Jeff Jacoby (“The welfare state ‘Brezhnev Doctrine,’ ” Opinion, Dec. 11) misrepresents the importance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and ignores the harm that will be caused by the Trump administration’s cuts. For legal services advocates, social workers, and others in Jacoby’s “liberal . . . establishment,” it’s not about never reducing benefits — it’s about protecting people when times get tough.
Jacoby uses dated language about the “welfare state,” but keep in mind, most people use SNAP the way it was intended — as a temporary bridge for food between jobs — and do not access the benefit permanently. Research shows that cutting people off of public benefits doesn’t result in increased employment. Going hungry does not help people get good jobs that pay a living wage.
Yes, the economy is good now, but eventually we’ll face another recession. SNAP works as an important economic stabilizer during recessions. The Trump administration rule change that Jacoby supports means that states with rapidly rising or very high unemployment rates may not qualify for a geographic waiver of the SNAP time limit. This means that even more people will not be able to put food on the table during a downturn, which will make things worse for everyone.
Georgia D. Katsoulomitis
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
National Association of Social Workers