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Monday, December 10, 2012

Food Stamp Use At New High

Bread and circuses, folks. From the Daily Caller:
Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, reached another high in September, according to new data released by the United Stated Department of Agriculture.

The most recent data on SNAP participation were released Friday, and showed that 47,710,324 people were enrolled in the program in September, an increase of 607,559 from the 47,102,765 enrolled in August.
Mayor Cory Booker says the federal government's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), which spent $80.4 billion in fiscal 2012, is “not a government handout."

“I hope and understand that people are getting a better recognition that this is a program that really helps America, helps families in need," Booker said on Friday, while describing his fourth day of living on a SNAP budget.

"It’s not a government handout,” he said. “If anything, it’s a safety net that helps people through difficult times and bridges them towards stability.”
I recognize that food stamps help a lot of people, including the marginally employed, that bounce back and forth between employment; or those in difficult circumstances, even though they are working. (In my college days, I had neighbors where the husband had recently started work as a deputy sheriff, while his wife was a full time student, and they had a new baby--they were on food stamps simply because his job didn't pay enough to support them; I have read in the past that a significant number of military personnel are also food stamp recipients. I suspect that there are many low or marginally paying jobs that only exist because the jobs are essentially subsidized through the food stamp program). I think there is a valid debate whether "charity" is the proper role of government. But, that aside, it is of no help to remove the stigma of food stamps because the stigma encourages people to seek employment so they don't have to stay on food stamps.

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