# The U.S. government spends over \$74 billion on its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to provide millions of Americans with the means to purchase food.

January 4, 2018
###### Why are some investments listed at market value on the balance sheet while others are listed at cost?,
January 4, 2018

The U.S. government spends over \$74 billion on its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to provide millions of Americans with the means to purchase food. Beneficiaries use an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card to transfer their government benefits from a federal account to a retailer account. The funds on an EBT card cannot be sold for cash or used to purchase nonfood items. The average SNAP benefit is about \$284 per month. Suppose that, in the absence of SNAP, the average consumer must divide \$600 in monthly income between food and “all other goods” such that the following budget constraint holds: \$600 = \$12A + \$4F, where A is the quantity of “all other goods” and F is the quantity of food purchased. Using the vertical axis for “all other goods,” draw the consumer’s budget line in the absence of SNAP. What is the market rate of substitution between food and “all other goods”? On the same graph, show how SNAP alters the average consumer’s budget line. Would this consumer benefit from illegally exchanging SNAP benefits for cash? Explain