Poverty, food stamp explosions, and the notion of “recovery”

posted at 12:41 pm on April 4, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

In two months, we’ll come up to the four-year anniversary of the technical recovery after the Great Recession.  The Obama administration has thrown hundreds of billions of dollars in stimulus efforts, and insists that the economy has recovered and is strengthening.  The Census Bureau’s latest measure of poverty offers a much different conclusion about US economic policy over the last four-plus years:

The U.S. Census Bureau puts the number of Americans in poverty at levels not seen since the mid-1960s when President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the federal government’s so-called War on Poverty. 

As President Barack Obama began his second term in January, nearly 50 million Americans — one in six — were living below the income line that defines poverty, according to the bureau. A family of four that earns less than $23,021 a year is listed as living in poverty.

The bureau said 20 percent of the country’s children are poor.

In terms of percentage of population, the new level exceeded 16% in November 2012, according to the Census Bureau:

As President Barack Obama is set to begin his second term, new statistics on America’s poverty rate indicate that nearly 50 million Americans, more than 16 percent of the population, are struggling to survive.

New figures released by the Census Bureau this week found a spike in poverty numbers last year, going from 49 million in 2010 to 49.7 million last year. The numbers may come as a surprise to Congress, which estimated in September that the poverty rate would drop to 46.2 million. One of the most startling findings showed that almost 20 percent of American children continue to live in poverty.

At the end of 2008, as Obama prepared to take office, it stood at 13.2%, thanks in part to the job losses of the Great Recession.  Six months later, Obama and the Democrats passed an $800 billion stimulus bill on top of the $700 billion TARP tranches paid out by both the Bush and Obama administrations, which supposedly would fuel stronger fundamentals and better growth than the policies employed during the 2003 recession, which Obama (erroneously) blamed for the collapse.

Nor is that the only measure of the practical economy at odds with the celebration of economic recovery.  Last week, Erika noted that the use of food stamps has exploded, particularly in the last few years:

Enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as the modern-day food-stamp benefit is known, has soared 70% since 2008 to a record 47.8 million as of December 2012. Congressional budget analysts think participation will rise again this year and dip only slightly in coming years.

The biggest factor behind the upward march of food stamps is a sluggish job market and a rising poverty rate. At the same time, many states have pushed to get more people to apply for SNAP, a program where the federal government picks up the tab.

In the article, an Obama administration official points to the rising levels of poverty over the last four years to explain the explosive growth in SNAP recipients:

Kevin Concannon, undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services at the Department of Agriculture, said SNAP is working as designed, expanding to extend benefits to more Americans as poverty levels increase. He said USDA officials expect the program to soon begin contracting as the economy improves.

“While the perception may be different, the actual raw numbers, almost 50 million people [under the federal poverty level], is certainly one of the principal reasons why we see the enrollment increases in the SNAP program,” he said. A more aggressive effort to get people on the rolls and changes in the eligibility standards were also factors, he said.

Clearly, the economy isn’t improving, not with rising poverty and a record-low workforce.  In my column for The Fiscal Times today, I offer this simple comparison to demonstrate the disconnect between reality and the White House spin on their performance:

Over 50 million people now live in poverty, according to a recent release by the US Census Bureau. At the end of 2010, after the passage of the $800 billion stimulus bill and eighteen months of technical recovery, that number was 46 million according to Census Bureau statistics. At the end of 2008, at the depth of the Great Recession and as President Obama first took office, that number was below 40 million.

We have added 10 million people into poverty since Obama took office, most of whom fell into poverty after the stimulus and the technical recovery began. In comparison, we have only added 123,000 jobs over the same period, according to the BLS Current Population Survey, which showed a seasonally-adjusted employment level in December 2008 of 143.369 million, compared to 143.392 million in February.  (The BLS’ Current Employment Survey data looks almost as bad, with a gain of just 621,000 jobs in the same period.) The civilian participation rate in the workforce has dropped from 65.8 percent to 63.5 percent during that time, equaling August 2012 for the worst since September 1981.

The White House likes to point out the soaring Wall Street indices as an indicator of economic health, but former OMB director David Stockman popped that bubble by pointing out another in the New York Times on Sunday:

As former OMB Director David Stockman pointed out in Sunday’s New York Times, the soaring highs of the S&P 500 and DJIA show more of a bubble than actual growth.  Three turns on the qualitative-easing roller coaster has devalued the dollar, with the third apparently an infinite policy, and that makes the two indices meaningless in this comparison.

“Since the S.&P. 500 first reached its current level, in March 2000, the mad money printers at the Federal Reserve have expanded their balance sheet sixfold (to $3.2 trillion from $500 billion),” Stockman explained.  “Yet during that stretch, economic output has grown by an average of 1.7 percent a year (the slowest since the Civil War); real business investment has crawled forward at only 0.8 percent per year; and the payroll job count has crept up at a negligible 0.1 percent annually.” That “flood of liquidity” has only pooled in one specific area of the American economy, Stockman argues – Wall Street.  That makes both the S&P 500 and DJIA much less indicative of the health of the overall economy, and points to “yet another unsustainable bubble.”

