Trump vs. poverty: Food stamps usage drops 8 mos. in a row

Thursday, September 13, 2018
Michael F. Haverluck (

Trump (May '16 pic)For eight straight months, the Trump administration’s war on poverty has decreased the number of Americans dependent on food stamps.

The latest statistics unleashed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reveal that since the start of the fiscal year (FY) 2018 eight months ago, a consistent drop in individuals receiving food stamp benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has dropped every month.

Even though there has been a steady decline in food stamp usage since 2013, such federal assistance has been declining without waver under the booming economy of President Donald Trump, who vowed to get Americans back to work and off government dependence on the campaign trail two years ago.

Numbers tell it all

According to the USDA’s latest numbers broken down below, 6,283,794 Americans have discontinued their SNAP benefits over the past eight months of FY 2018 beginning in October of last year, which translates into an average drop in government dependence over this period of nearly 800,000 Americans per month.

  • October to November 2017 drop- 4,050,688
  • November to December 2017 drop- 360,995
  • December to January 2018 drop- 737,465
  • January to February 2018 drop- 385,456
  • February to March 2018 drop- 39,701
  • March to April 2018 drop- 426,085
  • April to May 2018 drop- 139,570
  • May to June 2018 drop- 143,834

Determined to decrease …

Trump made it clear during his 2016 presidential campaign that he would get Americans working again and decrease their dependence on the federal government, and his plan appears to be working – according to the recent figures.

“The USDA data shows that since February 2017 – Trump’s first full month in office – enrollment in SNAP dropped by 2,789,852 – which can be mainly attributed to the Trump administration’s efforts to reform the nation’s food stamp program and the improving economy,” Breitbart News reported. “The agency announced in March that it hired an ‘integrity officer’ to bolster the administration’s efforts to prevent fraud in the country’s SNAP program and announced in February the rollout of its ‘Harvest Box’ program to give food stamp recipients a box of food as part of their monthly benefits package.”

As an instrument to implement his war on poverty in America, Trump signed an executive order on welfare reform earlier this year in April, ordering the USDA to issue new rules to welfare recipients getting food stamps and other government benefits, while also instructing the federal agency to invest tax dollars on workforce development programs – instead of just handouts.

Here is a snippet of the directive from Trump’s Oval Office, titled, “Executive Order Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility:”

“Unfortunately, many of the programs designed to help families have instead delayed economic independence, perpetuated poverty and weakened family bonds,” the order posted on reads. “While bipartisan welfare reform enacted in 1996 was a step toward eliminating the economic stagnation and social harm that can result from long-term Government dependence, the welfare system still traps many recipients – especially children – in poverty and is in need of further reform and modernization in order to increase self-sufficiency, well-being and economic mobility.”

The document written and signed by Trump this spring on April 10 impressed how more money thrown into the welfare system increases dependence and disincentivizes Americans to find work and succeed on their own.

“In 2017, the Federal Government spent more than $700 billion on low-income assistance, [and] since its inception, the welfare system has grown into a large bureaucracy that might be susceptible to measuring success by how many people are enrolled in a program – rather than by how many have moved from poverty into financial independence,” Trump’s order declares. “This is not the type of system that was envisioned when welfare programs were instituted in this country.” 

He asserted that Washington’s job is to make Americans stronger and more independent – not weaker and more reliant on government benefits.

“The Federal Government’s role is to clear paths to self-sufficiency, reserving public assistance programs for those who are truly in need, [an it] should do everything within its authority to empower individuals by providing opportunities for work – including by investing in Federal programs that are effective at moving people into the workforce and out of poverty,” the order continues. “It must examine Federal policies and programs to ensure that they are consistent with principles that are central to the American spirit – work, free enterprise and safeguarding human and economic resources. For those policies or programs that are not succeeding in those respects, it is our duty to either improve or eliminate them.”

More jobs, less unemployment … less food stamps

The booming economy under Trump has manifested itself in a number of ways – from less dependence on federal programs, to an ever-increasing American workforce, to less people receiving unemployment checks from the government.

“The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) also released a report in June seeking to change how the government administers welfare programs like SNAP – proposing that such programs should be moved under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health and Human Services,” Breitbart’s Katherine Rodriguez informed. “The improving economy over the past few months has also brought more people off food stamps and into the job market, [as] the American economy added 201,000 jobs in August 2018, and the unemployment rate has stayed low at 3.9 percent. Jobless claims also fell to a record low of 203,000 – the lowest level for claims since 1969.”

The amount of money earned by the average American at work has also been driven up under Trump’s economy – resulting in less dependence on the federal government.

“Wages have also risen among American households – causing them to make enough money to be able to support themselves without government assistance,” Rodriguez noted. “The U.S. Census Bureau announced Wednesday that the median household income for Americans reached an all-time high in 2017 – and the number of Americans working full-time jobs increased by 2.4 million.”

Food stamp dependence on 8-yr. low

Earlier this summer, it was announced that Trump’s crackdown on fraud and the burgeoning economy contributed to food stamp enrollment reaching an eight-year low – not to mention his slashing of billions of dollars from the food assistance program.

“President Donald Trump's first budget plan would cut nearly $2 billion from the federal food stamps program – SNAP,” Fox News reported in June. “According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture – which administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – enrollment in the program dropped in March to 40,083,954, [and] the last time food stamp participation dipped this low was in February 2010, when 39,588,993 people were enrolled in the program.”

It was impressed by the USDA that people are not just being cut off from food stamp assistance, but instead, they are no longer needing them because they are now employed and making money on their own to support themselves and their families.

"As the economy continues to improve, participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is declining," an anonymous USDA official told Fox News at the time. "SNAP was established as a temporary supplemental nutrition benefit guiding people to self-sufficiency and self-reliance – not a permanent way of life."

And the way the economy is going, many more millions are forecasted to drop their dependence on food stamps within a decade.

“The USDA official noted that much like jobless numbers, the number of enrollees in SNAP tends to fluctuate month by month, but the official added that the agency expects about 8.8 million to leave the program in the next 10 years,” Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly explained. “SNAP – which was formerly known as the Food Stamps Program – is a federal program that provides grocery assistance for people out of work or with low incomes living in the U.S. To qualify for the program, individuals must make 130 percent or less of the federal poverty level based on the household size.”

The downward trend in food stamp dependence started five years ago under the Obama administration, but Trump’s initiative of putting Americans back to work and his crackdown on fraud in the SNAP program has been credited by many economic experts as being the key driving force behind the greater drops of participants in the federal food assistance program under his leadership.

“It’s a long time coming,” Robert Doar – who serves as fellow at the American Enterprise Institute – informed Fox News in June. “These numbers are dropping because people are going back to work.”

The Trump administration’s efforts to reform SNAP have resulted in millions ending their dependence on the program since he took office, and his plans earlier this year included slashing hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer funds from supporting the widely abused program.

“Trump, in February, proposed a 30 percent – or $214 billion – cut to SNAP as part of the White House's federal budget proposal,” Rodriguez noted.



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