If someone who is in a financially challenged situation and doesn’t have optimal health or sufficient food probably won’t have the full potential energy and ability to engage in the workforce or work on a education to improve their financial situation. I recently took micro and macro economics at my university and was surprised at the positive economic impact these programs have on our country during the recession. These funds not only allow people to attain food and medical services, but keep businesses (grocery stores/medical centers) open with jobs. Those people who get paid that work at the grocery stores/medical centers spend money. This positive cash flow not only maintains the economy, but improves the economy. After doing some reading, I was impressed that last year the food stamp program alone helped keep over four million Americans out of poverty.
It’s hard and tragic to imagine that four million of my fellow Americans could have gone without food last year. According to the USDA, “food insecurity among likely SNAP-eligible households declined by 2.2 percent, and very low food security declined by 2 percent; food spending rose by 4.8 percent.” These programs are not free food/medical support for anyone. There is a criteria and process to be able to use these benefits. I believe the most important population group that truly benefits from these programs are the children.
Children are young and still developing. They are mentally and physically still growing and need more than anyone proper nutrition and medical care. Once a child has developed without these essential needs, there is no turning back the clock, there is no recovery, and there is no re-developing. These children are very vulnerable to the effects of poverty. Being exposed to malnutrition, hunger, and improper medical care, places them in a position of a greater likelihood of lifelong disease and chronic illnesses. During infancy and early childhood, the brain is developing and metabolic health establishes it’s biological foundations that will carry them for the rest of their lives.
Proper amounts of food, nutrition, and medical care has been proven over and over a notable increase in their adulthood health and intellect. Today these programs are already proven to be effective and have a positive impact on our country. My only critique on the food stamp program is that I wish there were a more stringent criterion of foods that are able to be purchased. For an example, someone who has a food stamp/EBT card can purchase $189 of potato chips or candy. This is counterproductive to the spirit of the program. Altogether these programs are not just nice to have, they are an American community essential to build the economy, build a healthier population, and a stronger nation.