NORMAN — Nearly 48 million Americans, or 15 percent of the country, receives an average food stamp benefit of $133 per month. The 6 percent, or $5 billion, cut to the nation’s food stamp program will harm more than those individual recipients.
It’ll put a dent in the sales from companies that cater to lower-income consumers, analysts told The Associated Press. Stores like Wal-Mart, dollar stores or discounted bulk goods stores will see a sales decline for groceries and, ultimately, other goods.
The increased benefit began in 2009 as part of the federal government’s stimulus package. The added cash, about $36 per month for a family of four, was supposed to help individuals and the business community better weather the recession.
With less to spend on food, individuals will likely be forced to cut back on other spending, typically anything holiday related in the fourth quarter. Analysts had already projected a lackluster fourth quarter, some fearing the worst since 2008.
Add in the impact of the federal government’s shutdown, and the fourth quarter isn’t shaping up to set any records. The bright spots continue to be a rebound in the housing market and cheaper gasoline prices.