Wednesday, 10 August 2011

46 Million People are on Food Stamps in the United States


The number of people on food stamps in the United States exploded in May 2011.

There were 312,240,000 people in the United States, mid May. 45,753,078 of them were on food stamps. That’s 14.7% of all Americans on food stamps. The average monthly amount? $133.80.

This is the new economic metric, how many people are so poor, so broke, they qualify and use food stamps. The data is hard to find, not explained and located on the USDA site.

That’s 2.5% increase from just last month and a 12.1% increase from May of last year!

Even more telling the amount of people on food stamps has increased 69.4% since October 2007. Since the so-called end of the Great Recession, people on food stamps has increased 28.5%.

Alabama food stamp usage increased 102.9% in one month or by 893,668 people. That’s right, after tornadoes swept through the region and the press leaves the area, devastation rolls on.

Without Alabama the food stamp monthly increase would have been 0.5% from last month.

Regardless of the emergency assistance for Alabama pushing up the numbers, the statistics are still bleak and damning across the board. Below is the yearly percentage increase in food stamps for each State. 22 States had > 10% increases in food stamps usage and only North Dakota showed a decline of -0.1%. Every other State’s food stamp participation increased from a year ago.

Last May, Congress, yes our lovely non-responsive Congress was literally considering cutting food stamps:

Nutrition assistance now accounts for more than half — or about 67 percent — of the USDA’s budget, compared with 26 percent in 1980. That shift in focus, critics say, is ineffective because it hasn’t put a dent in poverty or hunger in the United States while taking away money from other programs, specifically agricultural programs that should be the main focus of the agency.

Even “at a time of prosperity, we have increased the amount of money we are spending for people to buy food,” said Harold Brown, an agriculture scientist and adjunct scholar at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. “The appropriation of money by Congress has never solved poverty or the resulting problems of poverty. When President Johnson declared war on poverty a half century ago nearly, we thought we saw the end of it as far as food and nutrition goes. For the Department of Agriculture, we only saw the beginning.”

The Republicans’ 2012 budget plan proposes changing SNAP from an entitlement to a block-grant program that would be tailored for each individual state, much like their proposal for Medicaid. States would no longer receive open-ended subsidies and the aid would be contingent on work or job training. It would also limit funding for the program.

Oh, food stamps never solved poverty, therefore people should starve. Love the logic!


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