If you want to gauge the health of the American economy, do it by comparing the number of jobs created to the number of people it sends into poverty.  By that measure, we’ve utterly failed to recover at all from the Great Recession, and we’re only creating the conditions for more failure in the future.

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Obama’s Ameirca is a latrine, full of rats, which enjoy the slush they dwell in.

Schadenfreude on April 4, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Perhaps what we need is more sub-prime mortgage loans? Eh? Eh?

Jeddite on April 4, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Obama is a fool and so are his fellow passengers.

pat on April 4, 2013 at 12:46 PM

The land needs more than 50 million on ‘disability’.

S/b 52%, all who voted for Obama. The psychiatric wards await them, and they’d be fully qualified.

Schadenfreude on April 4, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Poverty, food stamp explosions, and the notion of “recovery”

All part of the plan… For the plan, please see cloward-pivens strategy anyone who does not recognize that this is Barky O’Dogeaters plan for America is just plain dumber than a bucket of used camel snot.

SWalker on April 4, 2013 at 12:47 PM

America deserves Obama.

Free peopel always deserve the ‘leaders’ they freely vote for.

May he destroy, destroy, destroy, as he and Michelle live the .0001%r lives, on your dole, fools.

Schadenfreude on April 4, 2013 at 12:47 PM

People, alas…sheep w/b better.

Schadenfreude on April 4, 2013 at 12:48 PM

The premise is always flawed.

Obama wants destruction and dependency.

Wake up America.

Schadenfreude on April 4, 2013 at 12:48 PM

This is your Dummy in Chief and his beard, er bride.

Schadenfreude on April 4, 2013 at 12:49 PM

But….but…..but Democrats LOVE poor people. Maybe that’s why their policies create so many of them.

GarandFan on April 4, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Barry did a nice job, just the other day, of explaining the increase in number of food stamp recipients. It makes sense.
He said there are more people on food stamps because more people meet the qualifications. See, it makes sense when you look at it that way. :)

a capella on April 4, 2013 at 12:49 PM

All hail dear leader

cmsinaz on April 4, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Wait until we have amnesty for 20 million illegals. Another 10 million will soon follow. The Obama administration will setup social service offices along the border to hand out food stamps, housing checks, etc. When they can’t find jobs they will be eligible SSDI. 14 million are now on SSDI. The SSDI System is a fraud. Face facts – the USA is finished.

alanstern on April 4, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Once the stock market bubble bursts, and it will, people will wake up.

Once our elite overlords see their personal balance sheets turn to crap, they will start asking questions. The destruction of wealth is going to be incredible once the sell off begins.

BacaDog on April 4, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Don’t you know that the Rats define “success” as an increase in the number of people reliant on government?

Steve Eggleston on April 4, 2013 at 12:56 PM

Obama is awesome!
/

Lily on April 4, 2013 at 12:56 PM

Goebbels orgasms again.

Schadenfreude on April 4, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Well, I am sure if we throw legalized drugs, open borders and gay nuptials at the peons, everything will improve immediately!

astonerii on April 4, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Barry did a nice job, just the other day, of explaining the increase in number of food stamp recipients. It makes sense.
He said there are more people on food stamps because more people meet the qualifications. See, it makes sense when you look at it that way. :)

a capella on April 4, 2013 at 12:49 PM

And it would look even better if only Nancy Pelosi were Speaker of the House. Because then even MORE people would meet the qualifications. Think of all the people they could be helping then!

Lily on April 4, 2013 at 1:01 PM

That ‘pretty’ blonde on Fox, the one with the weird hair, is out of breath, over Lil’ Kim.

Then she says “the U.S. is walking a tight rope with N. Korea”.

How stupid is she, Fox, and the entire U.S.

Imagine if Ronald Reagan were president.

Yes, DarkCurrent, China is way cool.

Schadenfreude on April 4, 2013 at 1:02 PM

BacaDog on April 4, 2013 at 12:55 PM

The very wealthy invest in the very durable and while they will be struck with losses, the losses they take compared to the rest of the populace will be scratches compared to amputations.

astonerii on April 4, 2013 at 1:03 PM

“KEEP OBAMA IN PREZ’DENT Y’KNOW HE GAVE US A PHONE HE GONNA DO MORE!”

Jeddite on April 4, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Seems all going along with the plan of bho/team? Get as many people on big bro’s teat sucking off the shrinking taxpayers?
L

letget on April 4, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Obama’s next welfare to “his people”.

YOU will pay for it.

