Food stamp use reaches record 45.8 million

posted at 6:20 pm on November 2, 2011 by Tina Korbe

A new report posted today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows a record 45.8 million Americans received assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in August — 1.1. percent more than in July and 8.1 percent more than in August 2010.

That new record is not surprising: The number of Americans receiving food stamps has reached new highs every month except one since December 2008, according to Bloomberg. Spending on the program also reached a record $6.13 billion.

On the one hand, part of the increase has to be attributed to the high unemployment rate of 9.1 percent. On the other hand, joblessness can’t be the entire explanation.

Anyone who has seen “the EBT rap” knows food stamps aren’t exactly what they used to be.

“Sandwiches, chips, Snickers, Twix … I’m eating good … Potato chips … A big box of Oreos … Cereal, Kix … My EBT, My EBT … Walking down the Ave, there’s food I got a hunger for … I just want some Jam … Walking down the aisle, cuz I just want some ham … Wham!” Mr EBT raps. “It’s the EBT, it’s not Food Stamps … Breakfast time the cheese is melted … if I don’t have my card I use someone else’s …”

“Mr. EBT” says he intended his rap to be a parody of welfare abuses. Still, that doesn’t change that it captures this truth: As the program is currently constructed, no real incentive exists to move beyond government assistance to a life of work and personal responsibility.

In consequence, more people enroll, but equivalent numbers don’t “graduate” from the program. So, not surprisingly, government spending on SNAP has doubled just since 2008:

Food Stamps, Government Spending

That’d be fine if the government could afford it. Unfortunately, just as individual Americans most need government assistance, the government is least able to provide it. The deficit and debt are already at unsustainable levels and act as a major drag on the economy and job growth. Yet, in the coming years, the government is set to spend more than ever on welfare anyway. SNAP is just one of more than 70 welfare programs and those programs are projected to cost taxpayers $10.3 trillion over the next decade. It’s all a vicious cycle.

So, what does that mean? Should the government just turn off the spigot, even as Americans pay the price for the government’s power-trip spending of the past? If the government helped to create the sluggish economy, shouldn’t it support citizens through it, as it works to reignite the country’s economic engine?

Yes — but it should do so responsibly. Both the architects of government programs and the recipients of government assistance should be held accountable for the way in which they use other people’s money. The Heritage Foundation’s Katherine Bradley and Robert Rector have a few ideas as to how the government can continue to help those in need, while also reforming the welfare system. Among them: As soon as the recession ends, restore welfare spending to pre-recession levels; limit future growth to the rate of inflation; and apply work requirements to other federal welfare programs.

Moral of the story: The government does taxpayers and assistance recipients a disservice when it fails to incentivize work and perpetuates dependency. Even in the midst of a slow economic recovery, the government should look for ways to slow the growth of the welfare state.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments


And here is why.

Key West Reader on November 2, 2011 at 6:23 PM

No jobs to get, no other way to feed your children.

mythicknight on November 2, 2011 at 6:23 PM

OOPS! Read before posting.

Key West Reader on November 2, 2011 at 6:24 PM

You can get directions for applying for food stamps in 14 languages.

You can get tax forms in English and Spanish.

See a problem?

Wander on November 2, 2011 at 6:26 PM

Yeah but a third of them are well-off OWS’ers pretending to need food stamps so they can gain street cred.

Bishop on November 2, 2011 at 6:26 PM

All part of the Democrats’ economic program.

malclave on November 2, 2011 at 6:27 PM

What’s sickening to me is the number grew like crazy in the 2000s too when the economy was booming. In 2004 and 2005 companies were begging for workers. And still 15% increase in food stamps?

This is not a program for poverty. This is a Democrat giveaway to the lazy.

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:27 PM

The answer is obviously to cut food stamps, maybe eliminate the program entirely. Churches can handle that, you know.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:28 PM

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:28 PM

How do you explain a 15% growth in food stamps in 2004, 2005, 2006 when unemployment was 4%?

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:29 PM

Here is the income limit for getting food stamps:

http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/applicant_recipients/eligibility.htm#income

$4000 income a month and you qualify. $50K a year = you get welfare under Obama. Tell me again the point of working again….

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:31 PM

We need a political party that will just end food stamps for good. Just have places where the really poor can go to pick up a bag of food once a week. It’s bad enough that they are driving the price of food up for the non-parasites who actually pay for it, but the main goal is to make people feel that marxism benefits them. You can’t have just a little Marxism. The program needs to be gutted, and Marxist medicine, too. Without delay.

