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BLITZER’S BLOG: Hunger in America growing at staggering pace
August 4th, 2011
02:37 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: Hunger in America growing at staggering pace

(CNN) - It’s hard to believe, but one in seven Americans – 15% of the country – now need government-provided food stamps simply to survive.

The new numbers just came out from the United States Department of Agriculture, which administers what’s officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Nearly 46 million Americans receive food stamps out of a population of some 311 million people. That’s the highest number on record.

The continued high unemployment and the weak U.S. economy have contributed to the explosive growth of the food stamp program – with no end in sight to the monthly increases.

Here’s some context:
– In October 2007, some 27 million Americans were on food stamps.
– A year later, October 2008, the number had reached nearly 31 million.
– By October 2009, the number was approaching more than 37 million.
– Last October saw the program increase to 43 million.
– By the end of May, 45,753,078 Americans were dependent on food stamps.

So how much money in food stamps do they get?
– An eligible individual gets $200 a month in food stamps – in the form of a debit card that can be used at supermarkets and stores to buy authorized food.
– A two-person household gets $367 a month.
– A three-person household gets $526 a month.
– And a four-person household gets $668 a month.

That’s certainly not a lot of money to purchase food for adults and children, but that’s what so many American families have to live on. Many of them simply don’t have any other money.

By the way, the just-approved first round of nearly $1 trillion in debt ceiling spending cuts over the next 10 years exempted any cuts in the food stamps program.

RELATED STORY: Food stamp use rises to record 45.8 million

Post by:
Filed under: Food stamps • Government aid • Hunger • Poverty • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (414 Responses)
  1. Gird

    I am going to be 60 years old this year and I am on SSD and I get $140.00 in food stamps that is not enough. I do have cable, internet and phone but only because it was cheaper to go that route as it was a triple play special. People such as myself have worked all our life, but when we get disabled it is hard to make ends meet. I would not be able to survive without food stamps. I vow from today on that if I know or hear of someone misusing the system, I will report them. Please do not take away my food stamp benefits. I go to the store and I look nice and not raggy clothes. I get clothes every summer at a church sale that you pay by donation and I look nice to go out twice a month. I know when I get eggs, milk, bread and butter that is almost $20. You cannot get anything that is not food with the card....not dog food or toilet tissue or cleaning supplies. That is considered a luxury. I have no one in my family to help me. My son has three kids and it is all he can do to make ends meet and my sisters and brothers still have families of their own. I am glad this was an option for me to get or I would go hungry. Thanks for letting me have my say,

    January 13, 2012 at 8:25 am |
  2. manager

    usa economics die. Will it will affect on america. Yes. Will it destroy usa? May be yes. Its just a matter of time.

    October 5, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  3. Winola Neaves

    There’s trouble brewing in our country and it’s time to nip it in the bud before it becomes full blown. There’s tension between the ‘Have’s’ and ‘Have-Nots” … between politicians and those they represent. I have heard some usually sensible people make not-so-sensible comments about how they think “the people” should take charge. It’s time the greedy elite listen up and do what’s right for the people and the country. It’s time the politicians stop taking from the poor to give to the rich.

    August 12, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  4. GretaR

    The above reporting is factually inaccurate for many states: $200 in Food Support for a single household is the MAXIMUM amount, not set amount. The minimum a household of 1 can receive is $16/month in Food Support in Minnesota, for example. So the amounts above are incorrect and should be represented within a range of numbers, with the acknowledgement that famliies need to be literally desolate in order to qualify for those maximum amounts. Very few people here qualify for $200 a month and instead get closer to $16 for a single-person household.

    August 8, 2011 at 9:24 am |
  5. Steve

    We can argue all we want about all the politics and economical problems, but the bottom line is, the planet is beginning over populated. The solution isn't to create more jobs, it's to reduce the amount of people

    August 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  6. JC

    It amazes me... the Republicans get the House and it's all their fault. The Democrats have both the House and Senate for 2 years and they have no blame in anything....then it was Bush's fault...

    Pelosi, Reid, and others talk like the money that the sucessful have somehow belongs to the government - that in itself is the problem. They earned it and they pay taxes (in many cases nearly 50% of their incomes just in income tax). How much is enough? Does anyone really trust the government to spend it wisely? When the recent debt-ceiling debate was going on, they state they didn't know if Social Security receipents would receive a check...why??? Soc Sec is supposed to be in a trust, a separate fund...totally apart fromt the rest of the budget...but no, our government has spent it, borrowed against it, like everything else.

    WAKE UP AMERICA! They all have to go! They have created their own retirement program, their own health insurance program, all better and immune from the problems of the "common folk" - our elected people are supposed to be there to serve US - not themselves!! Until they realize that and the voters wake up - we are doomed. The Tea Party is just the roots of the anger and disgust that is building... the government is there to serve, to help those who can't help themselves, the state governments should be doing 95% of it.

    August 6, 2011 at 7:13 am |
  7. John

    Not everyone is gaming the system!

    Me and My sister currently get food stamps. We get the 367. I have been out of work for 4 years, her 1. The food stamps are a life saver for sure. Since we can provide are selves with food, a distant relative, poor them selves, have allowed us to stay with them. Otherwise we would be homeless.