They target to hire “Spanish speaker”, right…I want to test them.

They target “the poor”…lingo for other scum.

Obama is a racist extraordinaire.

This is how the unemployment will be solved…by giving these jobs to the ones who marked for Obama.

God damn him and all of them.

Schadenfreude on April 4, 2013 at 1:09 PM

Thes “navigators” will have voter registration, gun information, medical records.

Dummies will control you.

Goebbels orgasms non-stop.

Schadenfreude on April 4, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Forward!!!

DRayRaven on April 4, 2013 at 1:12 PM

“….I promise to FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE the United States….”

easyt65 on April 4, 2013 at 1:17 PM

The road to Utopia is paved with poverty and hopelessness.

How else can the State lift the People up, and make them dependent on it?

OhEssYouCowboys on April 4, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Recovery over 4 years: 10 million more in poverty … 123,000 more jobs.

Winning!!

There Goes The Neighborhood on April 4, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Meanwhile the welfare queens that are just waking up find this headline over at YAHOO NEWS.

The Numbers Show Gun Owners Really Do Back Obama

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he has the backing of gun owners when it comes to proposals for new laws governing firearms. On Thursday, yet another poll showed he’s probably right. The latest national survey from Quinnipiac

The alternate universe of Low Information voters continues on.

PappyD61 on April 4, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Reagan fiscal guru, David Stockman, has a new book out and he is painting a very ugly picture.

He makes the case that the tax cuts and spending increases (AKA the stimulus) have made the country “fiscally ungovernable” and the best part is that his main conclusion sounds like it comes from #Occupy … it all trickles up to the 1% thru Wall Street while actually having created no real recovery.

It seems the real “Emperor Has No Clothes” moment will be when somebody finally says that there really is no recovery.

I’m still waiting for Joe Biden to start talking about “Recovery Summer IV” but it all gets drown out by the SSM and gun control stuff, soon to be eclipsed by North Korea.

J_Crater on April 4, 2013 at 1:18 PM

………or are WE in the Alternate universe?

PappyD61 on April 4, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Texas wants it’s Gold back…it’s safer if we keep it down here.

workingclass artist on April 4, 2013 at 1:19 PM

nearly 50 million Americans, more than 16 percent of the population, are struggling to survive.

Nothing that importing 20 or 30 million more unskilled, uneducated, non-English-speaking “children of God” won’t fix.

AZCoyote on April 4, 2013 at 1:19 PM

OT – that Kelly woman on Fox is dumber than rocks, with apologies to rocks. She argues gun control and is absolutely clueless.

Schadenfreude on April 4, 2013 at 1:21 PM

They should raise the poverty income level up a couple thousand now that we are mandated to pay for medical insurance that is inferior but costing $2500 more per year. On this subject … If you didn’t hear the second and third hour of a Mark Levin yesterday, you should. Three different doctors from three different fields and areas in the US called in and explained the changes they are seeing right now in Provider Care. It made me sad and upset that this is happening to this Great Country. The loss of Liberty and Privacy is beyond description. We are so screwed, starting with the Oldest who ironically voted for it. Hopefully the lawsuit regarding the fact this tax law did not originate in the House will stop this.

Whiterock on April 4, 2013 at 1:21 PM

OT – that Kelly woman on Fox is dumber than rocks, with apologies to rocks. She argues gun control and is absolutely clueless.

Schadenfreude on April 4, 2013 at 1:21 PM

If you’re talking about Megyn Kelly, I couldn’t agree more. Several months ago, prior to the election, she was commenting about The Commie’s “fair share” bullshit – and asked “how much is enough?” re: the rich.

She’s tainted, and I don’t watch Fox News, anymore – she’s just one of the reasons.

OhEssYouCowboys on April 4, 2013 at 1:26 PM

We are the new Roman Empire, collapsing daily. All part of a greater plan!! I rejoice in my misery!!

Deano1952 on April 4, 2013 at 1:26 PM

If you’re talking about Megyn Kelly, I couldn’t agree more. Several months ago, prior to the election, she was commenting about The Commie’s “fair share” bullshit – and asked “how much is enough?” re: the rich.

She’s tainted, and I don’t watch Fox News, anymore – she’s just one of the reasons.

OhEssYouCowboys on April 4, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Not too bad if you turn the sound off!!

Deano1952 on April 4, 2013 at 1:28 PM

I do not think the media is putting out all this information so you can wonder how much fraud and waste should be rooted out. I don’t think they really care, they are just helping Obama present his budget next week that calls for all kinds of socialist “help” for poor people and teenagers and Stimulus projects and Government Make Work so they can hire more employees.

They also want $20 minimum wage, according to Senator Warren from MA. This would solve all thier problems. They would magically make everyone middle class, really one class except for the political/celebrity class and the one percent, who would have their Hawaii junkets built into their benefits.

