Increasing Demand for Food Stamps: Echoes of the Great Depression?

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15% of the US population now depend on food stamps. Are we witnessing the modern equivalent of the bread line? Image credit: Fastfood

Increasing numbers of citizens are relying on government handouts to feed their families. Lines for food stamps are eerily reminiscent of the bread lines of the early 1930s. Are we in the midst of another depression?

Food Stamps: Surges in Demand

Recent reports from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program show that the number of families claiming food stamps in the U.S. is rising dramatically.

In the first throes of the recession, 30,841,790 individuals and 13,900,815 families were reliant on government help to stock their cupboards.

Now, despite repeated assurances from politicians that the worst of the economic downturn is behind us, more than 47 million people – a staggering 15% of the population –  are taking to social security offices in search of help with groceries.

Unless we see government intervention soon to reduce the risk of impending tax credit and benefit cuts (the fiscal cliff), the numbers of those dependent on the government are almost certain to rise.

Social Services Funding Cuts

As the U.S. awaits confirmation of the expected cuts to benefits, news reports of funding cut-backs affecting certain parts of the country are emerging.

Families in Ohio can expect to see reductions from their current level of support to the tune of $50 per month (the average cost of food stamps for a family claiming food stamps is currently $277.04) as the government begins to address levels of public spending across an array of supporting benefits.

With a farm bill yet to be approved, the level of cuts to be applied nationwide are unknown. As much as $16 billion could be slashed from the food stamps budget, putting further strain on families who depend on government funding to make ends meet.

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