    The first two years of my job hunt lead to plenty of interviews. Most of those I was competing with thousands of others for just a few open positions. As time passed though I started getting interview questions and funny looks about being out of work for so long. This year is the worst so far, after countless applications I've not had one interview. My sister is slightly mentally disabled, just slow really. It was enough to put her in special education as a minor, but not enough for any aid as an adult, She needs to find the perfect employer that's willing to understand her situation.

    Sure we could survive on less than what we get, but It helps being able to actually enjoy a meal every now and then. Helps keep your spirits up. Also we do not have a vehicle, so we cant always go to where the food is cheapest. The closest grocery store is a 2 hour walk, not fun in the summers. We have a mini mart just down the street, but they charge 6 dollars for a gallon of milk, 4 dollars for a can of beans......

    Their are tons of people out there gaming the system, I know quite a few my self, but not everyone is, So Please remember that!

    I know and hate a women who gets food stamps, disability, and church food donations, all while having pockets full of lottery tickets, and spending the weekends at Indian gaming casinos. She just bought a car. She claims to have a bad back, but I don't see it in her daily activity. So yeah something needs to be done about these type of people. But It's hard to say what, since I don't want any people in true need falling through the cracks.

    The U.S. is a fist world country, it's a very nice in most parts, but imagine what your community would look like if these types of programs all went completely away. Putting 50 million people on the streets to starve to death in front of everyone won't do much for are world image. These programs are the only thing that kept this last depression from looking like the one in the 1930s.

    Having to rely on a church to feed you is not a secure way of obtaining food, not always safe (expired food), and they try to convert you. I honestly think this is why most Christians seem to be against government assistance to the poor. The want to be the only ones you can turn to in time of need. I'm not religious so I try to avoid these groups.

    How many businesses and jobs rely on these assisted consumers? All these funds go into the economy right? Wouldn't getting rid of them be another big hit to the economy? It's a tricky situation, not black and white.

    August 5, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • Pat

      Hi, have you try putting your sister in a group home? Everything is provided for her there, shelter, food, and they are decent places. Good luck in your job search and your sister as well.

      August 10, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  8. Stephen Charchuk

    Canada doesn't use food stamps per-say, but $200 per person per month sounds like a lot of money to me. My elderly mother and I spend mostly just around $240 per month for both of us together and we have to pay sales taxes on food here as well. She has her Old age pension and I'm on disability.........

    Yarmouth, NS Canada

    August 5, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  9. Eric

    It's not that 15% of our country needs help with buying food to survive, it's that 15% of the country knows that nobody is gonna check on them to see if there lying or not. so in return there getting something for nothing. typical american GREED!!!

    August 5, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  10. NickleAlloy

    Obviously, the job market is having a profound effect on enrollment in SNAP. However, the current GOP trickle-down/jobs plan will easily provide the 20,000,000 jobs required to make SNAP unnecessary. (I'm sure they're working on a plan this very moment) Then we can give that money to the more deserving billionaires and get even more trickle-down! It's like a miracle! Praise Jesus for the Republicans!

    August 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • Stephen Charchuk

      You're joking, right? 'Trickled Down On' economics has never work for the majority of Americans

      August 5, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  11. chad fom kansas city missouri

    This is how I see the economy, from the eyes of a jobless man.

    August 5, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  12. Myra Kotrla

    I suppose people with a large paycheck think that is not enough to survive. Personally I'd like to have that much to spend on food. Good grief. That is PLENTY of money if it is spent wisely. It is way more than my budget allowed even when I had a lot more money and three kids at home. Maybe learning something about shopping wisely and budgets, etc, would be a good idea?

    August 5, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • nickel4u

      I completely agree, the money issued to receipients is plenty! I endorse the SNAP program for needy families but the truth is that the majority of families I see in the grocery stores paying with SNAP benefits buy junk food, large slabs of meat for parties and can now pay for birthday cakes with SNAP benefits. What is has this program come too? SNAP is for sustenance, at least that is the intent. Health and SNAP do not go together. Children are still going without appropriate nutrition, and becoming obese because parents are uneducated on how to spend their SNAP benefits and abuse the program. Throwing more money at SNAP is NOT the answer.

      August 5, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  13. CraigK

    The fact that the GOP (w/ tea) has held our country hostage reflects a apathetic eye to the needs of our people, those struggling w/ mortgage debt, unemployment, health care etc. You can see the effects on our stock market over the last few days. Now as we ask for jobs our congress continues to drag its feet taking a vacation. Maybe congress is paid too much money?

    These actions of the GOP (tea inclosed) are not about a party ideology but motived by a political goal. The action is not only costing the country money daily it is also lowering the confidence needed for growth. More of the same partisan bickering which will continue devaluing our economy both here and abroad, insuring the middle class 'gap' and keeping our people unemployed in or near poverty w/ dependancy on food supplements and all the while discrediting the president of the United States. This is not the America we are building. We are all citizens in a land of liberty not under the thumbs of rich land owners.
    One more thing, a question; Do you remember who backed the Tea Party?

    August 5, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • HarryInMI

      My goodness could you be any more of a hack? Sorry but the dems control the White House and Senate and up till this year controlled the other as well. Look at the numbers. They are the ones failing us miserably. Personally i don't agree with some members of the GOP/Tea Party either on how to fix this disaster we have. Either way what we HAVE is not it. Sorry but more government job's is not it either. Why this country desperately needs a FISCAL conservative. Only one who fits that bill is Herman Cain. Miss Bachmann, Palin, Perry, Romney, Rubio, Pawlenty are neocon establishment and thus a part of the problem and thus see Bush for a perfect example of what they are like. Why the establishment is doing it's best to avoid Herman Cain as they know he won't play ball and will go after ALL waste including theirs and fix problems like this.

      August 6, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
  14. Chris

    Please forgive me I'm Canadian, but $668 for a family of four, that's 8k a year? I have a family of four and we don't spend that on groceries in a month and we eat very well. I would likely have to go out of my way and shop very poorly in order to spend that.

    August 5, 2011 at 11:30 am |
  15. An American

    If America would wake up then they would look into all the people useing this progam that are in this country illegally taking advantage of the ones who pay for it and taking away from the Americans that need it. The billions spent on illegals in this country is just crazy. Some of the illegals have fake papers so they can steal from the Americans that need it. The government needs to get it together and have everyone that live here go and get the ID with the gold star on it like thay started so everyone has been checked out. Why should Americans keep suffering just so someone from another country will be well off. Should we as Americans take care of Americans or take care of others that come here but dont want to help do their part and pay taxes to help these progams out.

    If we were allowed to drill our own oil here in the states and not worry about what the hippies say about " that poor tree or what about that bird ECT, ECT." Then the price of gas and other things that is made from oil that we all need everyday could be cheaper to buy. Then the price of food could go down here in American and the world because gas price is down which means its cheaper for farming and shipping. So in away buy not drilling here and make our own price on oil is contributing to the Americans that are starving. If America drilled and not let the Arabs control the world by setting the price of oil we would be better off. Ther is no reason why us as Americans should let countries that hate us and use our money and troops to protect there product that they sell to us at a price that is to dam high. Let them pay with there famillies lives and their money to protect their oil. Let America use its own supplys, which would create jobs, with jobs the there would be less Americans on food programs because there is work and the price is cheaper for the food.

    August 5, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • An American

      And to top it off if the governmet passed a law to the Buisness that are owned by Americans or have a majorty of American stock holders that move over seas that they would have to pay American min. wages there like they would have to here. If that happened the with shipping cost and that wage they would have to pay i would bet the jobs would come back here. If that would happen then Americans go back to work which mean we could afford to buy the product that should be stamped "MADE IN THE USA ".. Why cant the business make it here then have the people overseas pay the higher prices that we are being charged here in the states. If them business had to obay the labor laws there like they do here the jobs would come back and there would be less Americans on food stamp progams and the American governmet could use all that money saved on progams else where. Come on Washington its not that hard. If you would quit giving China moeny and use it for the Americans that need it you would not be in this mess and the American people would not be starving. Washington needs to help every American out before other countries that get our money, that money is for us not them.

      August 5, 2011 at 11:54 am |
      • Henry G. Huestis

        To An American,

        I do like your ideas, but I think the ideas that you have are unworkable. I am an American who is currently working overseas (in the Middle East), in a country which does not have a minimum wage policy, and relies heavily on workers from some of the most impoverised nations on Earth (e.g. Bangladesh, Nepal, Phillippines, etc.). I see construction workers work in the country that I work in may be $ 200.00 a month in pay and benefits. But if they go back to their home country they may be lucky to pay $ 50.00 a month for their labor.

        The problem that your proposal has in a country like China, or even in the country that I work in is how are you going to enforce it. China also does not have a minimum wage law, and how can this can be monitored. Certainly the American Corporations that are having the factories in China will not let monitors from the US Government or anyone else monitor to see if the Chinese workers are paid American Minimum wage. Nor will the Chinese Government allow monitors to see if Chinese workers are being paid US Minimum wage. The Chinese Government will claim that the US is meddling in the internal affairs of the country (China), and in certain respects, they are right.

        Now comes the second aspect. Say that you want to force these American companies to require the books of their Chinese subsidiaries to see if their Chinese workers are being paid US Minimum Wage. Good luck on that one, for many of the American Companies will subcontract with a Chinese company to build their widgets and the American Company will put his brand name on the product and sell that product under the US Brand Name in the USA. And again, the Chinese Government will NOT allow you/the US Government to audit the books of that Chinese subsidiary company located within China.

        The only way that you can come close to bringing manufacturing jobs back to the USA, is to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese manufacturred goods which are imported into the USA. The punitive tariffs would be lifted when sufficient manufacturing jobs are relocated back from China to the USA. Many countries around the world have done this to foster and maintain its manufacturing base, for example, India places a 150 percent tariff on imported manufactured goods to protect its domestic industries, and this does protect and foster domestic (Indian) manufacturing industries.

        By the way, I also was a victim of overseas outsourcing in my previous job in the USA, where my job duties and work was outsourced to an Indian engineer in India wth the Indian engineers compensation was 1/5 th of what I was being paid (I did hold an engineering job). This is a different problem, which would be very difficult to resolve, since there are cheap high speed Internet connections between the USA and India, and engineering job packages can be transmitted virtually free from India to the USA, and it would be difficult to place punittive tarriffs on services from India.

