Fiscal Action Should Protect Poor
By Gene Lucht on October 24, 2012
© Iowa Farmer Today
DES MOINES — David Beckmann is an optimist, but he is concerned about the farm-bill debate.
Beckmann, a preacher and an economist, heads Bread for the World, an organization that works with faith groups as an advocate on hunger issues.
The United States needs to get its fiscal house in order, but it shouldn’t do it on the backs of the poor and hungry, he said during the recent World Food Prize summit.
In 2011, Beckmann said tea party Republicans took over their party’s caucus in the House and passed two budgets that targeted two-thirds of their cuts at programs affecting the poor.
“I just think that is wrong,” he said.
Fast forward to 2012, when House and Senate agriculture committee members passed two different, but similar, versions of a farm bill.
The Senate proposal includes a $4.5 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The House proposal cuts about $16.5 billion over five years.
Beckmann said the Senate bill includes language reforming some food programs and its cuts in SNAP are achievable.
But, he noted the House’s larger cuts are unacceptable to the many groups that work to aid the hungry.
Beckmann said many farmers understand programs, which help feed the hungry, also help farmers in the long run.