Invictus here, folks. I can see from some comments that I should probably have made that more clear from the get-go. Sorry.
I came across a piece of research today that referenced the growing number of households (currently a whopping 19.4 million) participating in the nation’s food stamps program (the official name changed two years ago from food stamps to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)), and was a bit taken aback by what I read, so I went to check out the numbers for myself. The year-over-year (YoY) percent gains in the number of households participating in this program are staggering and, like the recent report on poverty in our country, saddening. Here’s a table sorted in descending order of YoY percent change in number of households participating:
(Click for ginormous)
Source: USDA.gov, Food and Nutrition Service
See also: Bloomberg, Food Stamp Recipients at Record 41.8 Million Americans in July, U.S. Says
ADDING: Barry raises some very interesting and relevant questions in his comment. Questions that I’d love to answer, and will try to. Unfortunately, this data set is not particularly robust, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to put these numbers in the appropriate historical context.
Second, as luck would have it, the NY Times runs with a related story today: New York Asks to Bar Use of Food Stamps to Buy Sodas. This issue calls for a CrowdQuery™: To the extent people find themselves in some way supported by our social safety net(s), what governmental strings — if any — should be attached to that support? Ban sodas? Cigarettes? Alcohol? Other items?