Friday, April 17, 2020

Do Not Cut the SNAP Program by Dr Ada M Fisher

Think Hard on SNAP Judgments
Any thoughts of abandoning the SNAP program for school children who live beneath the poverty line are ill conceived.   The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the basis of the school lunch program which feeds millions of needy school children with remarkably good lunches.  These meals hit four food groups featuring a meat, vegetable, fruit and milk and for breakfast includes a fortified muffin incorporating “everything but the kitchen sink.”  We must not take food from the mouth's of babes.

Now that schools are generally out across the nation, in North Carolina the school buses demonstrate a best practice in delivering the lunches to the bus stops available for all children while the schools remain open with limited accommodations during the day. For too many of our children, these are the only nutritious foods available to them and earlier talk of cutbacks or reducing the foods in them should not be considered.  Unlike previous Reagan administration statements, ketchup is not a vegetable and if folks had read a book should have known that tomatoes are fruits.

Our corona virus predicament shows the need for some national accommodations relative to the availability of food.  Food may be there in some markets, but if you’re not working how will one pay for it?  If this viral penetration drags its devastating morbidity and mortality on for more than a month, some type of monthly pay check may have to be instituted nationally of say $1000 less be prepared for wars of survival in our streets.  Why is not previous Democratic candidate Andrew Yang solicited by the media to discuss his Freedom Dividend idea which would cover some of the same thing?  The ideas of socialism have been much pooh-poohed by the right.  The corona virus has done much to say it may be time to show us a better alternative or watch socialist ideas flourish. 

If you watch the recipients of food stamps, often many have turned them into an underground currency of exchange.  Many food stamps were sold for cash or food was purchased for others and sold to them for cash.  When stamps were issued in tear off books, often people used these stamps like money to pay rent or meet other obligations. 

Maybe it is time to look at bundling programs to people receiving multiple sources of assistance, e.g. Section 8 housing, Medicaid, transportation, food, medicines, etc.  “Supplemental National Assistance Programs” are becoming a new look which will grow if viable alternatives are not developed.  Unchecked they will further bankrupt our nation -- just look at Venezuela’s collapsed economy, England’s increasingly restricted services from their National Health Service and many more prescient examples.

In general able bodied people should not have been allowed in these programs if they could work but wouldn’t.   However many are now excluded from jobs as there is no work to do. Are we willing to just let people starve?  This nation is capable of doing better.   Now is the time for entrepreneurs to step forth and policy think tanks to be expanded to include those from the rank and file.  Different solutions are needed and maybe different people may bring them.

Ada M. Fisher, MD, MPH is a former Medical Director in a Fortune 500 company, licensed teacher, retired physician, former county school board member, speaker, author of Common Sense Conservative Prescriptions Good for What Ails Us Book 1 (available through Amazon. Com) and is the NC Republican National Committeewoman