting cash income and SNAP benefits, number drops to 857,000.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—you know, the one where the policy debate is that the House wants to cut it by $21 billion over 10 years while the Senate "only" wants to cut it by $4 billion during that time—reduced the number of households with children living in extreme poverty by 48 percent in 2011.

Contrary to what Republicans yelling about poor people with TV sets and refrigerators would have you believe, the "extreme" in "extreme poverty" is no joke here. We're talking about households living on with less than $2 per person per day, and if you only count cash income, there were 1.6 million such households in 2011. If you include SNAP benefits, the number drops to 857,000. What's more:

SNAP also cut, by roughly half, the rise in extreme poverty among households with children between 1996 and 2011, the study found.
That rise, by the way, was driven by the grand and glorious welfare reform law of 1996. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reminds us that:
One reason SNAP is so effective in fighting extreme poverty is that it focuses its benefits on many of the poorest households.  Roughly 91 percent of monthly SNAP benefits go to households below the poverty line, and 55 percent go to households below half of the poverty line (about $9,800 for a family of three).  One in five SNAP households lives on cash income of less than $2 per person a day.
To put this in the context of the minimum wage, it takes about 25 hours a week at $7.25 to earn that $9,800 that represents half the poverty line for a family of three. That's obviously a different situation than $2 per person per day, but let's be clear: If Republicans want to make food stamps less necessary, rather than simply kicking people off the program to go hungry, the way to do that would be by raising the minimum wage and then passing some job creation programs so that job seekers no longer outnumber job openings by three to one. Because oddly enough, putting people to work at above poverty wages will tend to reduce the number of people forced to rely on government assistance to feed their kids. But no, the Republican solution to SNAP cutting extreme poverty by 48 percent is to make drastic cuts.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 10:36 AM PDT.

Also republished by Hunger in America, Invisible People, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Daily Kos.

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