Buddahpundit on November 2, 2011 at 6:31 PM

“SNAP” needs to be set up like WIC: specific, nutritious, reasonably priced food choices only. No steak, no junk food, no sodas, etc.

ladyingray on November 2, 2011 at 6:32 PM

The answer is to get government the hell out of the way of private enterprise, allow America to harvest its unbelievably plentiful natural resources, demolish the terrifyingly bad ObamaCare, and tell Congress that such things as diapers are not what the federal government should be providing to citizens.

Bishop on November 2, 2011 at 6:32 PM

The answer is obviously to cut food stamps, maybe eliminate the program entirely. Churches can handle that, you know.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:28 PM

So how do we avoid becoming a colossal version of Greece?

Chip on November 2, 2011 at 6:33 PM

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:29 PM

The steady increase often has to do with the fact that everyone eligible for food stamps doesn’t necessarily enroll. Certain city or state wide campaigns aimed at getting the word out to these people can often raise the numbers a bit. That said, no, I can’t account for 15% growth during those years.

As I said before, the answer is obviously to eliminate the program. Churches can handle that sort of thing.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:33 PM

“From Diapers to Depends” — Obama 2012 re-election slogan

Schadenfreude on November 2, 2011 at 6:34 PM

“SNAP” needs to be set up like WIC: specific, nutritious, reasonably priced food choices only. No steak, no junk food, no sodas, etc.

ladyingray on November 2, 2011 at 6:32 PM

And no McDonald’s, Taco Bell and convenience store foods.

Key West Reader on November 2, 2011 at 6:34 PM

The ever-so-heartless fascist in me strongly advocates that food stamps should only be valid for purchasing non-name brand items, and what products that can be bought severely limited. Store-brand peanut butter and lima beans, yes. Snickers, Coke or Pepsi, and Wolfgang Puck organic soups, no. If I’m paying for you to eat, then your options should be limited. I pay to eat a diet of Cherry Coke, red meat, and sugar-frosted processed sugar with dollars I earn myself. If you want to eat like a schlub, you should be paying for schlub foods out of your own pocket.

Still, a system like this doesnt totally abolish food stamps for the truly needy. Edible, nutritious foods are still available, but name-brand junk foods should not be subsidized by the taxpayer. If you want your triple-double mocha almond caramel mudslide fudge ice cream, you can buy that with your own dollars. Y’know, the same dollars the “poor” manage to find for alcohol and cigarettes.

Jeddite on November 2, 2011 at 6:34 PM

And no McDonald’s, Taco Bell and convenience store foods.

Key West Reader on November 2, 2011 at 6:34 PM

Isn’t that covered under “no junk food”? ;-p I totally agree.

ladyingray on November 2, 2011 at 6:35 PM

So how do we avoid becoming a colossal version of Greece?

Chip on November 2, 2011 at 6:33 PM

By spending less on pensioners and wars, obviously.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:36 PM

Jeddite on November 2, 2011 at 6:34 PM

You know, I’m sure most liberals agree with you here. I certainly do.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:37 PM

Ernie the growth is due to income limits increasing. When median income is $50k, and eligibility for food stamps is $69K, that is the issue,

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:37 PM

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:31 PM

Wow, thanks for the info. I didn’t know that. Incredible.

bazil9 on November 2, 2011 at 6:38 PM

By spending less on pensioners and wars, obviously.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:36 PM

Like Libya and Sudan wars? Or are Obama wars exempt?

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:39 PM

Yeah but a third of them are well-off OWS’ers pretending to need food stamps so they can gain street cred.

Bishop on November 2, 2011 at 6:26 PM

Back in the 1980s, I had friends who thought it was hilarious that they were using food stamps to snort cocaine.

rbj on November 2, 2011 at 6:39 PM

Like Libya and Sudan wars? Or are Obama wars exempt?

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:39 PM

Like those. You forget, I opposed these misadventures from the beginning.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:39 PM

$4000 income a month and you qualify. $50K a year = you get welfare under Obama. Tell me again the point of working again….

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:31 PM

That’s only if you have 8 kids…

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:40 PM

No jobs to get, no other way to feed your children.

mythicknight on November 2, 2011 at 6:23 PM

Having kids is a lifestyle choice.

