Americans On Foodstamps Hits New Record In August, Increase By Over Half A Million To 42.4 Million, 17% Increase Year Over Year

Tyler Durden's picture

Another highlight you may not hear in the President's address from this morning: according to the last Department of Agriculture update, Americans on foodstamps has increased by over half a million in August, hitting a fresh all time high of 42.4 million people relying on the government for basis sustenance. At least now we know where that labor force is going. The August number is a 17% rise from the same time a year ago. That number is up 58.5% from August 2007, before the recession began.

As the WSJ reports:

By population, Washington, D.C. had the largest share of residents receiving food stamps: More than a fifth, 21.1%, of its residents collected assistance in August. Washington was followed by Mississippi, where 20.1% of residents received food stamps, and Tennessee, where 20% tapped into the government nutrition program.

Idaho posted the largest jump in recipients in the past year. The number of people receiving food stamps climbed 38.8% but their rolls are still fairly low. Just 211,883 Idaho residents collected food stamps in August.

The average benefit size per person nationwide in August was $133.90. Per household it was $287.82.

Food stamps have become a lifeline for workers who have lost their jobs, particularly among the growing share of unemployed Americans who have also exhausted their unemployment benefits. Lines at grocers at midnight on the first of the month have signaled that, in many cases, those benefits aren’t tiding families over and they run out before their next check kicks in.

Even during the summer children returned to schools to take advantage of free lunch programs where they were available. Nearly 195 million lunches were dished out in August and 58.9% of them were free. Another 8.4% were available at reduced prices. That number will surge when the fall data are released because children will be back in school. Last September, for example, more than 590 million lunches were served, nearly 64% of which were free or reduced price.

Children whose families have incomes at or below 130% of the poverty level — $28,665 for a family of four — can access free meals. Those families earning between 130% and 185% of the poverty level — $40,793 for a four-person family — are eligible for reduced-price meals that can’t cost more than 40 cents.

We also fail to see just what Fed-induced wealth effect these 42.4 million Americans will receive courtesy of the Fed's generosity targetting Wall Street, corporate insiders, and nobody else.

h/t Papaswamp

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Xibalba's picture

What happens to the food stamp program once the Fed goes bankrupt?


Temporalist's picture

I knew if I waited long enough my dreams would come true!  Getting paid just to be American!  Thanks mom and dad!  Thanks everyone who made this day the greatest day of my life!

Tyler Durden's picture

While we agree about the Fed's capital deficiency, and wrote about it over a year ago, it appears that there is no technical trigger for insolvency of the Fed. I.e., the central bank can have a negative infinite capital balance and proceed to do business as usual. Thank the congress, and today's Jekyll island festivities.

Mongo's picture

I like when you say negative infinite capital balance. When it's infinite it doesn't even matter that it's negative :P


J Robert Burgoyne's picture

Mongo, you've seduced me into making my first-ever ZH post:


JLee2027's picture

 it appears that there is no technical trigger for insolvency of the Fed.

That's what I was afraid of. They have to put down by Congress itself. Lawd help us.

tmosley's picture

There may not be a technical trigger, but I would wager that there is a sociological/economic one.  Any thoughts?

BobPaulson's picture

Right now the global situation makes a foreign trigger, which IMO is what is needed, unlikely. But I think those states that are looking to pull the trigger, like China and Russia, are now preparing themselves as fast as they can so that pulling the trigger doesn't kill more than one lame horse.

Financial_Guardian_Angel's picture

A possible socio-economic trigger (albeit unlikely) is the outing of the FED by the likes of Rand Paul and Jim DeMint. A full audit, hearings, and forensic analysis may be enough to anger enough sheeple to demand a change. I'm all for it--let's shine a bright light in the dark corners of the FED and see how many skeletons we can pull out!

Cpl Hicks's picture

I agree with you that the hearings should happen and that many Americans and most ZHers would be happy to see them proceed...but, from a purely practical/realistic viewpoint what do you think the hearings would find and what outcomes might result?

I'm not saying don't go after the Fed and go after them hard.

Just a thought experiment- what might happen?

RichardENixon's picture

What will happen if the Fed is audited is that the auditors will find what most of us here already know: There is a little of over-valued junk on the Fed's balance sheet.

Goldenballs's picture

Presumably the FED goes bankrupt when the currency becomes worthless and therefore they have no power for change.

