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Yippee! More People Are On Food Stamps

From an ecstatic New York Times:

Across U.S., Food Stamp Use Soars and Stigma Fades


November 29, 2009

MARTINSVILLE, Ohio — With food stamp use at record highs and climbing every month, a program once scorned as a failed welfare scheme now helps feed one in eight Americans and one in four children.

It has grown so rapidly in places so diverse that it is becoming nearly as ordinary as the groceries it buys. More than 36 million people use inconspicuous plastic cards for staples like milk, bread and cheese, swiping them at counters in blighted cities and in suburbs pocked with foreclosure signs.

Virtually all have incomes near or below the federal poverty line, but their eclectic ranks testify to the range of people struggling with basic needs. They include single mothers and married couples, the newly jobless and the chronically poor, longtime recipients of welfare checks and workers whose reduced hours or slender wages leave pantries bare.

While the numbers have soared during the recession, the path was cleared in better times when the Bush administration led a campaign to erase the program’s stigma, calling food stamps “nutritional aid” instead of welfare, and made it easier to apply. That bipartisan effort capped an extraordinary reversal from the 1990s, when some conservatives tried to abolish the program, Congress enacted large cuts and bureaucratic hurdles chased many needy people away.

From the ailing resorts of the Florida Keys to Alaskan villages along the Bering Sea, the program is now expanding at a pace of about 20,000 people a day.

There are 239 counties in the United States where at least a quarter of the population receives food stamps, according to an analysis of local data collected by The New York Times.

The counties are as big as the Bronx and Philadelphia and as small as Owsley County in Kentucky, a patch of Appalachian distress where half of the 4,600 residents receive food stamps.

In more than 750 counties, the program helps feed one in three blacks. In more than 800 counties, it helps feed one in three children. In the Mississippi River cities of St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans, half of the children or more receive food stamps…

Although the program is growing at a record rate, the federal official who oversees it would like it to grow even faster.

“I think the response of the program has been tremendous,” said Kevin Concannon, an under secretary of agriculture, “but we’re mindful that there are another 15, 16 million who could benefit.”

Nationwide, food stamps reach about two-thirds of those eligible, with rates ranging from an estimated 50 percent in California to 98 percent in Missouri. Mr. Concannon urged lagging states to do more to enroll the needy, citing a recent government report that found a sharp rise in Americans with inconsistent access to adequate food.

“This is the most urgent time for our feeding programs in our lifetime, with the exception of the Depression,” he said. “It’s time for us to face up to the fact that in this country of plenty, there are hungry people.”

Support for the food stamp program reached a nadir in the mid-1990s when critics, likening the benefit to cash welfare, won significant restrictions and sought even more. But after use plunged for several years, President Bill Clinton began promoting the program, in part as a way to help the working poor. President George W. Bush expanded that effort, a strategy Mr. Obama has embraced.

The revival was crowned last year with an upbeat change of name. What most people still call food stamps is technically the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP

Now nearly 12 percent of Americans receive aid — 28 percent of blacks, 15 percent of Latinos and 8 percent of whites. Benefits average about $130 a month for each person in the household, but vary with shelter and child care costs…

Sarah and Tyrone Mangold started the year on track to make $70,000 — she was selling health insurance, and he was working on a heating and air conditioning crew. She got laid off in the spring, and he a few months later. Together they had one unemployment check and a blended family of three children, including one with a neurological disorder aggravated by poor nutrition.

They ate at his mother’s house twice a week. They pawned jewelry. She scoured the food pantry. He scrounged for side jobs. Their frustration peaked one night over a can of pinto beans. Each blamed the other when that was all they had to eat.

“We were being really snippy, having anxiety attacks,” Ms. Mangold said. “People get irritable when they’re hungry.”

Food stamps now fortify the family income by $623 a month, and Mr. Mangold, who is still patching together odd jobs, no longer objects.

“I always thought people on public assistance were lazy,” he said, “but it helps me know I can feed my kids.” …

The Times produces several examples like the Mangolds.

Never mind that both Mr. and Mrs. Mangold are getting unemployment, which means somewhere around $400 a week for each of them.

We are supposed to believe that this couple can’t feed themselves and three children (including one with a neurological disorder aggravated by poor nutrition) on a mere $3,200 a month — $38,400 a year.

Moreover, this New York Times article would have you believe that there are no other ‘safety nets’ but food stamps. And if you lose your job you will immediately starve in the gutter.

Virtually all have incomes near or below the federal poverty line, but their eclectic ranks testify to the range of people struggling with basic needs.

There is not much range in the people that the New York Times has featured in their accompanying 17 photo slide show.

Somehow just about every person (except family, in a line for clothing) is white. Despite the article’s own (albeit buried) claim that “food stamps feed one in three blacks.”

But of course the real purpose of this article is to encourage more people to go on the dole.

The New York Times wants us to be a nation of layabouts who are completely dependent upon the government.

They know that is the fastest way to the socialist dictatorship they crave so badly.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, November 29th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

7 Responses to “Yippee! More People Are On Food Stamps”

  1. proreason says:

    Welcome to the future.

    But don’t worry.

    Obamy and his commissars will never be on food stamps.

  2. U NO HOO says:

    “feed one in eight Americans and one in four children”

    If one in eight or one in four cars, trains, boats or planes crashed we’d have a crisis on our hands.

  3. GetBackJack says:

    I participated in Food Drives and Toy Drives years ago. I quit when it became apparent that many, if not most of the ‘families’ I was ‘helping’ were either as well off as I was, or, simply lazy and shiftless.

    I stopped participating in the Feel Good Charade. On only three occasions did I take food to people who were really, truly, actually in need. The rest of them were not.

    “When you subsidize poverty and failure, you get more of both” – unknown attribution

    • Petronius says:

      “There are people, who the more you do for them, the less they will do for themselves.”

      Jane Austen, “Emma” (1816).

  4. BillK says:

    The liberal philosophy is that if people aren’t on food stamps, they must not be making enough people aware they qualify!

    But I’m glad to see that silly old “self-sufficiency” stigma is going away – the more people rely on the Government for everything, the easier they are to control.

  5. beautyofreason says:

    I hate to say it, and I know that many people’s struggles are real, but I have to question the hunger scale when half of the people who get food stamps either look overweight or obese.

    There are also websites on extreme frugality that provide menu options for a family of four that will cost only $40 per month to produce, healthy foods such as pancakes and orange juice from concentrate if someone is really desperate for money. That information can be printed out for free at a local library.

    I am reminded of my cousins, who are about to declare that they are bankrupt. They complain about the cost of health insurance but chain smoke and drink alcohol with 24k real gold leaf floating on the bottom. They are also planning to store a $3,000 Barbie doll collection and gold jewelry at a friend’s house if they go bankrupt, so they won’t lose it.

  6. wirenut says:

    A packet of seeds and canning jars don’t cost that much. Finding ground to plant in, ain’t that hard either. It’s called self-reliance, or taking control. Any questions? Stop wasting our money and teach them to provide for themselves. It lasts a lifetime and its yours once you learn how.

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