Today's Situation Room:

Wolf Blitzer delivers the most important breaking news and political, international, and national security stories of the day. Tune to The Situation Room weekdays 5-7pm ET on CNN.

Wolf Blitzer delivers the most important breaking news and political, international, and national security stories of the day. Tune to The Situation Room weekdays 5-7pm ET on CNN.

August 6th, 2011
09:36 AM ET

46 million Americans on food stamps

CNN's Brian Todd reports on staggering figures of people on food stamps, and meets one man on the program.

Post by:
Filed under: Brian Todd • Food stamps • Poverty
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. TJeff1776

    Hmmmmm...15% of the population on food does that jive with 8% unemployed.. IF there's not enough money to live on, THAT constitutes(at least) partial unemployment. Hate to sound like Sherlock BUT the gov't is juggling
    figures. One thing that got started in the Bush admin WAS not counting the unemployed when they no longer draw unemplyment checks. Better propaganda.

    August 19, 2012 at 5:19 am |
  2. Jim

    I wonder how many of these people didn't vote or voted against their own economic interest? The outsourcings of jobs overseas whittle away at the middle class while increasing the gap between the haves and have not. Yes it is class warfare and the middle class is losing.

    June 18, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  3. PaulC

    With the demise of the unions and the republican plan to make corporations supreme with no regulations, the U.S. is becoming a nation of minimum wage earners with no benefits. I know why people object to the healthcare mandate, they can't afford it!

    June 18, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  4. Eduardo from Reno

    I know some young people who work for Walmart and to make ends meet, they need food stamps and HUD housing. Walmarts profits and products are at the expense of the American taxpayers and workers. When you look at the cost of their methods, what they sell is very expensive, indeed. And destructive to what once was a shared American way of life.

    April 23, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  5. al leong / toronto / ny/ chicago

    there is no requirement to feed your enemies worldwide – feed americans first.
    feeding enemies (if there is going to be a food shortage) is like feeding your economic or physical enemies leading to our own destruction. stop it! subsidize our farmers like the chinese subsidize the koreans for their strategic gains. if they're not enemies, then feed them. like mom. if you don't like the food, lock the fridge!!!

    March 13, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  6. Mrs Phillips

    We're one of the families being discussed here. My husband and I are good people who BOTH work full time jobs, but still can't make enough to make ends meet. I do realize that we don't have a college education and work the lower class jobs. But do people ever consider that it takes all kinds of people to make this country run? Some people talk like ALL people should be college educated and making a ton of money. But we NEED people to do jobs such as trash collection, store clerks, dry cleaners, butchers, restaurant servers, hair stylist and the list goes on and on and on. These are jobs that are needed, yet people get made fun of doing these jobs and at that same time can't make enough money to make ends meet. Consider that while making all your judgments.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • m

      There is no shame in honest work. People should be paid enough to not have to live poverty.

      January 17, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • PaulC

      This is where the union had a purpose, to give the workers a decent wage and benefits. I can agree that SOME unions (teachers, police and firefighters especially) did go overboard but it is the fault of management for agreeing to those outrageous pensions the republicans point out.
      To be fair the unions problems should have been corrected but it gave the republicans ammunition to kill all unions.

      June 18, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  7. Evelyn Berryhill

    The US is burying theirselve by giving monies to foreign country and they are the one stealing the United States job.

    August 19, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Joby

      How would another country steal a job unless the top management decides to move the jobs to another country to enlarge their pocket? I think it is not stealing. Our own people are pushing it away from the lower income people

      December 5, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  8. TRouble

    Just like the left wants, more and more money/taxes to justify more and more spending on "needed" programs. These poor sheep are slaves to the dems ideology that you can't pick yourself, you can't overcome, that the chips are stacked against you and that's the way the rich want it, and only another gov't program or higher taxes on the rich will fix it. And that continues to be the way democrats enslave people and buy votes. It's one thing to have a safety net, but increasingly this is the standard.

    The truth is that their is more opportunity than ever. That capitalism is the path to individual wealth, independence and freedom. That taking from another does not lift you up. That we need people, all people to produce. The more we produce, the more wealth and jobs there will be. And need I remind all of again that gov't does not produce wealth. Nothing happens until someone sells something.

