When Governor Bobby Jindal wasn’t trying to announce his failed bid for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination via reality TV stunt, he was being the hard-lined Republican leader of Louisiana. He would tout how he had been able to make“numbers” go down. Cutting government jobs, cutting down budget spending—mostly cutting funding from programs that helped people in Louisiana, while not cutting funding to corporations leeching off of the people of Louisiana. Even though Jindal and his terrible leadership will be gone in 2016, there will be 31,000 citizens in Louisiana whose federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funds will be suspended this coming new year. It’s the perfect sendoff for the Republican governor once called “awful” and “horrendous” and “dumb” and “delusional” and “a liar”:
Since the beginning of the Great Recession, nearly every state in the country sought and was granted a federal waiver at some point. But recently, a number of states with Republican governors have allowed their waivers to expire, citing improved economic circumstances and a desire to get their food stamp recipients back to work. Jindal, a Republican, allowed Louisiana’s waiver to lapse on Oct. 1.
“We continue to seek opportunities for SNAP recipients to increase their self-sufficiency. Engaging in work activities is a key step in that transition,” said Suzy Sonnier, the head of Louisiana’s Department of Children and Family Services, in a Sept. 30 statement.
The fact that about 21 percent of Louisianans needed food stamps to get by in his state should have been a sign to Bobby that working to get people living-wage jobs should be priority number one. Instead, like most big thinkers in the Republican Party, he decided that the $200 a month that some people received for food was so luxurious it was making them lazy—you know what I mean.
It also found that states that reimpose the work requirement tend to see a sudden sharp drop in SNAP participants, suggesting that thousands of unemployed recipients are unable to find work and maintain their eligibility.
“The idea that anybody is choosing not to work because of $190 dollars a month in food stamps — that’s really kind of a stereotype,” said Steve Spires, a senior policy analyst for the Louisiana Budget Project. “The reality is a lot of people want to work. There simply aren’t jobs. And with the price of oil going down and more job losses, it’s getting worse.”
Jindal was likely hoping, amongst other things, to be able to say on the campaign trail that he had brought down the number of people on food stamps—forget about what happens to those people. I like to believe that reality is why Jindal’s policies didn’t work and he lost his incumbent election.
“A job for your family and a paycheck in your mailbox are the ultimate proof your state is doing things right,” said the two term governor.
Under Jindal’s governorship, Louisiana sits on a $1.6 billion deficit, despite him inheriting a $1.1 billion surplus from his predecessor Gov. Kathleen Blanco. Jindal suggested deep cuts in this 2016 budget proposal and also left the door open on tax increases, which may damage him in the Republican primaries. But according to a Mississippi-based Triumph Campaigns poll released last March, Jindal’s approval ratings in his state are at a dismal 27%, far lower than Pres. Obama’s–whom he had no problem criticizing.
The unemployment rate in Louisiana had also risen about one percent above the national rate—making it hard for people to just get a job. Newly elected Governor John Bel Edwards has asked the federal government not to suspend the SNAP assistance, but he does not take office until January 11, 2016.
It remains unclear how Edwards' directive will be implemented, considering he is not yet governor. Edwards' transition team said in a statement that the governor-elect sent letters telling the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers SNAP, and the state department he will request the waiver that Jindal's administration decided not to obtain.