Tag Archive: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program


ZeroHedge

The “Real” America: Near Record 20% Struggle To Afford Food, Highest Since Crisis Began

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With US equity markets on a 7-day roll and excited TV anchors proclaiming the worst over and new all-time highs must signal recovery as they ‘celebrate’ five years on from Lehman, the following two charts of the state of real America should open a few eyes to just how blinded American has become to the truth (unless you live it). A stunning 20.0% of Americans were found to have struggled to afford food in the last year – surging in recent months to its highest since the peak of the crisis in 2008 – as American’s ability to consistently afford food has not recovered to pre-recession levels. Furthermore, Americans access to basic needs (13 factors including housing, healthcare, and food) hovers near record lows – dramatically lower than pre-recession levels. The Gallup polls point to a very different image of American than Dow 15,000 – and is set to get worse as the food stamp program is set to be cut in November.

More Americans are struggling to afford food — nearly as many as did during the recent recession. The 20.0% who reported in August that they have, at times, lacked enough money to buy the food that they or their families needed during the past year, is up from 17.7% in June, and is the highest percentage recorded since October 2011. The percentage who struggle to afford food now is close to the peak of 20.4% measured in November 2008, as the global economic crisis unfolded.

Americans remain as likely to have access to basic necessities in general now as they were in October 2011, when it was at its lowest point. The Basic Access Index, which includes 13 questions about topics including Americans’ ability to afford food, housing, and healthcare, was 81.4 in August, on par with the all-time low of 81.2 recorded in October 2011.

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POLITICO

Eric Cantor is pictured. | AP Photo

Cantor’s goal is to have legislation in hand for a House vote by September. | AP Photo

House Republicans are proposing to double their food stamp savings to nearly $40 billion by rolling back waivers for able-bodied adults and targeting funds to states that are willing to impose greater work requirements on the parents of young children.

The prime mover is Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) who helped jettison the nutrition title from the House farm bill last month and is now trying to write his own version before the House goes to conference with the Senate.

Cantor has used a select working group of conservatives to help shape the package but shows signs now of reaching out to party moderates as well. And his goal is to have legislation in hand which the House can vote on in early September when it returns from the August recess.

The prime target appears to be able-bodied beneficiaries under 50 years old and without dependents — a population that has grown significantly since 2008 because of the bad economy and increased state waivers of a 20-hour-a-week work requirement.

By rolling back these waivers, large savings are possible, essentially by forcing millions off the rolls if they don’t find work after three months. Unless approached with some care, the impact could be severe in areas of chronically high-unemployment, such as the Rio Grande Valley, poor urban areas and Indian reservations, for example. And the final details of the bill have not been made public.

A second area of more modest but still controversial savings would come from using federal funds to pressure states to take a more aggressive welfare reform-like approach imposing work requirements on able-bodied parents with young children.

Currently Washington provides a 50 percent match for states that spend their own funds for employment and training programs for food stamp recipients. As proposed now, the bill would only provide this aid if the state is willing to operate welfare reform-like work activities for mothers with children over 1- years-old.

This is a significant expansion of the current food stamps work rules, which exempt mothers with children under 6.

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BLOOMBERG

House Passes Republican Farm-Policy Bill Without Food Stamp Aid

Farmer Bill Maupin, left, confers with landowner Norman Sandelbach while inspecting freshly planted corn seeds in a field outside of Henry, Illinois.

House Republicans passed a five-year U.S. farm-policy bill that retains subsidies to farmers and strips out food-stamp spending, costing it Democratic support.

The plan was approved today 216-208, with all Democrats and 12 Republicans in opposition. The measure also would repeal underlying provisions that potentially would double milk prices when a new law isn’t passed. The measure, scaled back after the House defeated a bill that included food stamps three weeks ago, is “extremely flawed,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Farmer Bill Maupin, left, confers with landowner Norman Sandelbach while inspecting freshly planted corn seeds in a field outside of Henry, Illinois. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

“The bill passed by the House today is not a real farm bill and is an insult to rural America,” the Michigan Democrat, who will lead Senate negotiators to work out a final bill with House lawmakers, said in a statement after the vote.