Fleuries on April 4, 2013 at 1:28 PM

we have only added 123,000 jobs over the same period, according to the BLS Current Population Survey, which showed a seasonally-adjusted employment level in December 2008 of 143.369 million, compared to 143.392 million in February

143,392,000 – 143,369,000 = 23,000 jobs not 123,000. Either one of the two seasonally adjusted employment levels is reported wrongly or the 123,000 number is wrong.

chemman on April 4, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Nothing that importing 20 or 30 million more unskilled, uneducated, non-English-speaking “children of God” won’t fix.

I for one welcome these brothers and sisters to lead us down the path to permanent poverty and eternal leftist run government.

The Leftist’s dream of Socialist Utopia is nearly at hand.

hawkeye54 on April 4, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Good write up Ed. It is sad so many swallow the fake data the regime pumps out.

dogsoldier on April 4, 2013 at 1:42 PM

So Obama is unnecessarily prolonging the Great Recession just like FDR unnecessarily prolonged the Great Depression.

These throwback, neo-Luddite Leftist ideologues will never learn. Lower and middle-income families hardest hit, as usual.

visions on April 4, 2013 at 1:45 PM

When a political party gets a majority of voters sucked into permanent dependency on government, even at poverty level, that party gets a lock on permanently being voted into and retaining office.

As long as other people’s money continues to be sufficiently available for redistribution to the dependent voting class.

hawkeye54 on April 4, 2013 at 1:46 PM

So Obama is unnecessarily prolonging the Great Recession just like FDR unnecessarily prolonged the Great Depression.

The greater with which to build a growing federal government monster not easily dismantled.

hawkeye54 on April 4, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Remember, Obama is the guy that said his one private sector job was like “working behind enemy lines.”

Only an extremist would view businesses as the “enemy.”

visions on April 4, 2013 at 1:49 PM

143,392,000 – 143,369,000 = 23,000 jobs not 123,000. Either one of the two seasonally adjusted employment levels is reported wrongly or the 123,000 number is wrong.

chemman on April 4, 2013 at 1:29 PM

100,000 off the books Blatantly Willful Criminal Immigrant jobs.

LoganSix on April 4, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Welcome To Obamerica!

Land of The Slacker and The Freeloader!

Home of The Handout!

pilamaye on April 4, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Home of The Handout!

pilamaye on April 4, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Home of the Pimp and his Harlots!!!

Schadenfreude on April 4, 2013 at 2:01 PM

She’s tainted, and I don’t watch Fox News, anymore – she’s just one of the reasons.

OhEssYouCowboys on April 4, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Yes, that one – she’s not “tainted”. She’s one of Obama’s girls.

Schadenfreude on April 4, 2013 at 2:02 PM

The cynic in me says that, when you can’t figure out how to bring down unemployment you have to give the unemployed something so they don’t bring out the pitchforks. Once you give them that, you convince them no one could fix this economy and, if you elect Republicans they won’t fix it, but they will take away your entitlements. Pretty good ploy, eh? Clinton did a good job at the Dem Convention.

bflat879 on April 4, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Feature of the administration’s policy, not a bug. In other words it is by design. People desperate on the state are more likely to be just the kind of parasite that the filthy rat-eared devil needs for continued Democrat pluralities.

Happy Nomad on April 4, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Excellent post, Ed!

All the info and commentary laid out so well.

This will be shared along with your FT article.

ChicagoBlue on April 4, 2013 at 2:52 PM

But hey, at least the rich white guy didn’t win, huh?

crushliberalism on April 4, 2013 at 3:14 PM

I don’t understand why you are so upset from Obama’s perspective this stuff is a feature not a bug in the program.

Mich_93 on April 4, 2013 at 3:37 PM

We’ve got ghetto in the White House, WTF were you expecting. Our GOP Leaders suck!

RdLake on April 4, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Nothing that importing 20 or 30 million more unskilled, uneducated, non-English-speaking “children of God” won’t fix.

Not to mention when they start bringing their native religions over enough that it ‘takes’ here, and I’m not even talking about Islam. Some of the stuff that comes out of Third World nations would make your hair stand on end, but since we treat the very concept of evil as a joke

MelonCollie on April 4, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Not to mention when they start bringing their native religions over enough that it ‘takes’ here, and I’m not even talking about Islam. Some of the stuff that comes out of Third World nations would make your hair stand on end, but since we treat the very concept of evil as a joke…

Diluting the influence of moralistic and judgmental puritanical Christianity in our culture and government is part of the overall plan. All other religions practiced worldwide should have equal presence here. Its only fair.

/s

hawkeye54 on April 4, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Schadenfreude on April 4, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Sometimes I get the sense you may be tottering at the very edge of lunacy…

DarkCurrent on April 4, 2013 at 11:52 PM