Home Business How does the American food aid program, which the FNSEA wants to...

How does the American food aid program, which the FNSEA wants to draw inspiration from, work?


At FNSEA, the American dream lives on. The president of the farmers’ union, Christiane Lambert, called on Tuesday June 7 for the creation of food vouchers on the model of food stamps in place in the United States.

This measure should allow the most precarious households to buy French products, thus avoiding downward pressure on prices, to the detriment of farmers. On the other side of the Atlantic, the American program provides nearly 41.5 million people with food. However, some accuse him of allowing companies to pay their employees poorly.

The term of food stamp refers to the Food Stamp Program of 1939. At the time, the US government distributed food stamps (or food stamps) to its most precarious citizens, while the country is just coming out of the “great depression”. In 1943, during the war, the program stopped, before being relaunched in 1961 by John Fitzgerald Kennedy. In 2008, it changed its name to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, shortened to Snap.

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Just €1.31 per person per meal

Designed to help families and individuals with little or no income to feed themselves, the program is subject to several eligibility criteria, with an income ceiling varying according to the size of the household. For a family of three, the gross income must not exceed the equivalent of €2,200 per month. On average, American households received around €220 per month from Snap in 2019 and 2020, or just over €110 per person per month or €1.30 per meal.

The aids provided by the Snap can be used for most basic foods sold in supermarkets such as fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, dairy products and bread. Spices, condiments, cakes and beverages are also affected. On the other hand, prepared meals such as pre-cooked pizzas or roast chickens are not included in the program, as are alcohol, pet food, cosmetics or tobacco.

A poverty wage subsidy?

For the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Snap enables millions of precarious Americans to meet their basic food needs. In particular, this program helps 14.5 million salaried people. This dimension of Snap is the subject of criticism from the American left, and in particular from Bernie Sanders. For them, a person in employment should be paid well enough to be able to provide for his own food needs.

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A study commissioned by Bernie Sanders and carried out by the US Government Accountability Office reveals that the supermarket chain Walmart is the first employer of employees benefiting from Snap in the eleven states surveyed. In Georgia and Oklahoma, 2% of people with these food stamps work at Walmart. The proportion rises to 3% in Arkansas, headquarters of the American trade giant.

For Bernie Sanders, this illustrates the excesses of a system that allows some of the largest companies in the country to rely on the “government aid to be able to pay their employees a starvation wage”.

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