        Anyhow, that is all that I can say......

        August 5, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
  16. Rsprings

    So how much money in food stamps do they get?
    – An eligible individual gets $200 a month in food stamps – in the form of a debit card that can be used at supermarkets and stores to buy authorized food.
    – A two-person household gets $367 a month.
    – A three-person household gets $526 a month.
    – And a four-person household gets $668 a month.

    That’s certainly not a lot of money to purchase food for adults and children, but that’s what so many American families have to live on. Many of them simply don’t have any other money.

    Gocery stores and employees know these items are not authorized yet they do it any way.

    August 5, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  17. Alexdad

    Wow, I really love all of these comments from people who feel that, because they don't need food assistance, others are not entitled to it either. The logic that a family should just work hard, live within a budget, keep your head down, and all will work out well is brilliant. Unfortunately, it is also the biggest load of crap ever served up in the history of the planet earth. As a father who has been out of work for over two years, I promise you that if you were in my position, you would not look at the safety net as a priviledge but a lifeline. I WOULD BE WILLING TO TAKE ANY JOB!! But with employers saying that they are only accepting applications from the currently employed, and unemployment payments running out, the food stamp program is the only means to feed my family until we are evicted. Oh, right, I should sell the things we were able to buy when I was working a full time job so we could have money for bills for another month, right? And then what? Evidently, some of you feel that the poor don't deserve to have a television. Or a phone. Or running water, electricity, or any of the other fineries of life. Because when you constantly pull the safety net back and portray the poor as unwilling to improve their lot in life and lazy it makes you feel better by tearing down someone else. How sad that is the best you can do. I tell you what, let's trade positions for six months, and then you can tell me about how lazy I am, how I'm just a drain on the country, how I just don't care about my family. Or better yet, offer a job and see how fast I get away from any government assistance. A little compassion would go such a long way. I wish upon all of you the same compassion you show those less fortunate

    August 5, 2011 at 10:28 am |
  18. Greg G

    To surive?!?! Where's the evidence that supports this claim? Some need food stamps so that they can still afford their cable TV bill or their HBO subscription. Come on, Wolf. Come on, CNN. This is awful reporting.

    August 5, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • jean2009

      You just won the Grinch Award.

      August 5, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
  19. Heather

    Regarding the amount of food stamps people get, this story is misleading. It lists the maximum allotment for the household size. Although some people do receive the maximum amount, that is essentially reserved for people who either have no or very little income or for people who meet income requirements but have large allowable expenses, such as medical bills, daycare, etc. According to the USDA, the average benefit is $101 per person, which is substantially less than the maximum amount. Benefits are based on gross income less allowable expenditures which do not include things like car payment and insurance. Allowable expenditures also do not include medical expenses for everyone– only for those 60 and over and for those receiving SSD or SSI.

    Also, the vast majority of the people and families receiving food assistance are the "working poor." People who make minimum wage, or not much more, and are trying to support a family. I worked in food stamps eligibility, and most of my clients worked. I had a number who had been laid off and were receiving unemployment benefits, then, as those benefits ran out, I had more with no income. Women whose husbands had left them were also frequently on my caseload, being unprepared to move into the breadwinner role, and finding the demand to do so coming during a period of very high unemployment.

    As far as fraud goes, certainly there are people working under the table so that their income can't be traced. Likewise, there are those who get the benefits and sell or trade them. BUT, many people really do need assistance, and for many of them, this need is temporary– less than a year. A large number of clients are elderly, having planned for their retirement in a way that didn't account for how long they have lived and how expensive things have gotten.

    In 2008, SNAP served 28.4 million people a month at an annual cost of $34.6 billion. Not exact;y 8 billion a month. But still expensive. However, the amount spent on SNAP is a rather small percent of the big bailouts for corporations and banks. Personally, I'd rather give food to someone who doesn't deserve it than I would to give some group of fat executives a new gilded lobby or padded expense account.

    August 4, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • pam

      Thank you Heather for setting the record straight. I believe the majority of Americans believe that undeserving people are "taking advantage of the system." Please keep telling it like it is, as often as you can!!!

      August 5, 2011 at 8:48 am |
    • jean2009

      Thank you for taking the time to post information that many here need to read....I am so tired of hearing the less fortunate referred to as free loaders.

      August 5, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    And during this same time the rich got richer ... 10 years of tax cutting for those at the top has NOT produced living wage jobs. THAT is why the poverty numbers keep rising. Period.

    August 4, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • Andrew

      It doesn't matter that Obama is the worse president in the US history and has caused this. No, what matters is the lie and those evil rich people. Looks like his proganda machine is working.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
      • Kim

        Ok Andrew . . . it's "worst" and it is clear that Obama inherited many of these problems. The trickle down effect from the Bush tax cuts created much of this enormous deficit. I find it odd that people really believe that the PRESIDENT is solely to blame. An education about how the government works will help you see that it takes a village to raise a country.

        August 5, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • CraigK

      I would add that the Tea party aka republicians have drag there feet enough to slow down any progress insurring the economy to go further in the red which is can be witnessed in the markets today.

