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Opinion
Peter R. Orszag

Verdict Is In: Food Stamps Put Poor Kids on Path to Success

Long-term evidence starting in the 1960s now shows that government support in childhood reduces the need for welfare in adulthood.

Lifetime effects are key to the cost-benefit analysis of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Lifetime effects are key to the cost-benefit analysis of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Congress is expected to vote this week on a new farm bill, which includes changes to the food stamp program. Lawmakers should take the time to read up on recent research about the program’s effects. Innovative research has demonstrated convincingly that young children whose families receive food stamps benefit later in life.

Food stamps, technically known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program. Last year, more than 40 million low-income working families, people with disabilities and poor seniors received assistance, averaging about $125 a month. Roughly 70 percent of the participants live in families with children.