Monday, August 30, 2010

Americans Seek Anti-Poverty Assistance in Record Numbers.

Government anti-poverty programs now serve a national record one in six Americans and are continuing to expand to meet the growing need.  More than 50 million Americans are on Medicaid, up at least 17% since the recession began in December 2007. The number of food stamp recipients increased 50% to more than 40 million people. Unemployment insurance pays nearly 10 million Americans, a 400% increase, and 4.4 million people are on welfare, up 18%.

At the same time, Senate Plans to Cut SNAP (Food Stamp) Benefits, despite the fact that the food stamps program is one of the most effective forms of economic stimulus in the Recovery Act as it helps to boost the economy.

Recipients are highly likely to spend the money quickly, "producing a snowball effect that helped keep the downturn from turning into an even deeper recession. 80% of all food stamp benefits are redeemed within two weeks of receipt, and 97% are spent within a month, so this is an efficient mechanism for pumping spending into a sagging economy."
Low-income individuals have no choice but to spend all of the money they receive to meet daily needs such as food, shelter, food, and transportation, whereas the wealthy can afford to hoard it away, and research has proven that's exactly what they do.  Low-income spending helps sustain local businesses and  ripples throughout the entire economy. 
Moody's Economy.com estimates that for every dollar the Recovery Act spent on the temporary increase in food stamp benefits, the Gross Domestic Product increased by $1.74, making it the strongest stimulus provision that Moody's assessed.[7] USDA estimates the multiplier at $1.84.
Action Needed

Tell Congress: Please support child nutrition reauthorization, but do not fund it through cuts to SNAP/food stamp benefits.

Call your U.S. senators at 1-800-826-3688 and tell them:

* This is a real cut in monthly benefits, with real consequences for real people. Never before have SNAP benefits been lowered from one period to the next. In one Senate plan, the maximum food stamp allotment for a family of four will fall by $59 per month in June 2014.
* Even with the ARRA boost in benefits, the average SNAP participant receives only $4.50 per day to help pay for groceries.
* Kids lose if the SNAP cuts happen: Nearly 80% of SNAP benefits go to households with children. These benefit cuts would affect tens of millions of the country’s neediest children.
* In 15 states, as many as one in five or one in six people receive SNAP benefits. These states include Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, and New Mexico.
Hunger and Poverty Facts:
* 14.6% of U.S. households struggle to put enough food on the table. More than 49 million Americans—including 16.7 million children—live in these households.
Source: Household Food Security in the United States, 2008. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, November 2009. 
* Nearly one in four children is at risk of hunger. Among African-Americans and Latinos, one in three children is at risk of hunger.

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