…is a terrible idea that would do to SNAP’s invaluable countercyclical function what welfare reform did to TANF’s. That’s the point of this piece over at WaPo this AM.
Because I wrote this on Sunday and didn’t want to spend the whole day futzing with data, I used annual data for the figure. But the monthly data shown below (which are easy to get for SNAP; harder for TANF) more clearly show the recent reversal in SNAP caseloads, which lag the recovery for all the reasons I mentioned in my post.
The figure shows SNAP caseloads as a share of the population. Spikes are due to events, like Katrina, that lead to a sudden, sharp bump in SNAP receipt.
I only have a few cycles in there, but the current pattern is similar–adjusting for depth of the downturn–to the early 1990s recession/recovery. Read Dottie R’s link in my WaPo piece re another important factor in play in this recession: the increase in participation rates among “eligibles,” something I judge to be a positive development.