The Ryan Plan for Addressing Hunger: Let Them Eat Cake

Chuck Sheketoff

As if living in the secluded halls of Versailles, U.S. House Republicans — with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan in the lead — have voted for a budget plan that would cut deeply into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.

Such is the state of affairs in our nation that, today, slightly more than one in eight U.S. and Oregon households don’t know where their next meal will come from. In addition to these food insecure households, more than 1 in 20 actually go hungry.

Matters would surely be worse but for SNAP, the main public structure that protects people from going hungry in times of economic crisis. At present, SNAP helps about one in five Oregonians.

Oregon’s experience following the recession underscores the importance of SNAP. From the start of the recession in December 2007 through February 2011, the number of Oregon households benefiting from this public food assistance program increased by 74 percent.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) reports that the Ryan plan would cut SNAP by $127 billion over the next 10 years — a cut of nearly 20 percent. For Oregon, that would translate into a loss of about $1.88 billion over the ten-year period.

The Ryan plan does not provide much detail on how it would achieve the savings. It does call for transforming SNAP into a block grant — a set amount of money for states, irrespective of need. That would hinder the program’s ability to help families keep food on the table during economic crises.

But there’s only two ways to reduce costs: throw people off the program, cut food assistance for those in the program, or both.

In other words, when it comes to addressing hunger in America, the Ryan plan seems to be:“let them eat cake.”

Oregon Center for Public PolicyChuck Sheketoff is the executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. You can sign up to receive email notification of OCPP materials at

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    We can thank Paul Ryan for unmasking the GOP for what it truly is, and for defining the next election. The GOP despises humanity and worships wealth. They are on record now in an historic vote taken on Apr. 15 to end Medicare, to end Medicaid, to phase out any form of nutritional aid to low income Americans, all for the sake of funding more tax breaks for wealthy Americans. Paul Ryan worships Ayn Rand, the atheist who hated religion and any form of civilization that included altruism. (Ayn Rand relied on Soc. Sec. and Medicare payments before she died. )

    Rock on, GOP! Abolishing Medicare and taking food from hungry children are not winning issues.

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    Paul Ryan doesn't care about food issues, because he himself does not eat -- he appears to be some sort of robotic right-wing Ken doll, who is fully programmable and posable by his masters. I won't speak to his anotomical correctness, that would be unseemly. But a Ken doll is a Ken doll, after all...

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    Anyone who idolizes Ayn Rand, as does Ryan, is stuck in the permanent adolescence of Narcissistic personality disorder. He is incapable of caring about others, particularly poor, old, or ill others.

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