Exactly 36,029,506 Americans (18,230,968 households) were enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), popularly known as food stamps, as of June 2019, according to the latest available government data. Although it may seem as though a rather large number of Americans receive government subsidies for their groceries, the current SNAP figure should be celebrated.
Why? Because in 2016, the last year of the Obama administration, 42,972,692 Americans (21,232,456 households) received SNAP. That’s a drop of roughly seven million people and four million households.
Although there are many reasons for the major drop in enrollment, one cannot dispute that the booming economy is the primary driver of the dramatic decrease. In less than three years, the Trump administration’s free-market policies have helped almost seven million Americans become self-reliant when it comes to paying for their groceries.
How could this be? Well, it does not take an economic genius to understand that lower taxes and fewer regulations result in more jobs in the economy. Employed people can afford their own groceries, and there is now more money in people’s pockets to buy them.
Lower Taxes, Less Regulation
Despite the Left and fake news media constantly decrying the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as a “tax cut for the rich,” the truth is that low- and middle-income Americans benefited big time from the Trump administration’s tax cut.
Even The New York Times, notably not a fan of President Trump, had to admit in an article this April, “If you’re an American taxpayer, you probably got a tax cut last year,” and blamed perceptions to the contrary on “a sustained—and misleading—effort by liberal opponents of the law to brand it as a broad middle-class tax increase.”
Wow, did someone inject truth serum into the water supply at the New York Times offices?
Though it is still too early for us to know the long-term impact of the tax cut on gross domestic product, the Tax Foundation “estimates that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will increase long-run GDP by 1.7 percent, create 339,000 jobs, and raise wages by 1.5%.”
In short, the tax bill reduced the need to redistribute taxes via SNAP because more Americans now keep more of their money in the first place.
No wonder the Left opposes tax cuts. Tax cuts negate the need for their redistributionist policies, a keystone of their misguided agenda of promoting government dependency.
As the tax cuts produced larger paychecks—hence more discretionary income for individual Americans—the Trump administration’s war against pointless regulations was bettering the economic situation for all Americans. According to President Donald Trump’s director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, “Deregulation started everywhere across the board … and I think that started this push and started the small business push and the blue collar hiring. … Then comes the tax rate reduction, which adds to it on the incentive front, so they’re working very much together.”
The combination of tax cuts and regulatory rollback has produced a much-needed American job renaissance. According to the August and September employment snapshots from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “In August, the unemployment rate was 3.7% for the third month in a row.” This is excellent. Improving further, the unemployment rate declined to 3.5 percent in September. “The last time the rate was this low was in December 1969, when it also was 3.5 percent.” The unemployment rates for women (3.2 percent), blacks (5.5 percent), Hispanics (3.9 percent), and Asians (2.5 percent) are near or at record lows.
Even better, “The labor force participation rate edged up to 63.2% in August. … The employment-population ratio, at 60.9%, also edged up over the month and is up by 0.6 percentage point over the year.” The labor force participation rate remained at 63.2 percent in September.
No wonder wages—especially for those at the bottom rung of the economic ladder—are finally increasing after years of stagnation.
The current economic narrative is quite easy to grasp. President Barack Obama’s administration raised taxes and increased regulations for eight years, stifling business investment, expansion, and hiring. People had less income, and there were fewer good-paying jobs. No wonder millions of Americans relied on the government for help in buying their groceries.
Under Trump, the exact opposite has happened. In three short years, the Trump administration has cut taxes and regulations. As a result, people have more money to spend, and businesses finally have incentives to create lots of good-paying jobs.
It should come as no surprise that seven million fewer Americans are counting on Uncle Sam to help foot their grocery bills.
Chris Talgo ([email protected]) is an editor at The Heartland Institute. An earlier version of this article appeared in the Washington Examiner. Reprinted and adapted with permission.
“The Employment Situation—September 2019,” news release, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, October 4, 2019: https://heartland.org/publications-resources/publications/the-employment-situationseptember-2019