      August 5, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  21. nick

    15% of the country – now need government-provided food stamps simply to survive.

    That is rather presumptious isn't it. First of all the cost of food, and living varies widely in different parts of the country while the food stamp formula is flat. Secondly saying people under a certain income NEED food stamps is perposterous. A lot of it depends on what their other expenses are now doesn't it? And one of course wonders how many are taking the benefits that don't really NEED them.

    August 4, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
  22. jeff turman

    wolf you should see the abuse of the food stamp program. so many use it that do not need it. They are just taking it because it is easy to get. They are buying junk food with the program. This country is full of enabled people.

    August 4, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
  23. CarmenSo

    I love the way Amercians take care of their own.

    August 4, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
  24. Terry

    I could easily get food stamps if I want. I take home anywhere between 1000 to 1200 a month and support myself. But I don't for this reason. I would be supporting socialist ideas which would give our rulers...wait, I mean government too much power and thus enslaving us. It doesn't seem like we can turn things around but every little bit counts. I think most people on food stamps are in the same position as me. If you can afford to live without them, DO IT!

    August 4, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • Motley

      This is much of the problem when people get assumptions off first glance or someone doing an article with a slant off first glance,...

      maybe the requirements to get food stamps is a bit too easy,.. I have seen many on food stamps, yet have internet, cable tv, big screen tv, vehicles, etc,.... now if they were truly hungry and assistance wasn't so easy,.. some of these items would be sold or services disconnected,...

      funny how we view "poverty" in this country often as just an income level and not really how people are living,... none of what I stated previously is a necissity, a right, etc,... but this generation, or this society tends to think of it that way

      August 4, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • ThinkAgain

      And the rich, who've been enjoying the lowest tax rates in 80 years, can pitch in 3% more. God knows, they're not using their extra cash to create jobs here. We can take that 3% and as a nation invest it in our people through infrastructure projects, developing green energy and education.

      August 4, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • CraigK

      Your pride is the same ingredient needed by most business' to keep you thinking Bankruptcy is a bad thing. So bad in fact that every business I know of considers it a positive move i.e. the auto industry. Food stamps help elevate the surplus saving us money and is a very necessary thing for people who are in need. You may never understand w/ large (probably under-the-table income). For you to equate this w/ socialism means you need to go to the library more often. There are many programs that help and protect us because of the government and that is what we elect to do since we cannot watch out for all the bad food, faulty machinery, mortgage lenders, etc.

      August 5, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  25. Bobby

    Yep, I get a really good look at the FS folks when checking them out while working my second job. They eat so much better than I do. Plus, they all have fancy cell phones, I-Pads, designer clothes, and tattoos. They drive off in fancy cars and SUV's. I work two jobs because there is no way my pride in this country and my sense of ownership over my responsibilities would ever let me take a handout. US taxpayers are being screwed, and don't even realize it.

    August 4, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • ThinkAgain

      I don't believe for a minute that you see people buying with food stamps driving off in a fancy SUV and having all that other stuff you mention. The folks I see with food stamps are invariably mothers with children, all of whom look like their wearing hand-me-downs.

      August 4, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
      • jean2009

        I agree.

        August 5, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  26. Joe

    Hunger in America and the number of people on Foodstamps are two different things. I am sorry, but it is common sense to look around you and see that one in seven people ARE NOT STARVING. Yes I do make an assumption when I see an overweight or obese child, I am thinking they probably are not starving; they may be hungry all the time which is part of the reason they are overweight. Just because you can give a statistic does not mean it is true.

    August 4, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • VinUSA

      There is a big difference between getting enough calories to survive and getting enough nutrition. While food stamps provide the first, they're not nearly enough to buy the 2nd; hence the obesity. Subsidies on high fructose corn syrup instead of greens don't help.

      There was an article in the NYT this week about waitlists for $9000 handbags. The rich (and I'm fortunate enough to belong in that group according to most measures, although I'm not nearly one of "them") seem to be doing just fine. Effective tax rates are the lowest anywhere in the developed world, while people are dying fast because of lack of medical care and slowly because of lack of nutrition. Is this really what we want: a 3rd world country?

      August 5, 2011 at 8:04 am |
  27. Swampqueen

    Hungary! I don't think so. With all of these obese uneducated females running around with 50 children and no job and no husband. Quite simply I am tired of these people relying on the government and my tax money to support their sorry asses.If you cant afford to buy food for your kids don't have any kids. Never marry and totally depend on the mans salary for your survival

    August 4, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • ThinkAgain

      Obese uneducated women with 50 children? Your inability to post actual FACTS voids your argument.

      August 4, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
    • pam

      So, you are still under the impression that women are having children to get more welfare? That amount of help that they used to get is no longer available and doesn't go far enough to live on. "Uneducated women"? You sound like someone who is judging others to make yourself feel more powerful/good. I never finished college, never married and had no children but am disabled and make almost enough to get by (thanks to my parents who left me a property I don't pay rent on, just taxes). I'll bet my bottom dollar that you don't know how to live on less or wonder where you'll go when it's time to pay the heating bills and there's no money to fill the oil tank.

