The 2011 budget is getting voted on at the end of this week. Included in the $40 billion cut is $504 million being cut from WIC. This affects the budget through the current 2011 fiscal year, which actually ends in September 2011. I have a post on here already about how they could make this cut without hurting WIC participants, but today I’d like to ask why WIC is being put on the chopping block before Food Stamps.
I find it interesting that I can find nothing about Food Stamp benefits funding for 2011 in these news articles about big budget cuts. Everyone wants to talk about how WIC is getting cut $504 million, but nothing is being said about the biggest program that helps feed low income Americans: Food Stamps. I did find how much the total cost of the Food Stamp program has been in previous years.
So far in 2011, from January 1st- March 31st, $23.3 billion has been spent. If that 3 months of spending is indicative of what will be spent or the rest of the year, we are going to spend an estimated $93.2 billion on Food Stamps in 2011.
It seems strange to me that we would cut $504 million dollars out of WIC, which costs approximately $7 billion total (and provides breastfeeding help and support, formula, and baby food to approximately 45% of all babies in America). But we can afford to increase the amount of Food Stamps by $28.5 BILLION???
There’s an increase in F0od Stamps because in the face of economic crisis the government has made it easier than ever for many people to get Food Stamps. It used to be that in nearly every state there was an asset limit of $2000, but many states have lifted this.
The Food Stamp program has expanded and the news always talks about how the bad economy has caused it to expand, but in reality what caused it to expand is that the requirements to be eligible have become easier to meet.
When we moved to a different state a couple years ago, and took our pay cut at the same time, we made less than what we make now but did not qualify for Food Stamps. We now earn more money and are doing better financially, but qualify for Food Stamps.
The bad economy didn’t make us qualify, the new legislation made us qualify.
Which brings us to my next question. With such a large increase in Food Stamps, do the WIC cuts even matter?