The Hunger Cliff

| 11/1/2013 1:36:00 PM


Deep cuts in the safety net have enabled a man-made disaster of food insecurity. 

Four years after the recession official ended, hunger in America is reaching a new level of crisis. With millions of Americans stuck in poverty and Congress shredding every bit of the safety net they can find, the hunger cliff threatens bring food insecurity to its highest level in generations.

The hunger cliff has a few parts to it. To begin with, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or food stamps, is set to lose $5 billion from its annual budget beginning today. The cut comes as the last of Obama’s 2009 stimulus expires and SNAP begins to return to pre-recession capacity. The problem is hunger in America is nowhere near what it was before the crisis. Food stamp recipients have been increasing every year since 2007, and have nearly doubled since the recession began.

And $5 billion is a big deal for a program that’s been struggling with skyrocketing need. Today’s cutback is equal to the amount of food private charities and food banks distribute nationwide over the course of a year, says Joel Berg, executive director of the New York Coalition Against Hunger. In an interview with Chris Hayes, Berg says it’s as if all private charity didn’t exist for an entire year.

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