The legislation, which benefits crop buyers such as Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM) and insurers including Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), has been working through Congress for almost two years. The Senate on June 10 passed S. 954, a plan that would cost $955 billion over a decade. Current law begins to expire Sept. 30.

The Obama administration has threatened to veto the farm measure that excludes food stamp and nutrition programs.

Action Stymied

House action has been stymied largely by disagreements on food stamps. The legislation rejected last month, H.R. 1947, would cut spending on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, responsible for more than three-quarters of the bill’s costs, by about 2.5 percent, roughly $2 billion a year. Democrats who balked at the reductions joined Republicans objecting to the plan’s cost to scuttle the bill. Republican leaders revived the measure in scaled-back form.

The stripped-down plan gained support from Republicans willing to deal with food stamps later. “It’s not a secret I am not a fan of the farm bill,” said Representative Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican who opposed the June version and supported the bill today. “I’ve learned around here that you rarely get to vote for success but you can vote for progress.”

 

 

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democracynow democracynow·

Published on May 30, 2013

http://www.democracynow.org – As Republicans move to cut billions of dollars in funding for food stamps, a new report finds one in six Americans live in a household that cannot afford adequate food. In “Nourishing Change: Fulfilling the Right to Food in the United States,” the International Human Rights Clinic at New York University’s School of Law reports that of these 50 million people going hungry, nearly 17 million are children. Food insecurity has skyrocketed since the economic downturn, with an additional 14 million people classified as food insecure in 2011 than in 2007. The report comes as Congress is renegotiating the Farm Bill and proposing serious cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. Millions of Americans currently rely on the program to feed themselves and their families. The report’s co-author, Smita Narula of the International Human Rights Clinic at NYU’s School of Law, joins us to discuss her findings and why she is calling on the U.S. government to ensure that all Americans have access to sufficient, nutritious food.

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/5/30/as_lawmakers_target_food_stamp_funding

 

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Food stamp cuts hurt the economy and taxpayers along with the poor

Posted Tuesday, May. 28, 2013

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/05/28/4889196/food-stamp-cuts-hurt-the-economy.html#storylink=cpy

To hear Republicans — and some Democrats — in Congress talk, you’d think food-stamp dollars just disappear into a black hole. The prevailing debate in the Senate and House versions of the farm bill, which contains funding for food stamps (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP), is over how much to cut.

But when more than 15 percent of Americans remain impoverished, slashing food assistance for the poor makes no sense in humanitarian, economic or public-health terms.

The House bill which is gaining steam after passage by the Agriculture Committee last week, is the more draconian of the two. It would chop $20 billion over 10 years from SNAP, and its changes to food-stamp eligibility rules would cut off vital sustenance for about 2 million low-income people, including seniors and families with children.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, 210,000 children in low-income families would lose their free school meals under the House plan.

The Senate version would cut far less, though a final figure will be hashed out by a conference committee in June. But the attacks on food assistance for the poor are deeply misguided and are only going to get worse.

The proposed House budget from Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., seeks to gut food stamps by an additional $135 billion through block grants to states.

Yet government and other studies clearly show that food stamps are among the most wisely spent public dollars, providing essential nourishment and public health benefits to low-income people as well as economic stimulus to rural and urban communities.

These are returns on spending that you won’t find in the corporate tax giveaways and military spending boondoggles routinely supported by both political parties. even as they scream for austerity when it comes to slashing “entitlements” and food assistance for the poor.

The Trust for America’s Health, a health advocacy organization that focuses on disease prevention, warned recently of the consequences of cutting food stamps: “If the nation continues to underfund vital public health programs, we will never achieve long-term fiscal stability, as it will be impossible to help people get/stay healthy, happy and productive.”

Indeed, According to a 2011 study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “research shows that low-income households participating in SNAP have access to more food energy, protein and a broad array of essential vitamins and minerals in their home food supply compared to eligible nonparticipants.”

 

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college

by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer

 

(NaturalNews) Shelling out tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for higher education may no longer be the surefire path to a great career that it used to be. A recent report compiled by the education resource group OnlineColleges.net found that more than 300,000 Americans with either Master’s degrees or Ph.D.s were receiving food stamps in 2010 — and many more are likely on some form of government assistance today as economic conditions since that time have only continued to worsen.

