The 130 percent of poverty cap dates back to the early 1980s and recipients making more than that get a smaller payout than people below it. But the share of SNAP households that make more than 130 percent of the poverty line went from 2.3 percent to 4.7 percent; half of all states actually allow recipients to make more than 140 percent of the poverty line and still qualify for food stamps.
So as with all sorts of growth in goverment outlays, the historic rise in food stamp usage is not a clear-cut case of economic necessity. There’s a huge amount of policy fudge factor too.
Indeed, consider this fact as well: Between 2000 and 2006, spending on food stamps doubled under George W. Bush. That’s an odd statistic given the way the economy performed and the tech-bubble recession gave way to unemployment rates in the 4 percent range. And for those who remember Newt Gingrich’s attempt to cast Obama as the “food stamp president,” it’s a reminder that as with most awful policies in place during this 21st century, it’s bipartisan disaster all the way down.