      August 5, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • jean2009

      Our local Salvation Army homeless shelter is always thankful for the fresh produce our master gardener program supplies their helps provide meals for about 150 people a day, who otherwise may not eat.

      The Grinch is supposed to be a story book character...but you would qualify for the part. .

      August 5, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  28. Jason G.

    I live in Kansas. My family of "4" gets food assistance, but I guarantee you those numbers mentioned above are INFLATED. My family get $129.00 per month.

    Oh, by the way, on case someone thinks I am a just a "lazy money suck to society", you should know that I work about 10hrs per day, 5 days a week, and donate my extra time and what extra finances I have to avenues that spread God's word.

    That money figure must be taken from Democratically controlled, Blue states. Here in the Republican controlled, Red states, it is considered perfectly sane that a family of 4 can eat for $32.25 per week.

    August 4, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
  29. Jim

    Wolf gets it wrong from the beginning - while the economy is bad it is NOT true that "one in seven Americans – 15% of the country – now need government-provided food stamps simply to survive." A sizable portion, perhaps a majority, of those people on food stamps could survive quite comfortably without them, whether by getting a job (even if they consider it to be beneath them), or living more frugally. I'd REALLY love to see a statistic on how many people on food stamps have cell phones - I'd bet it's a fair amount

    August 4, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • jean2009

      Wolf's figure are right, and they square with the World Hunger site figures.

      August 5, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  30. Saboth

    Not much money for a household? That's about what my wife and I spend on groceries. Of course we have jobs and pay for our food. Well I guess we pay for other ppl's food too through our taxes.

    August 4, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
  31. Chris Tegge

    I work a full time job, as well as being enlisted in the Army Reserves. With both jobs, I make about 1400 a month. I applied for Food Stamps the other week and was denied, they said I make too much. I eat once every day, not to keep thin or because I want to, but because that's all I can afford. For all of you blasting honest people who really need this system, Shame on you. I agree that there are people who abuse the system, but it is a necessity...Hell I sure wish I could use a little of that money.

    August 4, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
  32. john

    Don't get me wrong. I am a liberal believer. I want the government to feed those who really need it, provide shelter for those who can't provide for themselves and provide healthcare for the sick, elderly and indigent. That said, I am certain there is a very large amount of fraud in this beneficial program. I live in an area where there are a lot of poor people and I see almost everybody in the checkout line at the grocery store using an EBT card for their groceries, I also see the teenagers with, I suppose, Mom's EBT card buying junk food at the convenience store and I hear about the selling of the EBT cards for 50% on the street for quick cash. This program is costing us 8 Billion dollars per month and I'm sure there are other people who need the help and can't get it due to the misuse and abuse of the benefits by those who don't need them. We should require that a caseworker really review these recipients and weed out the fraudsters. Also we should require drug testing periodically, because we as a society have no obligation to subsidize anybody's habits. We as Democrats need to practice some tough love, take a page out of Bill Clinton's play book and reform and rethink the whole welfare system, and the dependency-mindset, that afflicts some of our citizens. To do otherwise cheats those who truly need the help and can't get it and it cheats those who erroneously believe the way to "get ahead" in society is to find a way to hitch a ride on the entitlement's bandwagon. That is surely a "race to the bottom".

    August 4, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • FBMarky

      Good comment, John. I would like to add, though, that the irony of the food stamp program is that, in an effort to cut the size of government, the number of overseers and enforcers is practically nil. The dirty little secret, though, is that the major food producers and grocers in the US love the food-stamp program – all the money is spent in their businesses and not on drucgs, etc. – so there's lots of lobbyist money to keep it going. Sadly, though, those who would like to see the program's rules enforced have no lobbyists. That's how America works. Or doesn't.

      August 5, 2011 at 12:05 am |
      • nickel4u

        You are totally right! There is no enforcement against fraud. I can't count the number of times I have witnessed people who are carrying expensive handbags and loading groceries paid with their SNAP benefits into their new cars. I am waiting for a political backlash from the middleclass...hopefully one day someone will do something.

        August 5, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • jpbrody

      I really liked what you had to say. I'm a conservative, Republican-leaning, and I, too, want the government to take care of those who TRULY need it. Thanks for your comment.

      August 5, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  33. Polymath

    It is going to get much, much, much worse – if you were not alive during the depression or visited a third world country, it will be beyond your experience. The Federal Government has taken our money and squandered our resources. They have allowed themselves to be prostituted by large corporations and Wall Street. They have allowed themselves to be made irrelevant by the FED and have stood by while Ben Bernanke and crew have manipulated and destroyed our economy. Our Republic is on it's last leg and I hope and pray that my fellow citizens can put aside partisanship and come together before it is too late. Urge your state government to exert their Sovereignty and let us make the Federal Government irrelevant – together. The time is now.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
  34. Alex

    Pretty soon we'll have to eat the fat folks.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  35. Steven

    Two reasons why people go hungry in the US. One, we give a lot of food to other countries before looking out for our own people. Two, many people in the US do not eat what is good for them and they eat too much .... leaving less for others.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • Motley

      LOL that is funny,... so if I eat a lot,.. I am taking food off the shelves for others??? There won't be more made, harvested, etc???

