Back in February, Mitt Romney asserted that he’s “not concerned with the very poor,” because “we have food stamps, we have Medicaid, we have housing vouchers, we have programs to help the poor.” However, according to an analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Romney’s economic plan would throw 13 million people off of food stamps entirely or force him to cut benefits by nearly $2,000 per family per year:
Cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program) would throw 13 million low-income people off the benefit rolls, cut benefits deeply — by over $1,800 a year for a family of four — or some combination of the two. These cuts would primarily affect poor families with children, seniors, and people with disabilities.
These deep cuts would be necessary because of the huge tax cuts Romney has proposed, alongside a promise to balance the budget. This estimate assumes that Romney would offset at least some of those tax cuts, even though he has yet to lay out a plan to do so. Thus, it’s entirely possible that even more would have to be cut if Romney were to keep his promise to balance the budget without offsetting his tax cuts.
As CBPP put it, “by 2022, if the budget had to be balanced while taxes were cut, the proposals would require cutting entitlement and discretionary programs other than Social Security and core defense by more than half. And if policymakers offset none (rather than half) of Romney’s tax cuts by reducing tax preferences, they would have to cut these programs by more than 70 percent.” Food stamps kept more than five million people out of poverty in 2010 and last year reduced the number of children living in extreme poverty by half.