Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Oh, SNAP!

SNAP - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - is the new name for the Food Stamp program and I was surprised by some of the data out of that program today.

The total number of participants has jumped 22% since last year to over 39.4 million people enrolled. While that is a sobering statistic what caught my eye was that the jump in participants was dwarfed by the 42% increase in the total cost of the program year over year. Why was there such a large jump in the budget? A little digging reveals that the average monthly benefit also increased from $101/mth to $124/mth in the last year.

In FY 2005 the average monthly benefit was $92 and the average monthly benefit increased $3/year from 2005-2008. Until 2009 when the avg benefit jumped $23 in a year.

This is a critical program that needs max funding to ensure adequate nutrition for our citizens during difficult economic times. However, we are being told repeatedly how there is no inflation in the US, yet the average benefit payout spiked 22% at a time when participation is at an all-time high. What budget item did we cut to fund this increase? Medicare? Social Security? Defense? Oh, that's right.... kick the can down the road.

* Hey, first thunderstorm of the season rolling through!! That's a sign that the end of the heating season is upon us :)

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Cheers!

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