Sunday, August 7, 2011

SNAP! Intermission (from other concerns) for the Poor

I learned Friday on a Fox News crawl line that a record number of Americans are now receiving food stamps, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In May, there were 45.75 million recipients of the aid, up 2.5% from the previous month and 12% from May of 2010.

Food stamps are now called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and are now used by 21,581,234 households.

Much of the 1.1 million increase from April 2011 comes from the state of Alabama, in which food stamp usage shot up 120% from 868,000 to 1,762,000. New Jersey, Nevada and North Carolina all saw jumps in the 20% range. Every state posted a percentage increase, save North Dakota , which was essentially flat (where they are in an oil and gas boom).

The past three fiscal years have show a tremendous growth of SNAP usage. [All figures are approximate.]  In 2008, 28.2 million people used food stamps which grew to 33.5 million in 2009 and 40.3 million in 2010. In order to be eligible for SNAP, a single person must make less than $1,174 a month.  A family of four would need to make less than $28,000 a year; a senior couple less than $14,600. A single person can get as much as $200 a month in food stamps; and a family of four can get about $600.  Other factors apply, e.g., whether or not someone in the family is over 65 or disabled.

And this is a huge discretionary federal budget item that certain people would like to cut.  Imagine a country with more and more hungry people with less aid, fewer jobs, less unemployment benefits, no investment for further growth, etc. The population of the United States is around 311,907,122, meaning that almost 15 percent of U.S. residents use food stamps.

And of course, 30,000 children died in Somalia last month.  So how is your 401k doing?  How much will you save if the Bush tax cuts aren’t renewed?  And what is really important again?  For all of you who dislike politics, THIS is politics – how we decide who gets what and for what purposes.

If these things are not addressed at your church this morning, you should find another church.  Or stand up in church and tell the others about how the poor and hungry ought to come first.

1 comment:

castaway said...

Thanks ... well said.