A Man without Qualities's picture

But the Fed has an infinite amount of goodwill that doesn't appear on balance sheet...

Triggernometry's picture

Technically perhaps this is so, but by 2003 Zimbabwe could no longer afford the paper with which to print more money. Ultimately the Fed's balance sheet will hit an asymptote. As you say TD, "on a long enough timeline..."

MGA_1's picture

I don't see how the fed can go bankrupt.  Now, if you call a hyperinflation of the currency bankrupcy, then that's a different story.

Whatta's picture

The FED has already said before Congress that their balance sheet is limitless. Limitless means that Unicorns exist and that there can never be a bankrupt FED.

BobPaulson's picture

\lim_{x \rightarrow \infty}} \frac{1}{x}

FreedomGuy's picture

Thanks, Xi, that's a good link. I like articles that explain things clearly for us nontraders. Pretty depressing, but makes sense.

The thing that gets me is that the Fed seems able to operate in a universe where there are no financial physics. They can stop gravity, travel faster than the speed of light and do opposite things at the same time. Kinda godlike if you ask me. Something tells me that therein lies the problem and there will be a day of financial reckoning...maybe the financial apocalypse that many here fear.

Its hard to believe that the whole world wants to go with us.

Boilermaker's picture

Well, yea, but when those food stamp recipients start feel the 'wealth effect' from the rising stock market and their soaring equity portfolios....THEY'LL be dancing the jig!

They need to start dumping their welfare checks into the market now so that they get in at a good price!

FreedomGuy's picture

Can you debase the value of foodstamps, too, lol? Maybe the Fed will get into foodstamps.

RichardENixon's picture

I guarantee you someone somewhere is trying to figure out how to securitize them.

Dirt Rat's picture

The benefits on EBT cards, which are used for both foodstamps and unemployment benefits, are deposited in and drawn from the accounts of...drumroll, please...JPMorgan/Chase. I'm not exactly sure how that works, but they would appear to have quite a bit of blow money for the money markets and however else they play with money.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

The more bizarre things become, the more a person's own real(ity) experience diverges from the publicly promoted reality, the more confused the average Jane becomes, the more Jane will welcome the official political lie.

"Well, even though things don't seem quite right, as long as I'm still working and disaster doesn't strike, if the President says things are slowly getting better, I guess I'll just wait and see a bit longer."

The ultimate can that's being kicked down the road is public sentiment.

Pining for the Fjords's picture

Exactly, CD- and what a reckoning there will be when these comfortable lies are suddenly seen as such by the masses.  On ZH we talk alot about hating the slow death we are witnessing and there seems to be a general sentiment of "Just die, already".  Not me.  I am very, very afraid for the moment when the bulk of people come to see our situation as WE now see it.  And I think most of us have no idea what these suddenly enraged masses, realizing the extent of the the crimes against them, will be capable of.  Personally, I am planning on hunkering down and doing everything I possibly can to protect my kids.  Nothing else really matters to me, at this point.

aerojet's picture

You're not protecting them by avoiding the reckoning, you're just pushing it further into their future.  Look at Japan, where people can't get married and have kids because that nation has failed to face up to its own central bank failures.  If you live through the turmoil, you will be better off.  I fail to see why you would care to sentence your children to a life of the average Russian--they're alive, sort of, I guess. 

BobPaulson's picture

I actually think the US could contain domestic sentiment a long long time with the level of apathy and ignorance that is prevalent. The Tea Party thing being sidetracked into religious wedge issues is evidence that any effort to make fiscal imprudence an issue will invariably be diverted to dead end circus sideshows that keep the proles screaming at the top of their lungs at each other. Watch the Republican Congress change nothing wrt giving money to Banks.

Public sentiment will worsen but it looks to me that it will remain impotently unfocused until a charismatic dictator comes along and blames it all on some minority group. This outcome now seems, frighteningly, like one of the few plausible ways to exit this morass. Either something like Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan in the 30s or reign of terror like France in the 1790s, Khemr Rouge or similar. Countless scenarios like this have happened in Latin America and Africa.

financeguru500's picture

I agree with you completely.


It's sad that when the American people do form a group to protest things like unfair taxation, the MSM changes it and even worse the Republicans take over it when it was never a republican movement to begin with.

