Food Stamp Usage Is Increasing

Posted: Nov 10, 2011 10:46 AM

I'm a little late (ok a lot late) in posting this, but in case you missed it, food stamp enrollment reached yet another new high, with 45.8 million recipients. 15% of the population is now receiving food stamp benefits.

What reminded me of this report is Debbie Wasserman Schultz's recent Twitter debate with Townhall over the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as food stamps). Ms Wasserman Schultz, along with at least ten other Democrats are participating in the "Food Stamp Challenge", in which out of touch members of Congress eat on an average food stamp budget for one week. This is meant to show the difficulty of living on a food stamp budget and protest cuts to federal nutrition programs.
My question to Food Stamp Challenge participants is: what cuts, exactly, are you protesting? It's a little awkward that their PR campaign comes at a time when payments from their targeted entitlement program are at an all time high. SNAP is always growing, but since 2009, that growth has been exponential.
As a matter of fact, so much money is being funneled through SNAP right now that it is attracting the attention of fast food chains. In September, USA Today reported that Yum! Brands, the parent company of Pizza Hut and KFC is lobbying Congress to let people use EBT cards at their restaurants. This increase in spending isn't just a result of the recession, either. As I documented, the eligibility requirements for SNAP have been loosened in a big way, which means that more people with higher incomes now qualify for the program too.
Michael Medved and I discussed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on his show last week.