    August 17, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • WhiterFiter

      What *rap from a dinosaur! Can anyone believe this complete idiocy anymore? The richies DO NOT create jobs for the rest, nor any other opportunities. They take, take, take, from the rest of us with our $7.50/hr minimum wage jobs, and "invest" it in other countries development to make them MORE. I can't even GET foodstamps and I've been out of work 2 years! Because as a physicist I made over the minimum on my unemployment, now gone. I have had any good in my life taken away by this evil thinking. Yeah – if giving big tax breaks to the rich is gonna save the economy and create jobs - how come all the Bush and Clinton tax breaks on the rich didn't already DO THAT????

      April 25, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • PaulC

      Are you so out of touch that you thing the 46 million people receiving food stamps are Democrats? Some of the reddest states (Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Virginia to name just a few) are the heaviest users of welfare and food stamps. They live off food stamps and social security and then vote for a rich elitist who PROMISES to eliminate them. Go figure.

      June 18, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • PaulC

      Read a little history, at the turn of the century the robber barons controlled everything, people died at 50 with no health care, no pensions, nothing. Work 60 hours a week or die. Then the unions organized and demanded decent wages and benefits and we enjoy those changes. Now the corporations are shipping the jobs overseas and you have a job selling the imported. products. Welcome to free enterprise.

      June 18, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  9. Kitty

    Has anyone considered having a commissary for food stamp recipients? I have often thought this would be a good option and possibly a better way to keep tabs on the money taxpayers spend on helping the needy. I think it would help the needy be more cooperative with looking for steady work and get off the rolls of the government. As it stands, people I work with who are needy buy more clothes, food, weaves, cigarettes... than I can afford to buy as a full time employee. Furthermore, in a commissary of sorts, there would be no cigarettes, beer, liquor and weave. So, the needy would have to "work" for anything more than necessities. Please respond. (corrected version) 🙂

    August 16, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • WhiterFiter

      Are you going to put a 'poor-cafe' on every street corner? No one can afford $4.00 gas (except the rich) to drive to one of these places, but for those who are lucky enough to have good public transportation (they cut all Sunday service where I live years ago, and ended all days at 6pm) there would be a HUGE mob of people using it. No, the answer is to up the minimum wage to a decent ($12-13.00/hr), start taxing the 1% like the rest of us, and FINE any corporations that send jobs overseas. Any corp that cuts its US employees and sends jobs overseas should be fined $1Million per job. Period.

      April 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  10. JEN


    August 12, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Nationwyde

      MOST people who are on some assistance are there through no fault of thier own. The description YOU suggest is old, tired and inaccurate.

      August 12, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
      • Brian

        really? That's an interesting perspective, that I doubt is accurate. 46 million people taking freebies strongly suggests we have a BIG problem with people thinking they do not have to work really, really hard. I have worked hard since I was 15 years old making money doing whatever I could- tackling psych patients who wouldn't take their meds, wiping butts in nursing homes, serving food, mowing lawns, painting houses, playing music in bars, anything and at great sacrifice. The majority of people I see, which could be not 100% accurate, getting and using food stamps look like folks who have given up on trying hard. I'm sure millions do work as hard as they can. But that leaves many millions more living off the rest of our hard labor. Am I wrong? How do you really know how hard people try? Maybe I am wrong, maybe 46 million people are doing the best they can, despite the lack of good decisions and hard work they didn't do in the past. Maybe now we owe them because they are pitiful. I don't think so, and I really doubt it you have an accurate perspective.

        August 17, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • Matthew

      Dear Jen, As as child I was on wellfare for many years. My dad had seizures all the time and could work. My mom was working at the school for minimum wages. After that I went to college received a degree and now am working as a CPA. It helped a lot but it doesn't mean I was a druggy or a fat slob or was my family. You sound so much like a Republican am I right. All you can do is call people names and make yourself feel better. Lets see you in that position and then elect not to take any money and live in a box out on the street. Then lets see what you think of Welfare. You sound so much like my brothers and yet they received welfare as kids too. Shame on you and there are places were people like you will go when they meet their maker.