To give a point of reference as to how bad the situation truly is, there were fewer than 100,000 Americans with Master’s degrees or Ph.D.s on food stamps in 2007, which means the overall number of people with extensive college educations on government assistance more than tripled in just three years. And if this trend continued at the same rate between 2010 and 2013, the total number of college educated on government assistance today has easily eclipsed more than half a million, and with no end in sight.

By Michael,
The Economic Collapse

The Federal Government Hands Out Money To 128 Million Americans Every MonthThe number of Americans receiving money directly from the federal government has grown from 94 million in the year 2000 to over 128 million today.  A shocking new research paper by Patrick Tyrrell and William W. Beach contains that statistic and a whole bunch of other very revealing numbers.  According to their research, the federal government hands out money to 41.3 percent of the entire population of the United States each month.  Overall, more than 70 percent of all federal spending goes to what they call “dependence-creating programs”.  It is the most massive wealth redistribution scheme in the history of the world, and it continues to grow at a very rapid pace with each passing month.  But can we really afford this?  Of course we never want to see a single person go without food to eat or a roof to sleep under, but can the federal government really afford to support 128 million Americans every month?  If millions more Americans keep jumping on to the “safety net” each year, how long will it be before it breaks and it is not there for anyone?  The federal government is already drowning in debt.  This year the U.S. national debt will easily blow past the 17 trillion dollar mark and we are rapidly heading toward financial oblivion.  We are stealing more than 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day with no end in sight.  If we don’t get our finances in order as a nation, what will the end result be?

According to Tyrrell and Beach, federal spending on entitlement programs has been rising more than 6 times as fast as population growth has in recent years…

Between 1988 and 2011, spending on dependence-creating federal government programs has increased 180 percent versus “only” a 62 percent increase in the number of people who are enrolled in federal government programs, and a 27 percent increase in the population. Not only are more people enrolled in government programs than ever before, but more US taxpayer dollars are being spent on each recipient every year.

But even though the numbers that Tyrrell and Beach present in their paper are incredibly shocking, the truth is that they have probably underestimated the true scope of government dependence in America today.  Just consider the following numbers…

Food Stamps

Back in the year 2000, there were about 17 million Americans on food stamps.  That number has exploded to more than 47 million today.

Medicaid

If you can believe it, today more than 70 million Americans are on Medicaid, and it is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

Social Security

Right now, there are more than 53 million Americans on Social Security, and that number is projected to absolutely explode as huge waves of Baby Boomers retire in the coming years.

Medicare

As I wrote about in a previous article, the number of Americans on Medicare is expected to grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.

And those are only four examples of government programs that have seen their numbers explode in recent years.  There are so many more that could be mentioned.  Overall, the federal government runs nearly 80 different “means-tested welfare programs“, and almost all of them are experiencing explosive growth.

So is the “128 million” figure that Tyrrell and Beach have come up with actually too low?  I believe that it is.  But in any event, nobody can deny that the “welfare state” in the U.S. has absolutely mushroomed in size since the turn of the century.

According to one recent poll, 55 percent of all Americans say that they have received money from a safety net program run by the federal government at some point in their lives.  We are a nation that has become very comfortable leaning on Uncle Sam for help.

And poor people from all around the globe see how good things are here and they are eager to get a seat at the table.  In a previous article, I talked about a federal government website (“WelcomeToUSA.gov“) that actually teaches new immigrants how to apply for welfare once they are able to get into the United States.

Will we all eventually becoming dependent on the government?  If that happens will we still be free men and women?

Once someone is dependent on the government, they become forced to do what the government tells them to do in order to survive.  If we all eventually become dependent on the federal government, how much power will that give them over us?

That is something to think about.

Another thing to ponder is how the U.S. middle class is rapidly disappearing.

There will always be poor people, and we should always take care of them, but what we should be truly alarmed about is how the middle class in America has been dramatically shrinking in recent years.

