SNAP funding needs to be maintained

March 31, 2014 | 9:40 pm

Food stamp (SNAP) funding must be protected in any new farm bill. To be effective, safety nets must stretch when needed, contracting when need shrinks.

Unemployment increased by half over the last four years. Economic growth since the Great Recession has gone only to the top 10 percent of earners. Incomes for the bottom 90 percent continue to fall, as does the value of their assets. The median price of a home this February was 6.2 percent lower than a year ago. Most jobs added during the recovery pay less than those lost in the recession. SNAP participation rose as a result of this increased need, exactly as the system was designed to do.

Cutting SNAP funding, while need remains exceptionally high, would leave millions hungry. Malnutrition in childhood impairs educational outcomes, reduces future earnings, and increases health care costs, none of which are in our common interest.

Iowans should strongly support Sen. Tom Harkin’s efforts to protect nutrition funding in the farm bill, and Sen. Chuck Grassley’s long-term efforts to cap commodity program payments. Savings from capping payments to the largest farms could support funding to feed hungry children.

Ellen Fisher

Cedar Rapids

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