      August 17, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
      • Brian

        Dude, she may be stereotyping, but she's not talking about you. Gov. safety nets are great, can and do help. But 46 million strongly, strongly suggests, from a policy analysis standpoint, that a ton of people are milking the rest of us. It's super sad because it enables and tricks them into thinking it's OK and they are victims. Survival of the fittest, except in the US? That's a recipe for failure and sadness. People will take what you give them, I would. But it has to be for their betterment if at all possible. 46 million people need help getting food? Food is 2nd only to water to survive. We have to learn how to get food on our own!! Hello!! If someone thinks food will be provided for them, free and always, that is very very risky for society. Seriously. This is a scary stat and we need to address who really benefits, and who needs some tough love. And honestly, who just won't survive. Work or die. And of course I'm not talking about kids, the elderly nor the disabled. If there are 46 million of these folks, well then guess we have a different type of problem. But I really doubt it and one could easily examine the demographics of welfare recipients. I'm sure most are white, so it's not about skin color. I bet most are overweight, which is sad and ironic. Most probably are cognitively challenged, so they waste time, our money and their lives. "Food Stamps" should end at a certain point, say after a year. Have a different program for folks who really need it after that. And monitor it closely to make sure we aren't enabling people to fail.

        August 17, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Teresa

      The reason there are so many on food stamps isn't that they don't work, it's that the wages they get are so substandard they need assistance to put food on the table. Wake up, all our good paying jobs are moving to China, Pakistan and India. Look at your clothing labels, those jobs used to be here in the US. You don't hear our politicians talking about that do you? So the next time you walk through Wal-mart, look to see how many things you can find that are made in the USA. Now you know why so many are on food stamps.

      August 17, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • Evelyn Berryhill

      i agree and they should limit food stamp, let it be for people that really need them like senior and disability people and them that show proof of trying to work to put monies back in the system.

      August 19, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  11. John

    I wish reporters would get to the core of these issues instead of focusing on the emotional content. Yes, people are hurting and I am all for lending a helping hand. Unfortunately, there are a lot of situations abusing the system. States pay out for food stamps but are reimbursed by the Federal Government. The more people a state can get qualified, the more funds put in to the local economy. This is why Hawaii raised their qualifying income to just shy of $60,000 for a family of 4. It's the same with the health care debate. Everything was geared toward getting people insured – NOT lowering health cost. Knock out the middle man insurance agents and health cost would be cut by a third. Of course, this would lead to more unemployment – so government works it to keep the fat. Speaking of unemployment, the one thing to stick out from President Obama's last State of the Union address was how a steel mill which formerly employed 100 people could get the same amount of production out of 10 now. It's called automation. Technology has changed the need for so many workers – Easy to blame China and India but the main culprit is technology. "Creating Jobs" sounds more like a Harry Potter theme – magic wand – *poof*. Politicians keep trying to maintain the status quo. Unless we take things to the core and realize the old ways are unsustainable, the downward spiral will continue.

    August 12, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Taylor

      Sounds to me what you're saying is that government is the culprit, the problem and ergo, NOT the solution.

      Gosh. What a novel idea.

      November 2, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
  12. Peter Primavera

    Wolf – You are the best, so the question must be why do you tolerate the botton-feeding curmudgeon Jac Cafferty on your show. His questions are just shy of the commentary that poors from the Tea Party and the like. He makes the sam sarcastic comments everyday and he then chooses the emails he wants to read. What's the point and what does he accomplish, other than diminsh the quality of your program. He was a nobody on cable in NYC, and then he made the jump to CNN?