Any chance the U.S. citizens had to stand up and form a movement are long gone due to the control the MSM has on our country. There is no way to unify a people when what most people see and believe is what they are fed on the television.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Any chance the U.S. citizens had to stand up and form a movement are long gone due to the control the MSM has on our country. There is no way to unify a people when what most people see and believe is what they are fed on the television.

While I agree the level of control is great, there is also some responsibility for the wage slave to honestly reflect upon his or her condition. I would argue that even if the MSM didn't have the control it currently has, I don't know if the passive population would revolt if they did know what was going on.

What comes first, the spirit or desire to know what's going on or the control that helps hide what's going on. The very fact that youknow more than the average Jane or Joe is proof that the knowledge can be gained. Is it the MSM's fault people don't wish to expend the energy needed to find out? If they did find out, why would we possibly think they would actually push back? A chicken or the egg problem.

Fundamentally, this is why various truth movements fail. Because they do not effectively encourage or manufacture the desire to gain knowledge as well as the system itself encourages or manufactures the desire not to know.

FreedomGuy's picture

You nailed it CD. See my post above. All the official data seems to be coming from a parallel universe that doesn't look anything like my world.

Bill Lumbergh's picture

Apparently the market likes this news...then again everything bad including Wall Street being swallowed by a massive sinkhole is already baked into the price.

Implicit simplicit's picture

Could I have a side of socialism with that? Please top it off with extra fascism, and jack up the price of everything derived from any type of commodity-yeah everything.

MarketTruth's picture

Keep in mind the Foodstamps program (SNAP) is operated by one of the owners of the private Federal Reserve bank. Specifically, it is operated by JP Morgan. Am just sayin'...

NOTW777's picture

WHAT? no presidential news conference celebrating the food stamp victory

ZackAttack's picture

You have to admire their brazenness... Purposely attempting to create a bubble in risk assets on the theory that the wealthiest 1%, who own 83% of risk assets, will *feel* wealthier and begin to spend and borrow.  

Meanwhile, as this vast experiment in centrally planned social engineering unfolds, the remaining 99% of society is forced to endure margin compression as food, fuel and all other inputs rise in price while wages remain stagnant and unemployment high.

They have trained America well to worship the rich.

Max Hunter's picture

They have trained America well to worship the rich.

Truer words have not been spoken..

nonclaim's picture

There's more social justice when everybody is miserable. <sarcasm/>

Winston Smith 2009's picture

"They have trained America well to worship the rich."

By maintaining the illusion that everyone has a significant chance of becoming one of them. "When I become a billionaire, I don't want none of them taxes on me. Now, pass me that Bud, momma'."

101 years and counting's picture

Luckily for those Americans on food stamps, there is no inflation in food prices.

hedgeless_horseman's picture

I am not on food stamps, nor unemployment.  Nevertheless, I am butchering some chickens tomorrow to put in the freezer. 

Cornish Rocks cost me $1.67 per head, and weigh 6 pounds after we butcher them.  It takes about 45 days of eating milk (free from our cow), kitchen scraps (free), bugs from the horse pasture (free), and 1 bag of starter feed per 25 birds ($20).

25 birds cost us $42 + $20 for feed, or roughly $62. 

25 birds x 6 pounds = 150 pounds of chicken, or 42 cents per pound.

Knowing where our food comes from...priceless.

Pining for the Fjords's picture

HH-  you are my freaking hero.  My vague plans to build a chicken tractor this winter and start doing what you are doing just got fast-tracked-  thank you. 


hedgeless_horseman's picture

Raising chickens is easy, fun, and you will definitely taste the difference.  Remember, the solution for any chicken problem, or problem chicken, is dinner.  I have found disintermediation to be a healthy outlet for ZeroHedge induced angst.

kadriana288's picture

Our rooster recently got sent to freezer camp after he went after me. Fresh eggs are much better than anything you can buy in a store.

Sudden Debt's picture

everybody who has lunch at noon should take some food of their plate and throw it at the first person that looks like he's on food stamps.


Whatta's picture

I am hungry

and, I am a confirmed, gainfully unemployed slacker that tries to take others money away trading.

I am not on food stamps


but I AM hungry...mmmmmm, tacos.

Sudden Debt's picture

call your secretary and tell her you want to eat pussy.

that's what I always do when I'm hungry