      I think I am supersizing tonight – I guess that means McDonalds will run out of food tonight sometime and someone won't get fed!!! LOL,.. oh wait,. that is the part of me not eating right is somehow denying food to another!!! LOL

      never ceases to amaze me how many people in our country lack basic logic,...

      sorry but do you really belive this

      August 4, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  36. DMB, Atlanta, Ga

    I was not raised on welfare both of my parents worked. but many people in my nieghborhood were on welfare and it wasn't beacause they were lazy or kept on having children. Some parents were to ill to work, many of them came from the south and never completed thier education because they had to work the farm, and cotton fields so that thier parents ans siblings could eat and keep a roof over thier heads, couldn't afford medical care back then there was no mediare or mdicaid. Some of them lost limbs at work, there was no OSHA back then either. They still had families to feed and welfare was all that was left to them. None of thier kids went on welfare, Viet Nam ate a lot of them up. Before you complain and condem, try walking in thier shoes. You try living in NYC, Chicargo or LA making less them $12,00 to $15,000.00 a year with a wife and a couple of kids. Hell, try being single and try to survive making that much. You can't do it. Not with rent for a studio apt. 12 to 1,500.00 a month, utilities not included, carfare $2.50 one way, try buying health insurance, try buying healthy food if there is a supermarket in your hood, if there is you are lucky. Whiny white folks try it oh you can't use your car only public tranport and you can't ask the folks to help either because they don't have extra money just a little pension and social security..

    August 4, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
  37. Jason

    "That’s certainly not a lot of money to purchase food for adults and children." Is that joke? $668 a month for a four-person household is not a lot of money? I make well over six figures, so our family of four certainly isn't feeling any pressure to limit our spending at the grocery store, and we almost never spend more than $668 in a month.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
    • ThinkAgain

      I don't believe you when you say you hardly ever spend more than $686 a month on food ...

      August 4, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
      • Jason

        $620 in July, $566 in June, $576 in May... I could go on. That's for a family of four that buys organic in a big city. I have no doubt that trying to raise a family on a poverty-level or even lower-middle-class income is extremely tough, but I seriously hope that these food stamp allowances take into account cost of living in different areas.

        August 5, 2011 at 7:59 am |
    • caeser

      I don't believe you either.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
      • Kim

        I believe him . . . our family of 3 spends $520/month on food. We live in a wealthy suburb of Philadelphia and also buy some Organic products. It's our budget, never more.

        August 5, 2011 at 9:16 am |
      • Ben

        Family of 3 here, live in tourist town where milk is $5/gallon. Make meals from scratch and spend ~$200 /mo.

        August 5, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
      • jean2009

        I agree with your basic math. The figures given at the Simple Dollar website to feed a family of four for a month is $770.00 this averages out to $2.07 per meal per person...and that was at 2008 figures.

        The USDA Center for Nutrition & Policy Plan for 2011 for a family of 4 (2 adults 19-50 yrs old & 2 children under 5) in an area where food is moderately priced is $836.20...for a family of 4 (2 adults 19-50 yrs old and 2 children 6-11 yrs old) where the cost for food is moderately priced is $995.46 per month.

        August 5, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  38. Raoul

    Not to mention that the food prices are ridiculous in this country, at least here in Miami, FL. Red Bell Pepper for $3.99 p/ lb. Usually the pepper itself is 1lb.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
  39. saaaly

    hunger may be growing but you're not, wolf. you're still a little troll

    August 4, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
  40. JP

    One way to cut the number of people eligible for food stamps is to stop making children born to illegals citizens. All the other 1st world countries figured this out long ago.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
  41. taxed02

    I was at a community yard sale a week ago and looking through some old newspapers and magazines from the late 1940's and 1950's. I did not see one article, much less a headline, about millions of people starving to death in this country. How could all these papers and magazines have missed a big story like that? After all, this was years before the 15 food giveaway programs that the government has now. What could have all the people been eating?

    August 4, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • jean2009

      During the 40's everything was rationed...sugar, butter, eggs, meat, coffee...we were a more rural society,plus a war was on....home refrigeration was nil...and everyone was reduced to eating Spam and raising Victory Gardens.

      There were hungry people in the 1940's and 50's, during the 40's it was buried under the news about the war effort, and during the 50's and early 60's it became apparent the problem was larger than thought for both rural and urban populations. Type "hunger in America 1950" into your Google search and read about the initial start of the School Lunch Program.

      August 5, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
      • jean2009

        Besides Good Housekeeping and McCall's didn't want to take on these type stories.

        August 5, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  42. Formerly poor

    I know this is not a practical solution to everyone. But when I was unemployed and eating only two meals a day the time, the majority of my food came from theft of it at the grocery store. When you are starving there are only crap options. Those options are to go on food stamps and burned an already broke state economy, or steal it and eat into the profits of large grocery stores. I am fully aware that the profit loss is passed down to regular employees in the form of decreased benefits and less pay raises.

    When society is ill it is the responsibility of everyone to help ease that suffering. Establishing more community gardens where harvest is shared to those who contribute time to cultivation is an easy way to start. Educating people how to cook healthy and affordable meals is another action that can be made.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
  43. Corey D.

