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"Use of Food Stamps Skyrocketing in Northern Virginia"

Michael Lee Pope, reports in the weekly newspaper Arlington Connection, on the significant growth in the use of food stamps in Northern Virginia. He says their use “doubles in Arlington, triples in Fairfax and quadruples in Alexandria” since 2012. In the lede. Pope writes:

"Over the course of the last decade, anti-poverty programs have been quietly expanding eligibility. And as more and more people qualify, local governments have been aggressively seeking out individuals who may meet the requirements to let them know what benefits are available. Now, as a result of those trends, about half of the recipients of food stamps live above the poverty federal poverty level.

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“In 2010, the federal government spent more than $68 billion on food stamps. Of the 40 million who receive food stamps, slightly more than half were above the poverty line as measured by the U.S. Census. With members of Congress facing the so-called “fiscal cliff,” Armor estimates that the federal government could save as much as $200 billion a year by tightening eligibility of anti-poverty programs to those who live at or below the federal poverty level — not just food stamps, but health insurance, housing and income support. Others disagree.”

Pope reports that relaxed eligibility explains a lot of the growth in the skyrocketing use of food stamps, writing:

“ . . . the increased spending in Northern Virginia is part of a larger national trend. During the eight years of Republican President George W. Bush, federal spending on anti-poverty programs grew by $100 billion. In the first to years of Democratic President Barack Obama, they grew another $150 billion. Much of that increase has come from broadened eligibility.

“All of those stringent verifications we used to get we don’t have to get anymore,” said Linda Horn, manager for the public assistance benefits program in Alexandria. “Right now, we take your word on your bank account for example.”

“Government officials no longer consider whether or not applicants have an automobile. They no longer consider whether or not applicants have educational loans. More homeless people are now eligible than in previous years. The result of all these relaxed eligibility requirements is that a drastically increased number of people are eligible for food stamps, formally known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Local governments have also been working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reach out to individuals who qualify for benefits but have not applied.”

The following chart is from Pope’s story:

We've growled frequently about the the use of food stamps and growing welfare dependency. For example, on August 9, 2012, we growled that over 100 million Americans now received federal welfare in one form or another, including food stamps, and on November 4, 2012 we growled the use of food stamps was growing 75 times faster than job creation. Other growls in 2012 included October 1, December 11, and December 14.

First they relax the eligibility requirements to received food stamps, and then they increase our taxes. How stupid do the politicians think we are? Are we seeing the creation of a permanent dependent class? Sheesh!

For an answer to the question of whether a permanent dependent class is being created, I offer Paul Kengor's recent column at American Spectator. Kengor writes:

"Recently at The American Spectator, I wrote about this new government class. It is being nurtured by the vision and policies and programs of President Obama and his fellow “progressives”/liberals. The current class — the one that re-elected Obama — is comprised of federal employees; of state, county, and municipal workers; of dues-payers in public-sector unions like SEIU and AFSCME; of the teachers’ class and its ringleaders at the NEA and AFT; of Americans collecting food stamps, welfare, and unemployment; of those looking to government for healthcare; and much more. Unbelievably, there is even the surreal spectacle of a rising group of easily agitated young women demanding that Uncle Sam (i.e., taxpayers) pay for their contraception and abortions.

"This new breed of American constitutes a huge segment of the population (and voters) who are becoming not merely dependent upon government but dependent upon Democrats. The more dependent they become, the more their dependency redounds to the political enshrinement of liberal politicians.

"Worse, this class of progressive citizens — basically, Democrat constituencies — is accelerating at breakneck speed . . . ."


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