Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Reuters: US food stamps set ever-higher record-32.8 million

Folks, we are in for a difficult, protracted slog. From The Guardian/Reuters:

A record 38.2 million Americans were enrolled in the food stamp program at latest count, up 246,000 from the previous month and the latest in record-high monthly tallies that began in December 2008.


USDA estimates up to $58 billion will be spent on food stamps this fiscal year, which ends Sept 30, with average enrollment of 40.5 million people. Food stamps were renamed the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program [A rose by any other name...] in 2008.

Participation has surged since the financial-market turmoil of late 2008 and has set records each month since December 2008, when it reached 31.78 million. Enrollment is highest during times of economic distress.

Anyone want to take a stab at finding a silver lining here?


  1. Silver lining would be to only allow for the purchase of healthy foods with the stamps. The healthier foods would be priced in a way that allows for the purchase of larger qtys so as to not dissuade the program. No junk food or unhealhty food allowed. The dividend is a healthier public that will not continue to be a burden on our healthcare system. Raising kids on Cheetos and Gatorade does not ensure a very good furure for this country and any shred of culture it has left. This is very sick society and it all starts with healthy diets. Instill this early on and kids have a fighting chance at living a better life.

  2. Actually I will. Although numerically the numbers have increased due to the effects of the recession the program was expanded dramatically when standards for qualification were dropped in 2008. It was a double wammy that provides such a dramatic rise the number.


    Rules eased for food stamps
    Updated 10/20/2008 5:44 PM

    As the economy weakens, states and the federal government are trying to help more people qualify for food stamps.
    Since Oct. 1, new federal rules make it easier for households with income from combat pay, retirement accounts or education savings to be eligible. The rules are part of the 2008 Farm Bill, which changed the name of the food stamp program to SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

    "This is a nutrition program, not a welfare program," says Jean Daniel, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), noting that half the 29 million Americans who receive aid are children. SNAP serves one of every five of the nation's kids, who are also eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.

    Some states are going further to expand eligibility. Last month, California enacted a bill that will allow low-income people to keep some savings and still qualify for food aid. At least four other states — Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Vermont — similarly eased the asset test this year.

    "People won't have to sink to ground zero to get help," says Paul Fraunholtz, a deputy director in Ohio's Department of Job and Family Services.


  3. Of all the things to worry about in America, having enough food ain't one of them. Its production has become so cheap we literally give it away to poor foreign countries, and we pay farmers to not grow crops. Travel to some third world countries and you'll see real poverty (and hunger).

    The biggest problems for the poor in America are that they're bored and often uninspired. This leads to lots of poor choices about where they spend their energy (drugs, joining gangs for respect, blaming others for their plight, etc.). The ones that focus on getting "un-poor" via legitimate endeavors almost always succeed.

    Just my opinion.

  4. El Bee, nice job on throwing in some other things besides local RE madness.

    Kind of tough to spin up any silver lining when talking about a growing # of people that can't make ends meet. I guess the best that I can say is, thankfully this program is available at this time.

    Oh, and someone put it into perspective the other day...
    Food stamps = 58 billion
    AIG bailout = 180 billion (+/-)

  5. Good comments people.

    Well done.

    Good topic El Bee.

    We should all replace the City Council here in Long Beach!!!!!