As Food Stamp Use Explodes, Stigma Fades
Americans 'who never thought' they'd use aid are relying on it
By Jen Paton, Newser User
Posted Nov 29, 2009 7:14 AM CST
A Link card, Illinois' version of food stamps.   (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

(Newser) – With one in eight Americans now using food stamps and 20,000 more signing up each day, "nutritional assistance" is becoming a normal part of American life rather than a shameful secret, reports the New York Times. In analyzing local data, the paper found that in 239 counties—as large as the Bronx and Philadelphia—at least 25% of residents collect food stamps; use is also booming in formerly affluent areas like Riverside County, Calif., a number of tony Atlanta suburbs, and Warren County, Ohio, a place so against government aid that is rejected a federal stimulus grant.

While the need behind the numbers is helping to chip away at the stigma, the change began pre-recession, notes the Times, thanks to efforts by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to promote a program that has been critically branded "cash welfare" in the mid-'90s. Said one man who finally got aid when he was skimping on meals himself to feed his family: “I always thought it was people trying to milk the system. But we just felt like we really needed the help right now.”

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Showing 3 of 14 comments
Dec 1, 2009 12:01 PM CST
Foodsatmps are for those that need them. Don't project your biased opinions on them.
Dec 1, 2009 12:00 PM CST
Nothing about the trillions in corporate welfare? Nothing about the ripping off of taxpayers by corporations getting tax breaks, no bid contracts, forgiveness from anti-trust laws? 35% off the top on your healthcare insurance costs? All those trillions to corporate welfare and all you got to worry with is foodstamps?
Nov 30, 2009 12:45 PM CST
my opinion is that the system is to liberal. yes it frees up a lot of money so that the users can afford other needed items, but I think it frees up so much that it actually becomes a hardship to earn above the allowable amount. the programs IMO should come with penalties or promisary notes so that the ones that have to use the programs have a greater obligation to re-fund the system. it could be enough of a deterent to encourage people to think twice about managing thier budget when times are tough rather than looking to Big Brother for thier handout.