One of the biggest reasons why so many Americans are applying for government assistance these days is because there simply aren’t enough jobs for everyone.  Politicians from both political parties have fully embraced the one world “free trade” economic agenda of the global elite, and as a result millions of our jobs are being shipped out of the country.  Big corporations can either choose to pay U.S. workers a living wage with benefits, or they can choose to set up shop on the other side of the globe where it is legal to pay workers slave labor wages with no benefits.  Plus there are much fewer taxes and regulations to deal with typically on the other side of the globe.

As long as this nation pursues this “one world economic agenda”, there will never be enough jobs in the United States ever again.  Chronic unemployment will become the new normal.  Our formerly great manufacturing cities will continue to degenerate into gang-infested war zones.

Apologists for the current system continue to insist that the answer is “more education”, but the truth is that government dependence is even exploding among those with advanced degrees.  The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article on The Chronicle Of Higher Education

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Mayor Cory Booker to Live off Food Stamps For A Week

 

Booker proposed the challenge after getting into a Twitter discussion with a user named TwitWit, who describes herself on Twitter as a “Daughter of the American Revolution, fighting against any and all forms of socialism/communism.. Army Veteran, Army Daughter, Army Wife.”

At first, Booker had tweeted a Greek proverb:

An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.

TwitWit accused Booker of wanting to redistribute wealth, and then the two eventually began talking about the government’s role in funding school breakfast and lunch programs. TwitWit stated that nutrition is not the responsibility of the government.

Booker responded:

We have a shared responsibility that kids go to school nutritionally ready 2 learn.

Eventually the conversation turned to food stamps when TwitWit wrote:

why is there a family today that is “too poor to afford breakfast”? are they not already receiving food stamps?

That’s when Booker followed up with the challenge:

Lets you and I try to live on food stamps in New Jersey (high cost of living) and feed a family for a week or month. U game?

TwitWit agreed to the challenge.

In New Jersey, according the 2011 fiscal year, the average monthly food stamp benefit was $133.26 a person. Meaning, those taking the challenge will have to live on about $4 dollars a day.

According to the Associated Press, Booker told reporters, “This will not be a gimmick or a stunt,” but provides an opportunity “for us to grow in compassion and understanding” and dispel stereotypes. A few months ago, a Phoenix Mayor also tried to live on a food stamp budget and noted that he was “tired” and it was “hard to focus.”

The AP also landed an interview with TwitWit, who is a 39-year-old woman from North Carolina and who said she does not oppose food stamps, but thinks that the more taxpayer money designated to the food stamp program, the more people will need them.

She told the AP, “There is going to be a lot more of us needing those food stamps if it doesn’t stop.”

Ironically, she seemed in need of some financial relief as well, stating that her family is “Six months away from being in debt and on welfare ourselves.”

She added, “Most of us are in the same boat. … Some of us just aren’t getting the assistance.”

Meanwhile, FOX News has reported on Booker’s challenge with an extreme insensitivity toward food stamp recipients.

Media Matters reported that FOX pundit Andrea Tantaros disgustingly said she “would ‘look fabulous’ if she were forced to on a food stamp diet.”

Watch the video here:

By Michael,

With everything else that is going on in the world, a lot of people have failed to notice that we are seeing some of the worst economic numbers that we have seen in more than a year.  For example, it was announced on Thursday that initial claims for unemployment benefits have hit their highest level in a year and a half.  Hopefully this is just a temporary blip in the data, because initial unemployment claims tend to have a very strong correlation with the overall performance of the economy.  We also continue to see poverty statistics rise.  According to government statistics released earlier this month, the number of Americans living in poverty and the number of Americans on food stamps are both at all-time record highs.  Meanwhile, the Dow and the S&P 500 are both down more than 5 percent since the election and the U.S. government rolled up 22 billion dollars more debt in October 2012 than it did in October 2011.  The unfortunate truth is that things are not getting better.  The U.S. economy continues to become weaker and more unstable, and there are a whole lot of reasons to be very pessimistic about our economic situation as we move into the winter months.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the troubling economic numbers that have been released in recent days…

Initial Claims For Unemployment Benefits

The optimism that many analysts had about jobs is rapidly dissipating.  Over the past few weeks there has been a huge wave of companies announcing layoffs.  Just check out this article and this article.