Del Dolemonte on November 2, 2011 at 6:41 PM

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:736PM

Pensioners? You mean “pensioners” like your mother? Are you saying she doesn’t need “obakacare” after all?

ladyingray on November 2, 2011 at 6:41 PM

Cloward-Piven

Gregor on November 2, 2011 at 6:41 PM

So how do we avoid becoming a colossal version of Greece?

Chip on November 2, 2011 at 6:33 PM

By spending less on pensioners and wars, obviously.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:36 PM

What about setting up brand new entitlements like Unconstitutional Obamacare?

Where do you Leftists think this money is going to come from?

Chip on November 2, 2011 at 6:42 PM

ladyingray on November 2, 2011 at 6:41 PM

Actually, she doesn’t – she got a job with coverage. Glad to see you’re still using my dead father to score political points on a blog, though.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:42 PM

So how do we avoid becoming a colossal version of Greece?

Chip on November 2, 2011 at 6:33 PM

By spending less on pensioners and wars, obviously.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:36 PM

Democrats created SS, and Democrats also voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

Del Dolemonte on November 2, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Jeddite on November 2, 2011 at 6:34 PM

I already said that, with much fewer words…

ladyingray on November 2, 2011 at 6:42 PM

That’s only if you have 8 kids…

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Rading comprehension fail as usual Ernie.

It’s household size, not kids.

8 people in household:

mom
dad
kid 1
kid 2
cousin Ricky
grandma
uncle joey
uncle bobby

Now Joey and Bobby and Grandma and Cousin Ricky all work under the table or most likely don’t even exist.

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:44 PM

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:44 PM

The implication that someone making 50k is automatically eligible is still wrong, though. You need 7 other people living in your home to get food stamps while retaining a 50k a year salary. I certainly don’t qualify, as a single man making 52k.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Actually, she doesn’t – she got a job with coverage. Glad to see you’re still using my dead father to score political points on a blog, though.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Your dead father is a perfect example of everything wrong with this country. He grew up on welfare. Had kids that were on welfare. Then before dying did no financial planning which made your mother go on welfare.

Multiply him by 10s of millions and you get a 15T debt.

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:46 PM

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:46 PM

We were never on welfare…my mother never went on welfare after he died…where on earth do you get this sh*t?????

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:47 PM

So how do we avoid becoming a colossal version of Greece?

Chip on November 2, 2011 at 6:33 PM

By spending less on pensioners and wars, obviously.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:36 PM

Democrats created SS, and Democrats also voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

Del Dolemonte on November 2, 2011 at 6:42 PM

They also created Medicaid and a host of Socialis….. social programs that are bleeding us dry.

Chip on November 2, 2011 at 6:48 PM

The implication that someone making 50k is automatically eligible is still wrong, though. You need 7 other people living in your home to get food stamps while retaining a 50k a year salary. I certainly don’t qualify, as a single man making 52k.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Like it’s so hard to claim 7 friends/relatives are household members. You’re not that naive are you, to think there is no SNAP fraud in the billions?

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:48 PM

According to mom, my deadbeat brother is pulling $700+/mo in food stamps. She said that he was busy cookin’ up some steaks when she called him last week.

My other brother’s wife just bought their toddlers an ipad using some college student aid grant that pays for her school that she’ll never use because she’s too “disabled” to work.

what a life….

rw on November 2, 2011 at 6:49 PM

We were never on welfare…my mother never went on welfare after he died…where on earth do you get this sh*t?????

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:47 PM

You said your family received welfare. Were you lying then or are you lying now?

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:49 PM

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:47 PM

Why aren’t you talking to me, I’ve avoided those trigger words you despise… unless Leftist is one..

Is it?

Chip on November 2, 2011 at 6:50 PM

I see Ernesto still doesn’t realize that everyone reading HotAir knows he’s a brain-dead ignorant troll. Not sure why he wastes his time posting in here, as if he’s going to change a person’s mind on anything.

Gregor on November 2, 2011 at 6:50 PM

The answer is obviously to cut food stamps, maybe eliminate the program entirely. Churches can handle that, you know.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:28 PM

By spending less on pensioners and wars, obviously.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:36 PM

Your opinions here have descended to a cartoonish level that is hard to even explain. Your world is one of talking points. No reason, no objective or critical thinking. Just parroted talking points.

hawkdriver on November 2, 2011 at 6:51 PM

That’d be fine if the government could afford it.

