After last week’s big February-unemployment reveal, we were treated to a whole heap of ostensible reasons about why the ever-so-slightly eased official unemployment rate of 7.7 percent means the economy is really getting on the right track, and somehow indicates real material improvement in the labor market. Delving into the reports’ numbers a little more closely, however, unearthed a hodgepodge of continued bad news: Even more people dropping out of the labor force meant a stagnant unemployment-population ratio and that the labor force participation rate only fell even further.
In yet another indication that the economy is meandering in the desert of a endlessly weak ‘recovery,’ the number of Americans enrolled in the federal food-stamp program has only continued to increase — and the program’s numbers in December hit an all-time record. Via the Weekly Standard:
On Friday, the United States Department of Agriculture quietly released new statistics related to the food stamps program, officially known as SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). The numbers reveal, in 2012, the food stamps program was the biggest it’s ever been, with an average of 46,609,072 people on the program every month of last year. 47,791,996 people were on the program in the month of December 2012. …
[Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff] Sessions also pointed out that cities like Baltimore, which he said have have been “governed by liberal policies for decades,” see particularly high numbers of participation in the program.
“Despite this fountain of federal funds, 1 in 3 children still live in poverty in our nation’s capital. Two in three children live in single parent homes. In nearby Baltimore–another city governed by liberal policies for decades–1 in 3 residents are on food stamps and in 1 in 3 youth live in poverty. Americans are committed to helping our sisters and brothers who are struggling, but we are seeing the damaging human consequences of our broken welfare state,” said Sessions.
But… how can this be? I thought Agriculture Secretary Vilsack assured us that food stamps are “the most direct form of stimulus you can get,” no? How is it that all of these added enrollees are not translating into more robust job- and wealth-creation? And speaking of, how is it that none of the Obama administration’s voluminous attempts to stimulate the economy seem to be living up to expectations? Do you suppose the premise might be flawed?