45.5 Million on Foodstamps

I am glad that there are only 6 of us in my family. If there were 7, then one of us would be on foodstamps:

Nearly 15% of the U.S. population relied on food stamps in May, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

The number of Americans using the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — more commonly referred to as food stamps — shot to an all-time high of 45.8 million in May, the USDA reported. That’s up 12% from a year ago, and 34% higher than two years ago.

Of course, this has a rational explanation:

But a spike in food stamp users in Alabama may have been responsible for pushing total usage unusually higher in May. Following a series of devastating storms, many residents received disaster assistance under the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the USDA said. Food stamp use in the state surged from 868,813 in April to 1,762,481 in May.

“USDA does not anticipate that trend of increase to continue, given that it appears to represent a response to a single disaster,” the USDA said.

The massive increase in housing assistance after Katrina was also response to a single disaster. We are still paying for the results of a disaster that happened over 6 years ago.

Tell me why the existing baseline defined for foodstamp assistance should be any different?

For May, the average foodstamp assistance was $133.80 per individual. That is a little over 6.1 billion dollars in one month or just under 50 billion in one year. For one assistance program. One.

For the month of May, our family spent a total of $843.32 on all foodstuffs (eat in, eat out). That’s $140.55 per person. Since we were traveling as a family for 12 days that month, the numbers may be a bit skewed. June (no road trips) had total food costs of $585.67, or $97.61 per person.

I’m sure that incentives have nothing do do with this at all.