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Biden Boosted Food Stamps. Let’s Do the Same to All US Anti-Poverty Programs.

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The Biden administration recently announced a record permanent increase in the value of food stamps aid going to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients around the country. The average amount received each month by each of the 42 million Americans relying on SNAP, formerly titled the Food Stamp Program, to put food on the table was $121 before the pandemic hit. It will now increase by $36, or 27 percent, reflecting what the Agriculture Department believes to be a more realistic cost of healthy foods.

This boost is nothing to sneeze at – it constitutes the largest permanent boost in the history of the public benefits program. But to truly end hunger in the United States and address the ongoing economic crises faced by people across this country, it’s vital for the same sort of boost to happen across all U.S. anti-poverty programs, with funds extracted from corporate profits and the ultra rich.

Bernie Sanders, chair of the powerful Senate Budget Committee has proposed just this, putting forward one bill to restore the corporate tax rate to 35 percent, which is where it was until Republicans reduced it to 21 percent in 2017. He has also introduced a second bill to create a progressive estate tax that would kick in on estates valued at $3.5 million and above. Such reforms would generate large sums of money that could be used to expand health care access, to put in place more programs tailored to low-income children, to expand safety net programs to noncitizen immigrants, and so on. These reforms will, however, take time; in the meanwhile, increasing the value of SNAP benefits is a good way to get bang-for-the-buck in reducing hunger, one of the most destructive consequences of poverty.

As with so many of the new social programs and spending being pushed by the Biden administration, the impetus for the recent boost in SNAP benefits came with temporary fixes put in place during the first two waves of the pandemic. Then, with tens of millions of Americans suddenly out of work and unable to meet their basic needs, Congress temporarily increased the value of food stamps aid sent out to recipients by 15 percent. But that boost was initially slated to expire at the end of September.

Many states also utilized an........

© Truthout

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