1/6 Of Population Now On Food Stamps – Is There Any End In Sight?

Government welfare is well intended, but it can make poor people comfortable remaining in poverty. Why pay your own way when Uncle Sam will pay it for you?

Food stamps, or in USDA parlance, the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),” is an expensive and bloated welfare program. A temporary and effective safety net to help struggling Americans put food on the table undoubtedly makes sense, but SNAP has spun out-of-control.

Almost one in six, or 47.5 million, Americans now receive food stamps. Over 13 million more people receive the food subsidies today than when Obama took office.

15% of the US population is on food stamps, but some states rely on the benefits more than others.

The Wall Street Journal points out that in some states, nearly a quarter of the population relies on food stamps. Mississippi and Washington, DC top the list of food stamp enrollment “by state,” at 22% and 23% respectively.

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Don’t expect SNAP to downsize anytime soon — despite spending a whopping $80 billion on food stamps last year, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) argues the program needs more funding.

The USDA is so set on expanding SNAP that it spent $43.3 million to advertise food stamps in 2011 alone. Government-produced, colorful commercials enthusiastically encourage people to sign up for the subsidies.

Moreover, the commercials portray food stamps in a wholly positive light. To be sure, government efforts to distribute food stamps should not demean recipients. But there is a better balance to be struck between safeguarding the dignity of recipients and making them feel that the SNAP assistance is an admirable, unqualified entitlement.

The commercials show up frequently on various television and radio stations. Here is a radio ad produced by Obama’s USDA, telling listeners that food stamps will make them “look amazing.”

Some ads are produced by state governments. This television commercial produced by New York tells people food stamps are “a quick, easy, confidential way to get help.”

It would be easier to swallow the heavy expense to taxpayers for ads promoting SNAP if the program itself were not already grossly out of hand.

There are even SNAP ads targeted at illegal immigrants.

Documents obtained by Judicial Watch revealed that the USDA works with the Mexican government to promote participation by illegal immigrants.

As Judicial Watch reported, “The promotion of [SNAP] includes a Spanish-language flyer provided to the Mexican Embassy by the USDA with a statement advising Mexicans in the U.S. that they do not need to declare their immigration status in order to receive financial assistance.  Emphasized in bold and underlined, the statement reads, ‘You need not divulge information regarding your immigration status in seeking this benefit for your children.'”

SNAP is also ridden with fraud. Many individuals trade their food stamps for cash and drugs, but the government does little to address this issue.

SNAP recipients receive Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, which look and function like a debit card but are only supposed to be used to purchase food.

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Despite EBT cards’ intended use, a simple search online pulls up countless discussion boards where people discuss how to trade the benefits for cash.

Here is a discussion thread from Yahoo Answers:

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Good grief.

Making matters worse is the fact that SNAP is often counterproductive by discouraging work. When a recipient starts making too much income, they lose the benefit. The incentive to find a job is gone.

Some liberals assert that food stamp use is up because the economy is bad, but that is simply not the case. Food stamp spending nearly doubled years ago, before the current recession. The program’s budget rose from $19.8 billion in 2000 to $37.9 billion in 2007. Congress should means test the food stamps program much more aggressively to focus on the truly needy, while eliminating disincentives for individuals to go to work.

This is certainly one of the most pressing issues facing the nation. But it receives almost no coverage from the so-called mainstream media.

What will it take for the media and citizens to wake up? Will it take 50% of all citizens receiving food stamps? 75%?

Americans have become obsessed with the “1%” and “99%.” They should instead focus on the 17% taking from the 83%. That is a statistic worth protesting in our public parks.

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23 thoughts on “1/6 Of Population Now On Food Stamps – Is There Any End In Sight?

  1. Mark L says:

    I’m a landlord with 12 rental units, and at least half of my tenants are on food stamps (EBT). The majority of them drive better cars than I do, they all have big-screen TVs and multiple game consoles, most drink and smoke incessantly, and none of them have any reason to get off the couch and look for work. Seeing the ads promoting this (often) fraudulent program infuriates me!!!

    1. DPW Brothers says:

      I too, am a landlord, and my tenant gets food stamps, section 8 housing, and drives a Cadillac. Not even kidding.

      1. the dave says:

        Yeah and god forbid their not living in squalor like they should be – how dare they try to have some semblence of a life? I guess your comment would be nicer if they were starving on the street – like they should be, huh?

    2. the dave says:

      Landlords just take advantage of other people. Not much to be proud of – I’m glad your tenants are doing okay. How many people have you thrown on the street in your day?

