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Food Stamp Nation. Food Stamp County?

Yesterday, John Hinderaker of the consummate blog, Power Line, noted, “Food stamp use has exploded during the Obama administration, reaching an all-time high of 45.8 million in August.”  However, those numbers have been widely reported in the mainstream media. But then he included the following chart from the Senate Committee on the Budget's Republicans:”

Hinderaker goes on to note:

“To some extent, this growth is the result of record levels of poverty (as measured by the federal government), the result of the Obama administration’s anti-growth policies. But that isn’t the whole story, or even most of it. Normally, one would think that exploding food stamp usage would be nothing to be proud of, but the Democrats have rushed to expand every federal program so as to make as many people as possible dependent on the government. Thus, the food stamp explosion is mostly due to a combination of incompetence and deliberate laxity in administering the program.”

In his blog post, Hinderaker included comments by U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) who made them “after Senate Democrats voted to reject the amendment, offered by Sessions, to the appropriations package that would have fixed a provision in the quadrupling food stamp budget to prevent billions in funds from being mishandled.” According to Sessions:

“This program is not being run honestly, effectively, or fairly. It is deeply disappointing and extremely telling that the Democrat-led Senate voted down even this modest effort to address the almost shameless mishandling of taxpayer funds. We’re in a fiscal crisis that is already killing jobs, and these bills just increase spending—and destroy confidence—that much more.”

Note in the above chart that food stamp expenditures nationally grew 68.2% from 2006 ($41 billion) to 2010 ($69 billion). However, checking the numbers for Arlington County at the Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts’ demographic data shows that food stamp expenditures for Arlington County grew 117.5% for the “non-public assistance” category during the same time span -- from $2.40 million in 2006 to $5.22 million in 2010. Even combining the "public assistance" and "non-public assistance" categories, the increase from 2006 to 2010 is 84.8%.

Rather remarkable numbers since “food assistance distribution dollars” for Virginia increased 90.1% in the “non-public assistance” category, or 76.4% for the two categories combined. Especially remarkable when you consider that Arlington has an employment environment that most other jurisdictions in Virginia, or the country, would envy, as we growled yesterday.

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