I don’t know why you this.

GaltBlvnAtty on November 2, 2011 at 6:51 PM

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:49 PM

My grandparents were on welfare, back in the south bronx and spanish harlem in the 40′s and 50′s. Both my parents left those homes at 18, and never once went on welfare. My father’s memories of great society style welfare informed his support for the clinton era welfare reforms. You simply misread my statements from way back when, and then decided to take a shot at my dead father with them. You really ought to be proud.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:51 PM

Actually, she doesn’t – she got a job with coverage. Glad to see you’re still using my dead father to score political points on a blog, though.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Good for your mom! I am truly happy for her.

You, ernesto, are the one who used your dead father in an attempt to score political points on a blog. In fact, I hurt greatly for you and your family for your loss. I had no problem with you at all.

You changed that. You undefriended me on FB because we disagree politically on most issues. Who is the “petty” one? Look in the mirror for a bit of reflection.

ladyingray on November 2, 2011 at 6:52 PM

My grandparents were on welfare,

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:51 PM

You must be so proud of your lineage.

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Next up- Federal funding for diapers and supplies.

bazil9 on November 2, 2011 at 6:53 PM

You simply misread my statements from way back when, and then decided to take a shot at my dead father with them.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:51 PM

Is your dead father responsible for your stupidity?

Gregor on November 2, 2011 at 6:53 PM

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Okay, I have problems with ernesto, but that was uncalled for.

ladyingray on November 2, 2011 at 6:54 PM

Gregor on November 2, 2011 at 6:53 PM

ZING!!

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:55 PM

You know, I’m sure most liberals agree with you here. I certainly do.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:37 PM

Among my coterie of liberal friends, this suggestion has always been met with serious anger.

I myself dont advocate completely abolishing food stamps, because I know that there are people who truly need the assistance and dont view it as an entitlement. Unfortunately, of course, the shameless moochers spoil the system and this cannot be allowed to continue in its current format – we’re broke. Nobody pays for my junk food diet except me.

Jeddite on November 2, 2011 at 6:55 PM

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Im certainly proud of my parents, who went from destitute children of immigrants to middle class in their lifetime.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:55 PM

I see Ernesto still doesn’t realize that everyone reading HotAir knows he’s a brain-dead ignorant troll. Not sure why he wastes his time posting in here, as if he’s going to change a person’s mind on anything.

Gregor on November 2, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Actually, I wouldn’t say that – overly sensitive to certain labels, yes – but not all of that.

I would truly like to hear his ideas on avoiding the very trap that Greece finds itself in these days.

And some thing more that trite talking points thank you.

Chip on November 2, 2011 at 6:56 PM

Im certainly proud of my parents, who went from destitute children of immigrants to middle class in their lifetime.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:55 PM

But you keep telling us here daily that it is impossible for the poor to move out of poverty, hence why we need 100% tax rates on the rich. Because without that the poor will be poor forever.

Please explain.

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:57 PM

I already said that, with much fewer words…

ladyingray on November 2, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Im so glad we agree on this issue, then. =]

Jeddite on November 2, 2011 at 6:58 PM

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:57 PM

Except, of course, that I’ve never said any of that.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Except, of course, that I’ve never said any of that.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Bullshit. You say this all the time. Now you’re just plain lying.

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 7:00 PM

That’d be fine if the government could afford it.

Tina: I don’t know why you think this would be fine “if the government could afford it.” We should affirmatively want as few people on food stamps as possible, assuming that we have a food stamp program at all.
The food stamp program, with its effort to ensure that these takers don’t feel any shame for being on the dole, is an important factor in the radical-leftist drive to destroy the once admirable American work ethic.

GaltBlvnAtty on November 2, 2011 at 7:00 PM

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 7:00 PM

Never once have I said it’s impossible to move out of poverty (my own family is an example).
Never once have I said we should impose a 100% tax on anything.
Never once have I said that increasing taxes would lift anyone out of poverty in and of itself.

You’re the one lying here, not me.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 7:03 PM

angryed on November 2, 2011 at 6:31 PM

Thank you for that link. I just signed up. One can do it online, it’s easy.

You sir (or Ms. or..) are doing the Lord’s work.

Skandia Recluse on November 2, 2011 at 7:07 PM

Yeah, I’ve been noticing more and more when I’m at the supermarket the increase in food stamp usage. A few years ago if I noticed two or three a year it was alot. And it’s not like I live in a poor area either.

JetBoy on November 2, 2011 at 7:12 PM

Just have places where the really poor can go to pick up a bag of food once a week.

Buddahpundit on November 2, 2011 at 6:31 PM

We have that here in our rural town in CT. It’s called the Town food bank. Me and the wife drop off about $300 worth of food every month just by shopping the sales at the local Shop Rite and Stop and Shops.

Johnnyreb on November 2, 2011 at 7:13 PM

I’d have no problem with these programs IF there were some sort of integrated time limit. You can draw welfare/EBT/etc. for five years total. If you lose your job and need EBT for six months until you find another job, then you’ve got four years and six months of EBT left for the rest of your life. If you decide you need retraining and go to a community college for two additional years then you have two years and six months of EBT left. When you’ve used all of it up then you’ll have to look for help locally. Which brings us to-
 
ernesto, I know you said it sarcastically, but yes, churches could handle it. Here’s why:
 
Shame and delicious convenience.
 
There’s no shame in getting money from a faceless bureaucracy. They don’t know you, and you’re just a number.
 
Your local church, however, would expect you to do for yourself.
 
Here’s some flour and eggs and some donated canned green beans. No, we don’t have any Pringles. If you don’t know how to make bread we’ll show you. We’ll show you how to snap and prepare beans when summer comes, and we’ll have a 5×5 garden plot out back for you to tend. Yes, we’ll give you the seeds, but you’ll need to keep some for yourself after the first harvest. No, you’ll plant and weed and harvest. We’ll show you how. No, we don’t have any candy bars. And yes, we expect you to help out around here and show other recipients how to make bread next Saturday. And we’re taking a van to the local community college next Thursday so that people who can’t feed themselves can enroll and learn a trade. If you want more flour and eggs, you’ll need to be on that van.
 
Ta-dah.

rogerb on November 2, 2011 at 7:28 PM

ladyingray on November 2, 2011 at 6:54 PM

 
Yeah, ernesto and I seem to disagree on almost everything (although he admitted he’s thinking of leaving the compound- woohoo!), but pointed and personal meanness towards moms/dads/children is over the line.

rogerb on November 2, 2011 at 7:41 PM

Tina, thanks for posting a link to that Heritage study. It’s a must read, especially for Leftists regurgitating straw-men talking points. This isn’t about “scoring points” and attempting to morally “one-up” conservatives (a Libs favorite past time). This is about real human beings. Intentions are irrelevant. Results matter. The Progressive ideology has failed.

A while ago I learned that if I really want to help the poor and less fortunate then I must vote for the most conservative candidate in all elections. There can be no doubt, especially after the epic disaster that is the “leadership” of Pelosi & Obama as well as the Progressive-lite approach of the Bush administration.

Here is the link the the Heritage study. Highly recommended.

visions on November 2, 2011 at 8:16 PM

Ta-dah.

rogerb on November 2, 2011 at 7:28 PM

I just ran the ‘spending tool’ on my online bank statement and it shows and average of $88(USD) per month over the last few years for grocery. I qualify for SNAP, and the benefit is ~$200 a month, so looks like I’m gonna have food left over…

You need anything? It would seem kinda odd to show up at the local food bank with a donation, then take it back because I ‘qualify’ for assistance.

Ya, well, come to think of it, with the extra help I could replace this ten year old computer and get something that would run the new video games.

Skandia Recluse on November 2, 2011 at 8:45 PM

Even in the midst of a slow economic recovery, the government should look for ways to slow the growth of the welfare state.

That’s not how this adminstration sees it. The more welfare and food stamp dependents, the better. There was a linked article last month about how some state (IIRC, Washington) was getting a $5 million dollar bonus for signing up a certain number of new food stamp recipients. The Obama admin. actually rewards states for putting more people on the dole. And they’re spending even more of our tax dollars on a bunch of idiotic “outreach” programs to spread the word about how quick and easy it is to apply for all the “free” taxpayer-funded goodies (for the few people who don’t already know it).

AZCoyote on November 2, 2011 at 8:53 PM

Think of all the jobs added to administer these handouts…lower unemployment, here we come!

Dr. ZhivBlago on November 3, 2011 at 12:26 AM

What do you expect. The Obamites were marketing food stamps.

davod on November 3, 2011 at 11:17 AM