The worst part is that no one is really sure how effective the SNAP program is. That’s right: The academic evidence is quite mixed about its effectiveness in either combatting hunger or improving nutrition. Even the Government Accountability Office concedes that the “literature is inconclusive as to whether SNAP alleviates hunger and malnutrition for low-income households.” That means we are currently throwing almost $80 billion a year at a program with nothing more than good intentions to show for our efforts.
The conference committee provides an important opportunity to debate food stamp reform. Let’s hope it can be done with a bit more attention to the facts and a bit less hysteria.
Michael Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of “SNAP Failure: The Food Stamp Program Needs Reform.”
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.