Food Stamp (SNAP) Cuts; Social Programs and the Happiness Index; Budget Negotiations in Congress

Peter Mathews on KTLK AM 1150, the David Cruz Show: Cuts in SNAP, Education, Social Security, Head Start, slow our Pursuit of Happiness.

Prof. Mathews finds that cuts allowed by Congress in the Food Stamp program, which began Nov. 1, have affected 47 million Americans. An average family of four has lost $36 per month, reducing their allotment to $632, resulting in a loss of 21 meals per month; although $1 in food stamp spending generates $1.70 in economic activity.

Mathews says that Congress’ callousness and shortsightedness is causing an increase in existing hunger in America. He pointed out that 1 out of 5 American children go to bed hungry one or more days in the month, although the United States produces enough food to feed everyone in the U.S. and many in the world.

Mathews notes that in the American Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson wrote that the State (Government) must guarantee the Natural Rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, which is our ability to find a measure of fulfillment through education and a decent paying job. The U.S. ranks 17th in the World Happiness Report published by the U.N. and compiled by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs of ColumbiaUniversity. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Switzerland rank in the top 5. Unlike the U.S., all of them have extensive social programs such as free of individual charge education and health care, universal child care, paid parental leave, and several weeks of guaranteed annual paid vacation. There is a correlation between the number of effective, social/empowerment programs that a nation has and the level of happiness among its population.

Mathews noted that U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is on the budget negotiating committee in Congress, has clearly stated that we must not cut American social programs, but must protect them and invest in job creation, education, and rebuilding our infrastructure. Mathews agrees, and says that this will strengthen the economy, rebuild the middle class, and guarantee that more people can pursue their happiness!     [Listen]  (9 min.)