Sunday, September 22, 2013
More Americans Are Using Food Stamps Than Ever Before
It's been five years since the start of the recession in 2008, and recovery has been slow. Slower than the government expected. The proof is in the numbers, and numbers don't lie.
One of those numbers the government is paying attention to is the number of people receiving what used to be called food stamps, now known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. In 2008, when the recession began, 8.6 percent of U.S. households were receiving SNAP benefits. Today that number, according to the Census Bureau, has grown to 13.6 percent.
One locally-owned farmer's market in Baltimore reports that 90 percent of their customers are using food stamps to buy produce. According to experts, the increase is due to both unemployment and underemployment. Many people who did find jobs have taken low-paying jobs, requiring them to continue to rely on government benefits like food stamps to survive.
Stacy Dean from the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities summed up the situation well by stating recently, "Poverty in America today is largely a story of unemployed workers or those who must combine their wages with public assistance in order to survive. It's either that the wages or the hours are insufficient in order to be a living income."
The Government's Answer
The government's response? Recommendations range from allowing states to require food stamp recipients to spend 20 hours a week in either a job or job training in order to get their benefits, or cut nearly $4 billion a year from the food stamp program.
How is this going to help America's poor? And tell us again why the government is referring to this as an "Economic Recovery"?