Dec 12 2010
10:02 am

This little tid-bit seems to have gotten lost this week. (h/t) The WSJ wrote earlier this week that folks relying on food stamps is rising, and they provide a nice break-down by state -- it's worth checking out.

Nationwide 14% of the population relied on food stamps as of September but in some states the percentage was much higher. In Washington, D.C., Mississippi and Tennessee – the states with the largest share of citizens receiving benefits – more than a fifth of the population in each was collecting food stamps.

This is a pretty horrible statistic, and for those folks that are on food stamps, I would hazard a guess that they don't feel like a statistic, but want answers on how not to be on food stamps. My question to you, on this blustery day, is how do we turn this around?

Virgil Proudfoot's picture

Let's not talk like Republicans

It isn't a shame that so many Tennesseans are on food stamps. It's actually a very good thing that food stamps are available for people who wouldn't otherwise be able to get food to eat.

The shameful thing is that we somehow expect capitalism to provide full employment, when in fact it delivers the opposite--scarcity of employment, which feeds the profit machine.

We need to stop thinking like Republicans if we want to make progress.

michael kaplan's picture

very well said. it should be

very well said. it should be obvious, but isn't.

EricLykins's picture

The American middle class is

The American middle class is obsolete, and "they" are tired of paying to keep it around. Move to China where there are jobs.

bizgrrl's picture

For Tennessee, this is an 8%

For Tennessee, this is an 8% increase over last year. The increase for Tennessee is lower than all but four states, and is pretty low compared to probably 50% of the states. It might appear that it is typical for large numbers of Tennesseans to be on food stamps. Or, it could be TN has had a more drawn out increase.

How do we turn this around? I have no idea. I wish I did.

EricLykins's picture

It starts with the soil

We've outsourced and devalued manufacturing jobs until the middle class is near non-existent. Centralizing food production has had the same effect. Perhaps when gas goes to $5 a gallon, it won't be worth the money it costs to truck food all over the country before it gets salmonella to our table. Maybe then we can end some of these "food stamps" and start investing closer to the dinner table.

Some think the price shocks of 2007-08 in global commodities prices were just a taste of where we're headed and are seeking opportunities for huge parcels of farmland on other continents and putting friendly neighborhood warlords under wing. That's good for retired hedge fund managers who have opportunities to make money elsewhere on the globe while the bottom 80% of Americans have trouble feeding themselves, but it's not going to bring down the price of tomatoes here.

Either way, "us" and "them" need to have a serious discussion about what we're doing to the soil. I highly recommend clicking that last link and reading the entire September 2008 "Where Food Begins" issue of Nat. Geo.

jbr's picture

Nearly half of elderly in U.S. will face poverty

I assume this will add to the food stamp percentages ...

Nearly half of elderly Americans will face a future with at least one year below or close to the poverty line, according to a new study that showed a huge racial divide in prospects for the elderly.

The MSNBC article

Pam Strickland's picture

I decided to take a closer

I decided to take a closer look in my column this week. Mostly I just let the numbers speak for themselves. (link...)

A note: Nearly 100,000 people are eligible for food stamps but don't seek them.

More people are eligible in Tennessee because the pay rate in Tennessee is lower than surrounding states, except Arkansas and Mississippi.

While other states have higher unemployment rates, their unemployment benefits are sometimes higher -- that didn't make the column at all because of space considerations and I was really focusing more on the food stamps issue. Arkansas for instance has a minimum unemployment benefit of $320 (about) while Tennessee's is $275. Food Stamp benefits are set by the federal government.

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