    This demonstrates exactly why congress should have addressed the lack of taxes that the wealthy do not pay.
    It also stresses the importance of the union and having workers make decent wages.
    Fast food, box stores and others will be paying slum wages and forcing the division between the classes.
    This is America. People came here to avoid class differentiation and ethnic differentiation. We need to do better.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
  44. DMB, Atlanta, Ga

    Hey Tea Party; Welcome to the newest third world country. Before you blame any of this on Pres. Obama, PLEASE remember who you have to thank for this mess, BUSH & CHENEY! The good ole boys! Obama inhererited this mess and the tea party and friends are making it worse. Pres. Obama is only human, he is not a God, so stop acting like he has the power to correct any of this mess. The President can initiate but the Congress makes the laws and as we saw congress is nothing but a poop filled litter box that needs to be cleaned out and so far I don't see a sanitationperson to clean u[p the mess. I am not suprised that one in seven people in this country can't afford to feed themselves & thier families. Hell, I remember when the elderly was eating cat food & dog food because that was what they could afford after paying rent and medication & it wasn't that long ago, 50 yrs ago. I won't be suprised if it happens again. I also expect to see more families and singles homeless & on the streets. I also expect that we will be drinking polluted water and breathing polluted air. And don't expect to drive anywhere because the highways and bridges will be unuseable & in disrepair. But this is what the Tea Party want smaller Government, less taxes and no business regulation.WELCOME TO THE 19th century America. Pollute away. I'm thinking about moving to Canada because if they win this won't be my country anymore. I knew Native Americans should have charged them rent.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
  45. Thomas

    @ anna

    Most fortune 500 corporations are already hedged overseas , And they would gladly pay a little more taxes to have stability and law . Where they going to go , Mexico , Ireland , maybe Panama ?
    The cost of social services is so small compared to instability. You make it sound like people enjoy poverty , hunger and being on welfare .

    How much did those WMDs cost us ?

    August 4, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • jean2009

      Have you read the Bush health care plan for Iraq? Read online: Article 31 Iraqi Constitution ...Guaranteed Health Care for Iraq-but not for you. The Bush Administration spent $950 million in American tax dollars to assure the Iraqi's have universal health care for life. American soldiers died to provide universal health care to Iraq...and congress wants to cut veterans health care, wants to cut senior medicare, doesn't want to educate our young, and doesn't want to do anything about unemployment. Yet , to make things right because our war profiteering big corporations made a mess of Iraq while making big profits they do the right thing and give each Iraqi cradle to grave health care.

      August 5, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
  46. don

    The reason for so many more food stamp recipients is because illegal aliens qualify for the US born children. And then they all work under the table and don"t pay taxes. More and More are coming over the border to pop out that anchor baby. free medicaid too

    August 4, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • jean2009

      I assume your ancestors also came here and popped out anchor babies...that is unless you are of American Indian descent. For many eons before your ancestors arrived a great swath of the Southwest was controlled by the ancestors of those anchor babies.

      August 5, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
  47. vegetable garden

    vegetable gardens , fruit trees , indoor gardens , green houses , farmers markets , canning your own food , making your own clothes , fixing up your own home , repairing your own car , growing trees for firewood , gee the military and others sure have a lot of work ahead of them ... the military people are known for their hard work habits ...
    50 million vegetable gardens and 200 million fruit trees ... now thats a lot of work thats needed to be done ... LOL !

    August 4, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
  48. GaryOwen27

    Just look at the State of South Dakota after 40 + years of republican administration.

    Rampent poverty, the poorest county in the nation.

    This is all due to the Red Neck Right's moronic derilict idiology.

    There should be an amendment to change the name from the State of South Dakota to the State of Poverty.

    August 4, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
  49. harbharb

    Thank the neocons for causing many of the economic problems with which we are suffering, then for standing in the way when the Democrats tried to make fixes. That thanks should be in the form of voting against them in the next elections.

    August 4, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  50. M.A.

    Let's grab a bite to eat.

    I have so had it with working 60-80 hours a week and more hurrying and consuming food without actually eating it. And I wonder if that is a contributing factor as part of obesity in this country. That and overeating compensating to fill a void. Food is love. No time for love. That damned clock. I remember when I was in grade school they wouldn't let us use the restroom unless it was "time". This game of beating the clock attempting to "get ahead" is.....

    Yesterday I attended a corporate seminar. My gosh they fed us at noon but couldn't provide us a table to sit at. Obviously tables aren't in the budgets now. Looks of it they should go in the detergent business afterward everyone sitting in chairs attempting to eat barbecue!

    I strayed from the topic. I'll only say this. There is no shortage of food in this country. Lots of it is disposed of that never gets consumed. And it is necessary that we have this degree of need for such programs as this. We don't know what to do. Things are out of control. We just keep waiting and spreading hate hungry for love so blind that we chose not to see it, everywhere.

    August 4, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  51. guitarguymv

    "Simply to survive?" Are you kidding me? We throw away more food than most countries have to eat. This is very irresponsible reporting ... nothing more than attention-grabbing headlines. CNN is really going down the tubes with its sensational cr*p stories. This used to be a good news organization.

    August 4, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • jean2009

      Why don't you go back to faux and listen to those morons?

      August 5, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
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