Is this the new normal? The number of people enrolled in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka "food stamps") has doubled to 47 million people in the past ten years. Perhaps more disturbingly, the number of people on the program increased during a period of economic growth, something that has never happened before.
Poverty used to fall in tandem with the jobless rate, reducing the need for food stamps but the researchers found poverty did not decline as the economy grew in the mid-2000s -- and in the recovery following the Great Recession, the number of people receiving food stamps kept rising.
The assumption has always been a stronger labor market would reduce the need for food stamps, the economists said, but the new trend suggests rising employment might no longer be enough.
SNAP is also being expanded in several states to include food from restaurants. Gift baskets that include both food and non-food items are also eligible to be purchased with SNAP, provided certain requirements are met.
It is a disturbing trend that more and more people are relying on the government for food, even when economic times are good. It is also disturbing that the government is encouraging enrollment—and reliance—on their programs. EBT Bingo games occur in Rhode Island to enroll residents in the program.
Over 78 million dollars are spent each year on SNAP. Despite claims that nearly 18 million Americans are "food insecure," research has shown that there is a positive correlation between poverty and obesity.