I'm planning to 'get on board' myself. As soon as I find out where to apply, I'm joining the SFN crowd, so I can wallow in the comforts of the tax payer's largesse. I'm ready to enjoy the fruits of the Obama 'stash'.
After a year of indecisive movement, one of the most depressing indicators of all has hit another record high...
The total number of Americans on food stamps in September was 47,710,324, according to the Agriculture Department. The average recipient was collecting $134.29 per month.
Hmmm... That works out to about $77 billion a year.
In the Great Correction era, food stamps are what get all the publicity when it comes to federal poverty programs. The growth looks scary-big on a chart, and there's a visceral quality to the notion of Americans gathering at a 24-hour Wal-Mart at 11:45 p.m. the last night of the month... waiting for their EBT cards to be reloaded at midnight.
But there are other federal poverty programs whose rolls... and costs... have also grown big-time since 2008.
- Medicaid. Enrollment has swelled from 49 million in 2008 to 56 million today. Tab: The feds' share was roughly $240 billion in fiscal 2012 and is set to explode; 16 million more Americans will be added to the rolls by 2019 under "Obamacare"
- Extended unemployment. Two million people collect these benefits, first enacted by President Bush in 2008. These are straight-up transfer payments that kick in after the first 26 weeks of benefits -- paid for by employer/employee premiums -- run out. These benefits are due to expire at year-end and have thus gotten tangled up in all the fiscal cliff sturm und drang. Tab: $44 billion if extended for another year
- Social Security disability. The number of Americans collecting these benefits has more than doubled... from 4.9 million in 2009 to 10.8 million as of last August. Some of these recipients began collecting when their extended unemployment ran out. Tab: $190 billion in fiscal year 2012.
Into this dizzying and depressing array of numbers, we add one more: $42 billion. That's the amount of money generated by letting the "Bush tax cuts" expire on families making over $250,000.
The figure we've cited up to now is $70 billion. But buried in a Congressional Budget Office report last summer was the revised $42 billion. (In theory, that number would grow steadily to total $824 billion over 10 years. Right.)
Add up the total spending on food stamps, Medicaid, extended unemployment and Social Security disability... and you get $551 billion. The $42 billion extracted from "the 1%" (more like 3%) would cover 8 cents of every dollar of spending under those four anti-poverty programs.