But now we are actually seeing a significant rise in the number of American workers applying for unemployment benefits.  Initial claims for unemployment benefits soared to 439,000 for the week ending November 10th.  This is the highest level that we have seen in more than a year.  The last time initial claims were this high was April 2011.  It is interesting to note that the largest numbers of new unemployment claims came from the swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Record Food Stamp Numbers

In dozens of articles I have carefully documented the steady rise of poverty in America and the steady decline of the middle class.

Even though our politicians insist that we are in the middle of an “economic recovery”, the number of Americans dependent on the government for their very survival just continues to keep going up.

A few days ago, the latest food stamp numbers were released.  It turns out that the number of Americans on food stamps increased by 420,947 from July to August.  That was the largest one month increase that we have seen in a year.  At this point, an all-time record 47.1 million Americans are enrolled in the food stamp program.  What would that look like if all of those people had to actually stand outside in bread lines like in the old days?

Stunning Stock Market Declines

A few days ago, I wrote about how many wealthy Americans are dumping stocks and other financial assets in anticipation of the looming “fiscal cliff”.

Well, if things get much worse we may soon have a “market crash” on our hands.

The Dow and the S&P 500 are both down by more than 5 percent since the election and many are wondering if things are about to get a whole lot worse.

Shares of Apple are down by 25 percent since late September.  Some analysts are actually using the term “panic selling” to describe what is happening to the stock.

Slowing Economic Activity

All over America there are indications that economic activity is starting to slow down.  Is Superstorm Sandy responsible for this, or are there other factors at work?

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, economic activity appears to be contracting in areas that were hit particularly hard by Superstorm Sandy…

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index was minus 5.2 this month after minus 6.2 in October. Readings of less than zero signal contraction in New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut.

Things appear to be slowing down in the mid-Atlantic region as well.  According to CNBC, manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region has contracted much faster than analysts were projecting…

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index slumped to -10.7 from 5.7 the month before. The fall was much steeper than economists’ expectations for slippage to a reading of 2.0, according to a Reuters poll.

Any reading above zero indicates expansion in the region’s manufacturing. The survey covers factories in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware.

 

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Politics, Legislation and Economy News

Economic News  :  Jobs  / Unemployment / Rising Costs /Poverty

By Desert Rose

Family Survival Protocol

Aer773English: Logo of the .

 Public Domain  images

Unemployment is idling, making it difficult to reduce the number of food-stamp recipients.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack mentioned last month that people are going back to work, and there are jobs being added.  They just aren’t being added as quickly as some would like

After a short period where it seemed  the number of food stamp recipients might have peaked, with those living in poverty having reached a maximum of 46.514 million in the last month of 2011.  Decreasing slightly for the next few months, June has seen a renewed uptick in the number of Americans living in poverty, making them eligible for food stamps.  With approximately  173,000 new applicants entering the system, bringing it to an all time high of almost 47 million and gaining momentum.

Participation was up 0.4 percent from May and 3.3 percent higher than the  previous year  as the  unemployment rate stayed higher than 8 percent.  Some  dispute  the  veracity  of those numbers stating that they  are ignoring those who have  stopped looking for jobs or those who have become homeless as a consequence of having lost their jobs in this ordeal and are no longer  being factored into the statistics.  Bringing the  true number to 15 percent or higher.   New jobless numbers will be released Sept. 7.

Reductions to the program have also been presented as a point of contention in debate over a farm bill which would replace the current law which expires Sept. 30. The U.S. Senate passed a plan in  June that would lower spending by $4 billion over a 10 year period.  The House Agriculture Committee  backed a $16 billion cut in July.

Today’s report shows the two  largest states, California and Texas, had the most food stamp recipients . California with 4 million, a 0.8 percent gain from the previous month and 7.3 percent more than the previous year. Texas was in second place, while down 0.4 percent from one month earlier and 1.4 percent lower than the previous year.

Louisiana and North Carolina, where the DNC will be held this week for the nomination of Barack Obama, have seen the largest monthly increases in enrollment, 1.3 percent. Enrollment declined in Utah, down 1.4 percent from May, followed by Idaho and Ohio.

The USDA states that approximately 47 percent of recipients are children, and 8 percent are elderly.   With approximately  half of all new recipients leaving the program within 10 months.