(Demos) -- I received a phone call today from someone who had seen Demos’ Vice President, Heather McGhee, on MSNBC talking about why people need food stamps. The caller stated, “People who are poor do not deserve to have children. I’ve seen these people with 1,2, 5 children. If you can’t afford to feed them, don’t have them.”
It’s easy to dismiss this as the ravings of a lunatic but the truth is that this mentality is all too pervasive, even though it is repulsive both as a matter of public policy and as a moral value.
First, let’s start with the basics. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), referred to often as food stamps, doesn’t just serve people with children. More than one-quarter of SNAP recipients live in households with seniors or people with disabilities. The recent growth in SNAP spending is because we were in a recession and in a recession, people lose their sources of income. When they lose income, they find it hard to buy things, like food. SNAP actually works exactly as a safety-net program should: It provides assistance to people who are on the brink and prevents them from falling over the edge.
Advertisement - story continues below