    3. the dave says:

      BTW – Goldman Sachs profits handsomely on food stamps. the more people in need – the more profits for the criminals.

  2. Steve P says:

    “Americans have become obsessed with the 1% and 99%. They should instead focus on the 17% taking from the 83%.” GREAT QUOTE, KRISTIN!

    1. deckard says:

      Not really a great quote. That would be akin to mopping the floor constantly while there is a big leak right above your head. You gotto fix the main leak. The rest will take care of itself.

  3. longbeach93 says:

    follow the money – the poor are just a straw that big corporate suck future taxpayer money out of. Why bother competing in a normal economy when big corporate can take future dollars and put them into their pockets now? There is no limit to future money so that is why the government goes and spends 1 trillion more a year than we even have.. why not just spend 10 trillion now and make them more rich? The more food stamps, the more food sold and the prices can go higher. If you took it all away everything would crash and find their real dollar value.

  4. longbeach93 says:

    follow the money – the poor are just a straw that big corporate suck future taxpayer money out of. Why bother competing in a normal economy when big corporate can take future dollars and put them into their pockets now? There is no limit to future money so that is why the government goes and spends 1 trillion more a year than we even have.. why not just spend 10 trillion now and make them more rich? The more food stamps, the more food sold and the prices can go higher. If you took it all away everything would crash and find their real dollar value.

  5. Trey V says:

    Great assembly of facts and analysis. A subject many speculate on but now here are the facts and statistics. I work for the fed govt and feel guilty of even the travel compensation entitlements to cover costs of work… These people get more entitlements than that, did nothing for it, and feel no guilt at all; in fact it “is a great way to eat right” according to the ad. Sad but not surprising. Thanks Kristin.

  6. Margaret says:

    There is nothing “comfortable” about food stamps for me. It is a necessary evil. I am a divorced mother of two young children. I have a college education and my full time job does not pay enough for us to live on. You will never understand the need for food stamps until you are stuck in the financial situation that requires them. I am so tired of hearing the same old arguments that people on food stamps dont want to get jobs. I have been employed full time the entire time. I am not proud of being on food stamps but I thank GOD they are there.

  7. anonymous says:

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    A new book on 9/11 is out.

    Dimitri Khalezov has spent 10 years researching and writing a book on what happened during 9/11. The book is now available on the internet. Download links:

    Or read at:

    In a 2010 interview, Khalezov explained that you can’t build a skyscraper in NYC without an approved demolition plan. On 9/11, the WTC’s demolition plan was put into action to demolish the complex.

    Khalezov learned of this demolition plan from his job in the Soviet Union. He had worked in the nuclear intelligence unit and under an agreement between the Soviet Union and the USA, each country was obliged to inform the other of peaceful uses of nuclear explosions. The WTC was constructed with 3 thermo-nuclear charges deep in its foundations.

    Note: underground nuclear explosions do not produce mushroom clouds. This is only ever seen when the explosion takes place above ground. On 9/11, the explosions were deep underground.

    More info (with links to 2010 interview):
    http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/esp_sociopol_911_154.htm
    Video # 4 – WTC’s demolition plan
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    The videos of this interview can be downloaded from Khalezov’s website: http://www.911-truth.net/

    Khalezov was interviewed on 4 Sept 2013:
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  8. eface says:

    This article is despicable. Why is the idea of the government ensuring that hungry people can eat so threatening. A significant segment of our population go hungry every day, which should only be seen as a sign of failure as a society.

    As for the ads, lets look at the real messages they send. The radio ad is not just saying, “You will look amazing if you buy food stamps,” it is encouraging healthful eating among poor people. Healthy, quality food is often out of the budget of poor people. It is not a coincidence that obesity and poverty have been linked. Fast food and junk food are cheap, so many poor people live off of them. This is ad is actually an attempt from the government to address an important public heath issue.

    The goal of the flyers printed in Spanish is feeding children. FEEDING CHILDREN. In both of these cases the author emphasizes the sensationalist aspects of her examples, without admitting to the very real problems that the food stamps program is trying to address.

    I agree that there should be oversight and control of government spending. However, what the author does not address is where the money spent by the program is going. The poor are blamed for being lazy, and the government is blamed for being wasteful, but there is no mention of the food industry that is undoubtedly profiting from food stamp expenditures.

    There are problems with the food stamp program, but that does not discredit its importance and usefulness. A discussion of these issues should include all parties involved, not just blaming the government and poor people.

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