In a recent New York Times Editorial, the editors lambasted John Boehner’s lackluster, seemingly carefree attitude towards separating SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that feeds 47 million Americans, from the original Farm Bill.
I am by absolutely no means defending the House’s decision to strike out the SNAP program. I think it was irresponsible, potentially throwing away an important bargaining chip for agriculturalists to pass the “farm” side of the Farm Bill. However:
(1) I think people need to recognize that if we don’t have a Farm Bill to support FARMS, affordable food will be nonexistent, and food support programs will be useless.
(2) SNAP needs a lot of work, and simply passing it through and spending a few billion dollars of pocket change on an incredibly inefficient system will ultimately not solve our problems. I do not think many representatives, and the public taxpayers, are that far off in requesting consideration of work requirements, drug testing, and similar restrictions on the subsidy program — just to name a few of the inadequacies of the system. Regulation parallel to the successful Women, Infants, and Children program, commonly referred to as WIC, may also be worthwhile consideration as we now discuss SNAP independently.
Hopefully, now, SNAP will get the attention it deserves, within the context it deserves, advised by the people who actually understand it — not as a tag-along piece of legislation that took over more than 80% of the Farm Bill for political “expediency” purposes.
For more information on the Farm Bill passed by the House of Representatives, I refer you to none other than Stephen Colbert: