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Are Food Stamps the Soup Lines of this Great Recession?

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Washington’s Blog
Friday, Dec 11th, 2009

Bloomberg notes that, as of 2007:

In Missouri, about 100 percent who were eligible [for food stamps] that year took advantage of the program, the highest rate in the nation, followed by residents of Maine and Michigan, at 91 percent and 89 percent, respectively …

Things have gotten much worse since 2007:

As the New York Times notes, “one in eight Americans and one in four children” receive food stamps.

Many economists and financial experts have said that we are in a depression. See this, this and this.

I hope they are wrong, or that – if we were in a depression – we’re out of it now.

But it is indisputable that the unemployment numbers are still grim. Specifically:

  • More people will be unemployed than during the Great Depression
  • By some measures, unemployment is worse than it was during a comparable time-frame in the Great Depression
  • Vice President Biden said recently: “It’s a depression for millions of Americans”

Given the above, Stacy Herbert’s question of today is compelling:

The food stamps story seems to be one that keeps popping up; I guess food stamps are the soup lines of this Great Depression?


Note: At least some economists say that food stamps give more bang for the buck in stimulating the economy than just about anything else. And see this. But economic, political and moral questions surrounding food stamps are beyond the scope of this essay.

This article was posted: Friday, December 11, 2009 at 5:46 am

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