CNBC’s Ron Insana said President Donald Trump’s budget proposal makes harsh cuts to government programs that help the neediest. Insana said he's particularly alarmed at the idea of reduced funding for food stamps.
“When I was around 15 years old, my father lost his business, in which he had invested every cent my family had,” he said in a commentary. “When the business failed, he was forced to declare both professional and personal bankruptcy.”
The financial calamity forced his family to apply for food stamps, which was renamed as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program during the Obama administration.
“Coupled with my dad's jobless benefits, food stamps filled the void until my father found some sort gainful employment again,” Insana said. “It was a humiliating experience for my parents, and an uncertain time for my siblings and me. However, I recall that the fact that we could buy groceries without having to borrow funds from relatives or further rely on the kindness of strangers, was comforting.”
Trump’s first budget includes cuts to benefit programs such as Medicaid, federal employee pensions, welfare benefits and farm subsidies. The $1.7 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years includes a $193 billion reduction for food stamps, or a 25 percent decrease in funding.
Food stamp funding doubled from $37 billion in 2008, when the U.S. economy started to suffer its worst decline since the Great Depression, to $75 billion in 2012, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Even as the economy recovered and the Obama administration started touting its record on jobs growth, SNAP funding barely declined to $68.7 billion by 2015.
“The stories of rampant abuse in programs like Medicaid and Food Stamps are entirely overblown,” Insana said. “Numerous studies have found that these programs are lifelines to the poor, the disabled and the elderly. They are barely getting buy when working AND receiving assistance.”
Insana said the budget offers too many tax cuts to the wealthy.
“Let's scrap this budget and rebuild the nation from the bottom up, not the top down,” he said. “A society is defined by how it treats the weakest among us. We will fail that test if this budget passes Congress.”
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