One In Five American Households Now Receive Food Stamps

Not surprising in this era of record-setting government dependence:

(CNSNews.com) — A record 20% of American households, one in five, were on food stamps in 2013, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The numbers also show that there were a record number of individuals on food stamps in 2013 and that the cost of the program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), was at an all-time high.

For fiscal year 2013, the USDA declared that 23,052,388 households were on food stamps, an increase of 722,675 from fiscal year 2012, when household participation stood at 22,329,713.

The question is, was this spike in food stamps enrollments driven by need or by changes to policy that made more people eligible?

I’d argue the latter, and it’s not just an Obama-era problem. Most of the expansion of the program happened under George W. Bush:

The 2002 and 2008 farm bills under Bush expanded eligibility in the program to the extent that noncitizens qualify. By the start of Obama’s presidency, there were 31.8 million Americans enrolled, up from 17 million in 2000.

Under Obama, enrollment has surged to almost 48 million. While some chalk up the increase to the recession, Tanner finds little evidence that is the case.

“Increases in both participation and spending were bigger during this recession than in previous ones,” he writes.

During the recession in the early 1980s enrollment only increased by 635,000, and spending rose by $124 million. In contrast, the latest recession saw enrollment jump by 12 million and spending increase by $30 billion.

“SNAP is no longer a program targeted at the poorest Americans who may need some temporary help, but it has become part of an ever-growing permanent welfare state,” the report said.

Helping people is one thing. Fomenting government dependence is quite another.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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