As we watch the world around Trump crumble with each passing resignation or indictment, it’s easy to forget that he still has his presidential powers. Today, he announced plans to utilize them to undercut the well being of millions of at-risk Americans.
According to a new report by the Associated Press, the Trump administration is considering a plan that would allow states to require certain food stamp recipients to undergo drug testing. This ideology has long been a staple of Republican policy-making, the nefarious details of which they bury under the friendlier nomenclature “entitlement reform.”
Because remember, the ability to eat when struggling to make ends meet is an entitlement to the so-call “fiscal conservatives” of this country.
Thankfully, this bill is not as broad as similar bills which have popped up in various state legislatures over the years. It would largely apply to able-bodied people without dependents applying for specialized jobs, according to a statement to the AP from an official briefed on the plan.
The anonymous official, who remained so to discuss internal deliberations, said that roughly 5% of participants of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) could be affected.
The proposal is another attack by the Trump administration on the largest part of his base – the poorest members of society who embraced the president’s atypical rhetoric with the hopes that an outsider could bring about meaningful change in Washington. As has been the case with so many of Trump’s (mostly failed) policy proposals, his base will once again find themselves disappointed– and hungry.
Republican governors across the country have long advocated for “entitlement reform,” and it seems that the true goal of the measure would be to grant states more control over federal programs that serve the poor, unemployed or uninsured. Of course, if Republicans had their way, most of the country would fall into all three of those categories.
Current federal law prohibits states from imposing their own conditions on SNAP eligibility, but that isn’t to say that no Republican has tried.
Take, for instance, Republican governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker. In 2015, Walker sued the USDA after the organization blocked the state from drug testing hungry adults applying for food stamps. Thankfully, a federal judge tossed that particular suit, but Trump aims to change that ruling with this new policy.
Senior policy analyst at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities Ed Bolen expressed concern that drug testing for food benefits would adversely affect already vulnerable Americans. Moreover, implementation of drug testing for SNAP is not exactly on the legal up-and-up and creates more questions than it answers:
“Are people losing their food assistance if they don’t take the test, and in that case, is that a condition of eligibility, which the states aren’t allowed to impose?And does drug testing fall into what’s allowable under a state training and employment program, which typically lists things like job search or education or on-the-job experience? This is kind of a different bucket.”
The largest issue Trump faces in enacting this legislation is the demonstrably inflated costs that such a move requires. Often times, the supposed savings expected are negated, if not exceeded, by the cost to administer and process the tests.
Kevin Concannon, the former USDA undersecretary, added that the Trump administration “is keen on weakening the programs developed to strengthen the health or fairness or access to programs and imposing populist requirements that aren’t evidence based, but often stigmatize people.”
In short, Trump, who along with his entire cabinet has spent countless taxpayer dollars on first-class flights, office furniture, and endless trips to Mar-a-Lago in spite of their own billions, thinks that the poorest Americans are the “entitled” group not worthy of government assistance.
This is why it is imperative to go out and vote this November; this sadistic greed cannot be allowed to continue.