Blog PostSeptember 20, 2013

Food Stamps and Jobs: Hand-in-Hand?

Will Employment Numbers Ever Catch Up?

Right on the heels of learning that federal food stamp usage is at a record high, comes news the U.S. House voted to cut the program by some $40 billion over the next ten years.

This would mean annual taxpayer funding of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would run about $71 billion, rather than at its current spending levels of around $75 billion a year.

It’s also important to remember that Census Bureau figures show around 13.6 percent of U.S. Households got (SNAP) benefits last year. That’s up from 8.6 percent in 2008 (the height of the U.S. recession). And as CNS News pointed out, the 23 million on food stamps now outnumbers the entire population of our nation’s northeast region..

Lawmakers who approved the reforms cited jobs as their reasoning:

“This bill is designed to give people a hand when they need it most. Most people don’t choose to be on food stamps. Most people want a job,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) “Most people want to go out and be productive so that they can earn a living, so that they can support a family, so that they can have hope for a more prosperous future. They want what we want.”

If policymakers really want to get serious about correlating employment numbers with the number of food stamp recipients, they should look at this comparison:

“(T)he US still needs to generate an additional 2.2 million jobs to get back to breakeven (ignoring for a minute that the jobs created are mostly part-time or low paying jobs), the number of foodstamp and disability recipients has risen by 22 million!”