Oh SNAP, an awful lot of people are on food stamps in America. Some of us are very unhappy about that fact, unfortunately, most of us think it's just peachy, like these two, evidently able-bodied, healthy, affluent looking young adults:
They seem awfully happy about having the rest of the nation support them don't they? Neither one of them looks like they're starving or particularly poor either.
Then there are the people who had the time to attend this Food stamp Party at a nightclub in Montgomery, Alabama last spring:
Five bucks and a food stamp eligibility card get you a free shot at the door. And here I am working my ass off.
Maybe if there are too many self-sufficient people in your neighborhood working their butts off in this sour economy, you could throw a food stamp party of your own:
Throw a Great Party. Host social events where people mix and mingle.Make it fun by having activities, games, food, and entertainment, and provide information about SNAP. Putting SNAP information in a game format like BINGO, crossword puzzles, or even a “true/false” quiz is fun and helps get your message across in a memorable way.The above suggestion comes directly from the USDA.
Or, if you actually care about the destruction of the Middle Class disguised as help for able-bodied Americans, you could read this report from the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research about the frightening, "unprecedented increase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, 2008-2012."
Too lazy to read all of those little tiny words about boring things like numbers? You're in luck! Here are some bullet-points for you:
- Twenty percent of the populations of Washington, D.C., Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oregon and Tennessee are on food stamps
- A single person who takes home $908 a month is eligible for food stamps
- If you gross $3136 a month, you and your family of eight are eligible
- During the 16 month recession in 1981/82 (considered by most to be the worst recession in the past 60 years) the number of people on food stamps decreased 0.9%
- During the 18 month recession from 2007 to 2009 food stamp dependency increased 3.5%
- "...the program originally had a purchase requirement meaning that recipients were required to purchase food stamps, "paying an amount commensurate with their normal expenditures for food and receiving an amount of food stamps representing an opportunity more nearly to obtain a low-cost nutritionally adequate diet." This requirement was later eliminated."
- "Once the purchase requirement was eliminated in January 1979, there was a 1.5 million increase in food stamp program participants."
- "The increase in participation in 2008 was caused by a combination of widened benefit eligibility, the recession, and a concerted effort to expand access to benefits. The 2008 Farm Bill changed the name of the program from the Food Stamp Program to SNAP, in an effort to reduce the social stigma associated with receiving benefits. As of October 1, 2008, the minimum benefit and standard deduction for households were increased. The cap for child care expenses was also eliminated."
- ...households in which all members receive public assistance (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, formerly Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and Supplemental Security Income) are automatically eligible."
- ...households are permitted to have $2,000 ($3,250 for households with a senior or disabled person) in "countable resources," which include banks accounts, vehicles, and some other household assets.
- Recipients are allowed to make deductions which determine the difference between the household's gross and net incomes. Households may deduct some expenses, including child care (when necessary for work, training, or education), child support, medical bills, and in some cases shelters and utilities costs.
The increase in food stamp usage following the most recent 2007–09 recession vis-à-vis the smaller increases in other recessions is troubling. Designing and administering a social safety net is a balancing act. While assisting and empowering those who are truly in need, we must guard against creating perverse incentives to depend on public assistance for long term sustenance.
It is important to acknowledge that unemployment rate has remained above 8 percent for 43 months, since February 2009, which is longer than in any other recession since 1980. However, Americans experienced unemployment over 8 percent for 27 months from November 1981 to January 1984, but ultimately saw a decrease in food stamp usage during the 36 months following that recession. The prolonged unemployment effects of the 2007–09 recession are partly responsible for the growth in current food stamp usage, but cannot fully explain it. More likely, increased eligibility, income deductions, and benefit levels have precipitated unprecedented growth in the program.
Here are some charts for those of you who like charts when you're learning about the destruction of the Middle Class by an over-reaching Federal government:The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is to be applauded for making strides in combating fraud, allowing state flexibility in administration, and providing the neediest citizens with choices in how to best fulfill their dietary needs. But the data beg the question: Does 15 percent of our population truly qualify as the neediest among us?
Since it's your money, I just thought you might like to know.