Politics: Skyrocketing cost and use of food stamps cripples Farm Bill

Published by: Robert Laurie on Friday September 21st, 2012

Robert Laurie

By ROBERT LAURIE - More Americans apply for food stamps or disability than are finding jobs

According to charts released by the Senate Budget Committee, there are more Americans applying for disability or being added to the food stamp rolls than there are finding jobs. 

During the three months from April to June, a meager 200,000 people managed to achieve gainful employment, while 246,000 were added to disability, and 265,000 were enrolled in the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.”

More Americans applying for food stamps than finding jobs

Sadly, that chart represents the “glass half full” version of the “Obama recovery.”

The worse news is the fact that, since Obama took office in January 2009, the workforce has shrunk by 1.3 million people.  That makes this the smallest workforce since 1981.

More Americans applying for food stamps than finding jobs

At the same time we were paring down our workforce, we added 5.7 Million people to workers disability, and a truly shameful 15.1 Million to the food stamp program. 

According to the CBO, over 80% of the current Farm Bill’s 10 year cost is spent on food stamps - $768.2 billion of its total $969 billion price tag. Only about %11 actually ends up going to the crop insurance, wetland protection, and price supports that the bill was designed to implement.

Earlier today, an update to the Bill stalled in the House of Representatives over this very problem.  Republicans wanted to cut the food stamp allocation by $16 billion over 10 years, but feared they wouldn't have the votes to do so.  Speaker Boehner has said the matter will be postponed until after the election, though there is talk that passage of an interim extension may be attempted.

It’s a mystery how anyone, let alone a Harvard-educated President, could think this situation is sustainable.