Cuts in Benefits Affecting Eppicard and Food Stamps

With the United State economy posting record levels of employment no seen since the great recession began in 2008, politicians in Washington and Capitol Hill have been looking at the federal government’s spending and trying to roll back most of the increased spending that was approved to deal with the unprecedented recession that the country experienced. Naturally, the programs that got the most increase are the ones that are targeted the most. The two programs that were drastically increased were Food Stamps (SNAP Benefits) and Unemployment Benefits. Not only were these two programs increased in terms of spending but the rules were also relaxed to deal with how long it was taking people to return to the workforce or find a job and how much government they needed to survive until they got back to their feet. For example, the amount of time people could stay on unemployment got extended several times by congress because of how many people were without work and were struggling finding a job. Now that unemployment is close to 5% at the national level, with some states experiencing unemployment rates under 5%, congress is looking at rolling back some of those benefit extensions to save money and trip the federal budget.

"cuts in eppicard and SNAP"

Food stamps have also been impacted by this. In most states, legislatures are eager to show they are trimming spending, especially in this election year and one program that gets the most heat from politicians is food stamps. That’s because there is this perception out there that people on food stamps are trying to live off the government for free and therefore there should be cuts to get people to work. That’s even in the face of overwhelming evidence that these cuts negatively impact the most vulnerable people in society, including households with children. That has not stopped politicians from trying to use the program as some sort of scapegoat. One of the issues at stake is how the food stamp receiving population swelled tremendously during the great recession. That’s because work rules were relaxed so people who were able bodied were allowed to receive benefits due to the unprecedented nature of the recession. Now that there is work to be had, politicians are trying to kick able bodied people from receiving food stamps or cutting how long they could receive the benefits for. The question is whether people will go hungry that really need the help. For example there is a whole group of people whose jobs have left the country and there is no way of getting those jobs back. These people just don’t have the skills for today’s workforce. What will happen to them? They need job training and support while they acquire new skills for new careers. Kicking them off food stamps will literally cause the bottom to fall underneath them.

Video of Long Term Unemployment Problem

The financial crisis happened in 2008, but six years later, we are still seeing the impact of this devastating economic recession. One area that has been severely highlighted is the issue of long term unemployment. Even though the federal government continue to post declining unemployment numbers, there is another side of the story that is not being told. And that is people who have spent so much time looking for a job (in some cases a year or two) that they’ve given up on the job search. They then drop off the government tracking list since the unemployment data only surveys people who are able and willing to work. Therefore, if you are just looking at the numbers that are officially announced by the government, then you are missing a very big part of the picture. So, how should we look at these people who clearly want to work but are exhausted by the job search process that they’ve given up?

Is it entirely their fault that they now feel discouraged to go back there and search again? Let’s look at it from their perspective. You have been working at a company for a long time, and say you are in your mid 50s, about 10 years away from retirement. Then you are laid off during the financial crisis. Now you have to go out there and compete with all these young people who perhaps have more computer and technology skills like you have. Also, they are probably more attractive to the employer because they can pay them less than the salary you think you deserve for the same job, based on your experience. But there are so many people out there in a similar situation that the companies are willing to drag out the process and find the best talent for very little money. That’s the situation many of these people who are close to retirement face. In a job market that pits them against young talent willing to work more for less, they don’t stand a chance. Some of them have also run out of the unemployment benefits money and no longer qualify for additional benefits from the government.

While we may pretend that the system will sort this issue out, we are leaving millions of Americans who through no fault of theirs find themselves with no money and no prospects for employment any time soon, mostly because of their age. Most have exhausted all the balance on their eppicard debit card and don’t qualify for any more money. The federal government, together with local government should step in and help these people either re-train for other industries or find jobs in their areas of expertise. It is a very tragic situation to have worked all your life, played by the rules, and then be left out by yourself when you are so close to the finish line of retirement. We as a society can do better and we should. No one should be left behind, especially when the economy is recovering and dreams are being reborn again.

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