Sunday, December 06, 2009

Food Stamps Stimulate the Economy.

In the New York Times article, Food Stamp Use Soars, and Stigma Fades by Jason DeParle and Robert Gebloff last week, Greg Dawson (left) said he "considers himself lucky to still have work, as a night-shift electrician installing lights in a chain of grocery stores. He lives in the house he's building in Martinsville, Ohio, with his wife, Sheila, and their five children, and they get a $300 benefit through the food stamps program. "It's embarrassing," said Mr. Dawson, 29. "I always thought it was people trying to milk the system. But we just felt like we really needed the help right now."

Food stamp use soared under President George W. Bush, up more than 1/3 in the last two years, with some states reporting up to a 75-80% increase; an additional 10 million people have been added to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) bringing the total number to 36 ½ million. That's 20,000 new people added each day...one in eight Americans...one in four children depending on the US government for sustenance. An additional 15 million people could benefit because as of now, the food stamps program reaches only 2/3 of the people who are eligible.

The profile of individual on food stamps has changed. Its not just the chronically poor any more. The education and employment levels have risen showing a sharp increase of people applying who are further up the economic scale.

It's a complex formula for deciding who gets SNAP, but in a nutshell, eligibility ranges up to 130% of the poverty threshold. For a family of four, that's $22,000 per year which translates to about $26,000 per year to qualify for SNAP. A family of four would receive approximately $520 per family or $130 per person.

The cost of the entire program is share by local, state and federal funds, however food stamps in and of itself is an economic stimulus. Every $1 spent translates to $1.82 in economic activity. Not only is the dollar immediately spent because food is a necessity, that same dollar in turn helps to pay the salaries of the grocery clerks, the truckers who haul the food, and finally the farmers.

Links:

Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

An interactive map of food stamp usage around the country

Snap To Market is the NY Farmers Market EBT/Food Stamp/SNAP program allows hundreds of farmers markets to accept SNAP (food stamps)

1 comments:

Anonymous,  20:21  

It is terrible what is happening to Americans. There is so much poverty in our country. I hope this post can help some of those in need.

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