Daniel Doherty
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Put another way, 20 percent of U.S. households are on food stamps. What could possibly go wrong? Via CNS News:

The latest available data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows that a record number 23 million households in the United States are now on food stamps.

The most recent Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP) statistics of the number of households receiving food stamps shows that 23,087,886 households participated in January 2013 - an increase of 889,154 families from January 2012 when the number of households totaled 22,188,732.

The most recent statistics from the United States Census Bureau-- from December 2012-- puts the number of households in the United States at 115,310,000. If you divide 115,310,000 by 23,087,866, that equals one out of every five households now receiving food stamps.

As CNSNews.com previously reported, food stamp rolls in America recently surpassed the population of Spain. A record number 47,692,896 Americans are now enrolled in the program and the cost of food stamp fraud has more than doubled in just three years.

This is a huge problem, to put it nicely. Not only are tens of millions of Americans relying on government subsidies to feed themselves, but even worse, food stamp fraud is widespread and evidently getting worse. In New York, for example, it is not uncommon for recipients to use EBT cards to purchase alcohol, strippers, and yes, lap dances. There seems to be zero accountability and transparency in many of our cities and states. Why is this not surprising?

Obviously, I am not opposed to bestowing federal benefits on the poor to subsidize their basic needs -- that’s precisely what SNAP was designed for -- but c’mon. Do 47 million Americans really need to be on food stamps? What’s more, does the Left really expect me -- or anyone else, for that matter -- to believe that every single one of these individuals would suffer or starve or even die without government aid? After all, welfare didn’t even exist for most of our country’s history. Faith-based organizations and concerned citizens for centuries took care of the poor and destitute, fostering a culture of compassion that has all but disappeared in recent years, only to be replaced by -- you guessed it -- the welfare state. So how exactly is that working out for us? Last time I checked poverty rates are on the rise, and food stamp usage merely begets more food stamp recipients. Splendid.

It goes without saying that this program needs to be thoroughly reviewed and reformed, and that starts, first and foremost, by preventing government bureaucrats from actively recruiting would-be recipients. The program, in theory, should only be reserved for those who truly need it. But apparently, such a simple and commonsensical idea is too radical even to be considered, much less implemented. Maybe when, say, 100 million Americans are collecting food stamps we’ll finally get somewhere -- and acknowledge, once and for all, that this is a problem. Until then, though, I suspect the EBT gravy train is only going to get more crowded.

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Daniel Doherty

Daniel Doherty is Townhall's Deputy News Editor. Follow him on Twitter @danpdoherty.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography