While the usual suspects continue to wail about Donald Trump supposedly degrading the presidency with his very presence, the actual policy outcomes from his election continue to be, while by no means perfect, far more good than bad for any serious conservative.
At the Daily Wire, Joseph Curl digs into the latest statistics from the US Department of Agriculture, which administers the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more commonly known as food stamps.
He found that the November 2016 election has already had a drastic impact on the program, with almost one and a half million Americans getting off food stamps since Trump’s inauguration in January — a reduction in program participation of 3.5% in the span of less than 11 months. More strikingly, every single month of 2017 has seen six-figure (or nearly six-figure from February to March) departures from SNAP.
Curl notes that this is a breath of fresh air coming off of the explosion of government dependence America saw under President Barack Obama’s eight-year tenure:
People forced to live on food stamp soared 32% under his watch. In 2009, when he took office, there were 33.5 million people on food stamp benefits; in October 2016, just a few months before he left office, that number had skyrocketed to 44.2 million — a jump of 10.7 million people.
The cost of the program to taxpayers rose from $50.3 billion to $66.6 billion — all while Obama’s administration pushed the idea that the economy was booming (it wasn’t). As the unemployment rate dropped (mainly due to Obama officials reducing the number of people considered in the “work force”), millions were forced onto food stamps.
Breitbart’s Katherine Rodriguez has more, noting that Trump’s 2018 budget proposal called for SNAP cuts and for states to match up to 20 percent of federal money allotted to the program, and that the president has called on states to further expand their work requirements. However, she also notes a caveat to these numbers:
The one thing this continuing trend does not fully take into account is the effect the recent natural disasters in Florida and Texas had on enrollment. The USDA eased restrictions on what items victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma could purchase, allowing those who received food stamps to purchase hot food items, which cannot usually be purchased with benefits.
The agency also allowed Texans who may have been affected by the storm to receive temporary benefits, which may cause an increase in food stamp enrollment in the state.
Although the USDA has not released their August or September data yet, the agency included a disclaimer at the bottom of their most recent data saying that it “may include disaster assistance” as a way to forecast a potential spike in enrollment.
It must also be acknowledged that Trump doesn’t deserve all the credit for this awesome turnaround; earlier this summer, TFPP covered how a number of states have been restoring work requirements to public assistance, leading to notable declines in the food stamp rolls.
Still, it obviously helps to have a president who agrees with the twin goals of greater independence from government and leaner federal spending, rather than one hellbent on addicting more and more voters to Uncle Sam.