Larry Bossom, left, 41, who lost his job a few month ago, visits the St. Ignatius food pantry in Chicago, Friday, Nov. 1, 2013.
M. Spencer Green/AP

Unseen victims of food-stamp cuts

In recent weeks, it’s been remarkably easy to find so-called “victims” of the Affordable Care Act on various news shows, each telling their story about how they’re going to lose their old, awful coverage plan. These horror stories generally don’t stand up well to scrutiny – we’re talking about folks who are getting a subsidized insurance upgrade – but they’ve nevertheless become an easy, popular story for those eager to blast “Obamacare.” 
I can’t help but notice, though, that actual victims of food-stamp cuts aren’t exactly blanketing the national airwaves. Arthur Delaney reported on Friday about food-bank directors worrying aloud about the consequences of shrinking benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“It’s coming right before the holidays, and it’s coming right before it gets cold outside,” Melissa Henderson of South Plains Food Bank told the local Fox affiliate in Lubbock, Texas.

“I think we’re going to be swamped and it really worries me,” Sharon Miller, director of Our Savior Lutheran Food Bank in Lansing, Mich., told WILX. “A lot of them have trouble getting by now even with the food stamps. And if they cut it, what are they going to do for food?”

“That’s going to be a significant hit for families; we already know SNAP doesn’t last the whole month,” Rebecca Brislain, executive director of the Florida Association of Food Banks, told The News Service of Florida

There’s all kinds of interest in the “Obamacare” website and how a small percentage of consumers may end up paying more for better coverage, but there’s apparently far less interest in food-stamp recipients. When it comes to SNAP, there are no “winners and losers” – there are just more struggling people who will find it even harder to put food on the table.
That they’re largely invisible to the Beltway media preoccupied with a dysfunctional website literally adds insult to injury.
As we’ve discussed, the expiration of expanded SNAP benefits last week translates into a benefit cut for each of the nearly 48 million Americans who receive benefits under the program. But since their plight doesn’t drive a larger ideological narrative, they don’t seem to get nearly as much airtime as some folks.