Government shutdown puts the pressure on food stamp recipients

Food stamp recipients will have to ration their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits until March after most received their February benefits around Jan. 20.

It is expected that the majority of families will have to make their SNAP benefits last 40 days while some families will have to stretch their benefits for 50 days according to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. For those families, it can be difficult to make the food benefits last a month, let alone almost two months. And with a president that is so out of touch with today’s world, there is a lack of understanding and empathy from the presidential administration. What these millions of Americans really need is more governmental assistance in the form of larger benefits when the country is going into a shutdown and proactivity in answering questions and concerns of citizens in helping them make their benefits last.

The president’s comments in response to his Commerce Secretary’s statements show a disconnect between him and the public he serves.

“Local people know who they are when they go for groceries and everything else,” Trump said. “They know the people. They’ve been dealing with them for years, and they work along.”

While not the most cohesive thought, Trump is imagining a world in which the public can buy groceries on credit. This shows a president that is wildly out of touch with the reality and what it is like to struggle to make ends meet. The world is not nearly as accommodating as Trump believes. These families don’t have rich parents to rely on for a “small” loan of $1 million.

Millions of Americans rely on the SNAP benefits to feed their families and face an apathetic government when benefits go out early but leave them struggling to make their food last. It is an apathetic administration that has caused the longest government shutdown in history and ignored the costs to families all over America. Food is a basic need that every human needs to survive and by allowing the shutdown to continue out of stubbornness, the administration put millions of Americans into peril.

It’s sad when the biggest empathetic acts for Americans hurt by the shutdown have been by other private citizens and not their own government. People have come together to help when possible. Chef José Andrés, who provided meals to Puerto Ricans hit by Hurricane Maria also took his talents to help feed federal employees. But although this was a supremely kind gesture, it is the exception, not the norm, unfortunately.

And our government should have adequate infrastructure to handle these types of problems, especially since government shutdowns have become commonplace over the past several years. What we’re saying is that in this day and age, there’s no reason that such a powerful country as ours shuts down and causes chaos for all American residents. There’s no excuse for it. Emergency policies should be put in place ahead of time but honestly, a shutdown should never happen in the first place.