The evangilical-republican control freaks are trying to find God’s permission to ban gays from getting married – to no avail. They would repeal God’s commandment to feed the poor and hungry – if they were in power. They want to believe that free food is not from God, but guns, are. They are very highly specialized insane people!
A lot has changed about food stamps during the past few years. For one, the program is currently called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and it has made buying groceries much easier by providing debit-style cards.
But another aspect has changed even more dramatically: The number of Americans tapping into the social-welfare program is soaring.
Enrollment in SNAP has surged 70% since 2008, reaching a record 47.8 million Americans in December. Even more shocking, that means 15% of the country receives the benefits, nearly double the rate as in 1975, when the U.S. suffered from soaring inflation, a recession and an oil crisis.
As a result, the U.S. spent a record $74.6 billion on food-stamp benefits last year, more than double what the program shelled out before the Great Recession. Remember, that downturn officially ended in 2009, and by many measures the economy has improved since the financial crisis and housing meltdown.
So why are the food stamp rolls expanding? It can all be explained by a slow job market, more pockets of poverty and a push from states to get residents to apply for SNAP, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The program’s expansion goes back to 1996, when President Bill Clinton overhauled the welfare system. That law has allowed states to loosen asset and income tests for SNAP applicants, which means people with savings and relatively higher incomes than in previous years are now qualifying, The Journal notes.
But that doesn’t mean the program is courting the well-off or even the middle classes. Generally, a household’s income can’t be more than 130% of the poverty level, which is about $25,000 for a family of three, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonprofit that looks at issues that affect low- and middle-income families.
An official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture told The Journal he expects the rolls to shrink as the economy continues to improve.
“While the perception may be different, the actual raw numbers, almost 50 million people (under the federal poverty level), is certainly one of the principal reasons why we see the enrollment increases in the SNAP program,” Kevin Concannon, undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services at the Department of Agriculture, told the newspaper.
But the food-stamp market has become so large that major companies are targeting recipients. Monster Beverage (MNST -0.96%) has changed its labeling so that it can qualify for food stamp purchases, as MSN moneyNOW reported last week.
Changes might be coming to the program. Congress will revisit SNAP later this year, and Republicans have pushed for new limits on who can receive assistance, The Journal notes.
“Food stamps have actually saved my life, really,” Diane Hendricks, 43, told the paper. After losing her job and divorcing, she relies on SNAP to provide $380 a month to feed herself and her two kids. “The benefits helped me get back on my feet. It was one less thing to worry about so I was able to look for work.”