Brookings experts react to Trump’s third State of the Union

Brookings experts react to Trump’s third State of the Union
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Amid a contentious impeachment trial and as he seeks reelection in 2020, Trump gave his third State of the Union address to Congress and the nation on Tuesday night. The president’s speech touched on topics from jobs and the economy to immigration reform and national security. Experts from across Brookings share their reactions to what was said, and what was missed. SNAP may not be as effective during the next recession The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) is designed to expand during economic downturns, contract during expansions, and serve a wide range of income-eligible households—it’s a safety net and an automatic stabilizer. SNAP provides resources to purchase food for eligible households and reduces food insecurity, stimulates the economy and shores up households’ financial well-being, and improves health and later-life outcomes among program participants. Average monthly participation in SNAP started ticking up during the George W. Bush administration, peaked in 2013, and has been on a downward trajectory ever since. Roll expansions are closely tied to local economic conditions; for example, research by Peter Ganong and Jeff Liebman find that increases in the unemployment rate during the Great Recession—i.e., more widespread eligibility for safety net programs—explain most of the increase in caseloads. It is therefore troubling that the only reference to SNAP during the State of the Union bemoaned critical Great Recession-related roll expansions. It was troubling but perhaps not surprising, given that the USDA has recently finalized SNAP work requirement rules that […]

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