The food stamp program began in 1939 to contend with unmarketable food surpluses and widespread unemployment and has expanded to nearly 45 million Americans who are currently in need of food assistance. While some view this expansion of the program as a failure of the current administration, others may view it as a culmination of failed economic planning of past administrations.
The American Spector
On January 16, 2012 during a Republican debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, claimed that “more people have been put on food stamps by Barrack Obama than any president in American history”. (Jackson, 2012) The numbers don’t lie, during President Obama’s first term as President; the total number of food stamp recipients has increased to 44.7 million which is over 14% of the nation or 1 in 7 Americans, which is a 33% rise from 2009 and more than 160% since 2000. (Kaminsky, 12) This increase in the number of participants in the food stamp program, now referred to as SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program), has significantly exceeded the number of unemployed and the number of those living below the poverty line. President Obama is basically offering a “free lunch” to 14% of the nation that are being paid for by the today’s taxpayers for years to come, many see this as less of a temporary economic relief and more of a process of creating a society dependent on government handouts for their existence instead of giving them jobs so that they can take care of themselves. As Michael Tanner at the Cato Institute stated, "We are becoming a society that makes poverty more comfortable instead of doing what we need to reduce poverty.
While it has always been trait of Americans to help out each other when people are struggling, it is even more necessary for the government to assist these same people in a down economy and few options exist for these Americans. Food stamp use is definitely at the highest point in more than four decades. Does this prove that President Obama is promoting a society of dependency? No, it simply indicates that the nation is suffering to such a point that more Americans need assistance with their basic needs.
If you were to review the data currently available (Federal Reserve Bank of ST. Louis, 2012) (USDA.gov, 2012), you would discover that since the first year of the Bush administration of 2002, there has been a steady increase in the number of Americans using food stamps throughout his eight years in office, indicating that more Americans signed up for food stamps under the Bush administration than have signed up under President Obama. If there is an administration that should accept responsibility for the massive increase in the number of Americans receiving food stamps, then it is clear that the…