This many households living in hunger has raised significant questions about whether the growth of SNAP has been justified and whether it successfully addresses hunger in America. The evidence suggests that much of the increase was due not to the economy but to deliberate policy choices by both federal and state governments, which loosened eligibility standards and actively sought new participants. At the same time, evidence that the expansion of SNAP has significantly reduced hunger or improved nutrition among low‐income Americans is scant at best.
SNAP is a deeply troubled program. It has high administrative costs and significant levels of fraud and abuse. The program’s work requirements are weak and frequently evaded at the state level. The program increasingly breeds greater dependence on government. It has little “bang for the buck.”
The time has come to reform the food stamp program by reducing its spending and enrollment and, ultimately, by returning responsibility for its operation to the states.