Has America Become a ‘Food Stamp Nation’?

That milk is looking very blue.
That milk is looking very blue.

Yesterday we told you that Mayor Bloomberg was unsuccessful in his bid to curb the use of food stamps for junk food like soda. He might not like this news, either: Reuters says that roughly 15 percent of Americans use food stamps (that’s 46 million people), a record high. And that means the amount of money required to keep the program going — Reuters says that number was $68 billion in 2010 — is only getting higher.

Many people say low-paying jobs are to blame: One Wal-Mart employee tells the news agency, “It’s kind of sad that even though I’m working that I need to have government assistance. I have asked them to please put me on full-time so I can have benefits.”

Reuters argues that because job growth has been concentrated in low-wage work, the number of people who rely on the food-stamp program is only going to grow, too.

Of course, that means some politicians are targeting the program — known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP — in hopes of softening its financial impact on the country.

But if it’s helping people who have jobs, is that really a viable option? According to the executive director of BronxWorks, “[P]eople can’t support their families on $10, $11, $12 an hour jobs, especially when you add transport, clothes, rent.”

USA becomes Food Stamp Nation but is it sustainable?
Earlier: Will More People Use Food Stamps If We Call Them Something Else?