    August 11, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  13. steve`

    it's the childrent that upset me who have no food
    not so much adults, but the poor kids tears a hole in me when i think of it or it could be my own children

    August 8, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
  14. casa

    50 million on food stamps...well that is what happens when you have the top 1% accumulating more wealth than the bottom 90%.....That is beyond COMEDY. Nothing more exposes the fallacy of capitalism...because it is built on the assumption that there are no monopolies and everyone is on level competition field...THAT IS A BOGUS....instead what you have is that those with money horde key business/services for generations....basically stagnating progress of humanity. Try to get any descent service from a major corporation...GOOD LUCK...When I complained about the gas meter at a local gas station, the attendant insisted that I try the competition next door..their prices match to the dime...and so is the quality of the service. I am for capitalism, but the system needs a reboot. There should be a standard/index for competitiveness, and if it doesn't live up to the index...then the gov't by the people should take it....until it is as competitively priced like fruits in an open air farmer's market. Why are two phone companies allowed to become soooo big...that it is near impossible for anyone to dare compete with them?

    August 8, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Caden

      I actually found this more eenrttaining than James Joyce.

      October 20, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
  15. sky

    46 million people on food stamps because there are no new jobs in the U.S. To create jobs you need to invest in new jobs in wind, solor, electric cars, fixing our streets, Briges, Highways and schools. Start by paying higher wages for minum wage jobs to support our families, that way they will feel good about the job their doing, dealing with the public everyday and different attitudes aint eazy. When minum wage aint enough to raise a family, pay rent, electric, ect... By the time you get your check weekly or by weeky it's begin taxed and taxes and the change is ours to survive on. The words you don't work, you don't eat , schould be you don't slave you don't eat.

    August 8, 2011 at 3:38 am |
    • Daniel Davis

      Sky, your being unrealistic. If they raise the minimum wage, the cost of the product of that company must go up to pay the wages. 40 some million people on stamps is insane and it's because the government has made programs easier than working. It is so corrupt and twisted the only answer is to start all over and theres no way of that happening. Bottom line, people need to stop expecting handouts and get up and work. Theres always jobs out there, suck up your ego and feed your family. God Bless America.

      August 8, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
      • Linda Davis

        A majority of the people on food stamps are harding working people living within their means. When a person takes a job paying t 7:15 an hour they are unable to afford transportation cost, housing, insurance, utility bills, and food. Often they rely on foodstamps to feed their family or themself. It saddens me when I hear American say people are lazy, not all people are lazy. Speaking from the experience of a social worker, people are hurting because of the bad economy and other reason beyound sometimes their control and they need a little help from the govenment to make it. So, please stop referring to all people as lazy and wanting a handout. My bet friend husband lost his job and she works a mimunim wage job, they barely could afford to pay the bill. They both cried when they had to apply for foodstamps. Her husband had a stroke and is now paralyze because he hated the fact he couldn't provide for his family without a handout.

        August 10, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
      • Mrs. Royal

        It's not easy to get on food stamps. I am 59 years old, unemployed and disabled, yet I do not receive disability benefits. I applied for food stamps and was DENIED because they said I need to work 20 hrs. a week. Excuse me, I have worked all my life, paid into the system, and when I need assistance, I am denied. I am unable to go to a job so tried to work from home, but that wasn't good enough for them. I wasn't working 20 hrs. per week. On top of all that, I am a diabetic and need to eat healthy. Can't do it, can't afford healthy food. So when you spout about people not wanting to work and wanting to live on the system, you need to think before you speak!!

        August 10, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  16. Jim Thomas

    Again,cut off all foreign aid and feed the people in our own coutry first.The USA people are first not last. Jim Thomas Phx.Az.

    August 6, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • Patricia Andrews

      With all respect, foreign aid is not the problem. Lack of jobs in this country is the problem. Foreign aid is a minuscule part of the U.S. budget. Cut it in half and you'd "save" $17B at a cost of eliminating US influence internationally. Simply returning taxes to the Clinton era levels ( I paid them then and I'd pay them again willingly) would raise over $80B. Let's stop the flight of jobs overseas caused by corporations that we protect and to which we give tax breaks – and admit we as a country accepted tax cuts we cannot afford and which did not produce jobs. See

      August 8, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
      • Rose

        Rather than recite the tiapcyl El Rushbo tripe, why not actually research your points and come up with your own catch phrases?It's obvious that you did not even read Brian's posting. The subject was Limbaugh's response about CNN's lame attempt to run a debate. All you are doing is flaming in an attempt to get a response.

        March 3, 2012 at 2:29 am |

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.