Today is food stamp cuts day. It's the day when the stimulus-era boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program expires, reducing the average benefit to a family of four by $36 a month. Charitable organizations and food banks, of course, will be unable to keep up with the demand. And women and children, who comprise around 80 percent of SNAP recipients, will suffer the most.
Not content with simply seeing people suffer, however, House Republicans have been looking at demonizing poor people by gutting SNAP assistance for the unemployed. These people piss me off, and it's not theoretical. It's real, it's actual, and it's personal.
When my mom was 7 months pregnant with me, she was let go from her clerical job. My dad stayed at home at the time taking care of my older brother, who was still a toddler at the time; it's not like there was much money in the budget for childcare back then. Now, laying off a woman who's 7 months pregnant is a generally crappy thing to do, because it's very hard for a woman in that position to gain new employment. And such was the case with my mom. We had no choice to but to live on unemployment, food stamps and the WIC program. Budgets on these programs are very tight. During those days, using the food stamp money to get a 2-liter bottle of soda was considered akin to a Christmas present.
These government programs are what kept me alive in my early childhood until my mom was able to find work again several months after I was born. They're what kept my whole family from going hungry. Even then, we were making it on the thinnest of shoestrings. And for all the families today who have been put in similar positions by the greatest economic catastrophe of our generation, any reduction in these assistance programs will be devastating.
When I see today's Republicans having no problem with seeing SNAP benefits being reduced like they are today—or even worse, trying to prevent the unemployed from getting such benefits—all I see is this: they would have been fine with me starving when I was an infant. They would have been fine with my pregnant mom, unemployed through no fault of her own, unable to know how she was going to feed her children. This is the world that Congressional Republicans want. And I despise them for it. Not at the level of intellectual morality that dictates the callousness behind these actions. But at the emotional gut level that screams, "my infant self is the person you want to hurt."
These people need a soul transplant.