The Pentagon is recommending U.S. soldiers struggling with soaring food prices apply for welfare, in a move that underscores both low military pay and the economic headwinds facing the nation as a whole.
The recommendation came last month from Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston, and directs Army soldiers and their families to apply for food stamps through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program known by the acronym SNAP.
“With inflation affecting everything from gas prices to groceries to rent, some Soldiers and their families are finding it harder to get by on the budgets they’ve set and used before,” the written guidance from Grinston reads. “SNAP is a U.S. government program that provides benefits to eligible low-income individuals and families via an electronic benefits transfer card that can be used like a debit card to purchase eligible food in authorized retail food stores. Service members and their families may be eligible.”
"The guidance points soldiers to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and links them to the federal welfare program’s website."
–Billions and billions for Biden's suicidal Green New Deal and Ukraine, no money fo feed our soldiers and families!https://t.co/nEX2AckBWY
— Laughing Libertarian (@William16723077) September 10, 2022
The official guidance includes other lending and financial counseling programs available to soldiers and lists contact information to help them enroll in SNAP.
Although the Biden administration and much of the media insists the U.S. is not in a recession, the nation has experienced negative GDP growth in each of the last two quarters, meeting the traditional definition for a recession. In addition, inflation is running at nearly double-digit percentages and food prices in particular have risen at the fastest rate in decades.
Mackenzie Eaglen, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who studies defense budgets and military readiness, said nearly a quarter of enlisted men and women can’t afford to put food on the table.
“What they need is more money,” Eaglen wrote in a Wall Street Journal column this week. “The Defense Department’s flat-footed response to inflation will result in a real—and cumulative—pay cut for service members.”
Eaglen said the Pentagon received more federal funding from Congress than it had requested, but ignored inflation concerns and short-changed the men and women who serve.
Now, she wrote, “Congress will have to appropriate even more to save America’s troops from the Defense Department’s negligence. It’s the only way to get troops and their families the financial lifeline they need.”
Base pay for the lowest-ranking Army private is $21,999.60, according to GoArmy.com. Salaries for enlisted men and women the lower ranks rise gradually through promotions, but not always by years of service alone.