Which Is Greater: Full Time Jobs Or Americans On Food Assistance And Disability?

Tyler Durden's picture

Over the past week there has been some speculation whether the number of Americans who receive food assistance and/or are on disability, outnumber full-time employed workers in the US.

Here is the answer:

  • There are 116 million Americans with full-time jobs according to the BLS (source), which includes 21.9 million government workers (source).

So far so good. Now the flip side showing how many Americans are reliant on the USDA's Food and Nutrition Services program or on Disability payments, i.e., food assistance in some form:

  • There are 47.5 million Americans on Foodstamps
  • There are 30.4 million Americans participating in the National School Lunch Program
  • There are 13.2 million Americans participating in the School Breakfast Program
  • There are 8.6 million Americans participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition - Women, Infants and Children program Participants
  • There are 3.4 million Americans participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Food Donation Program
  • There are 0.6 million Americans participating in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program
  • There are 0.1 million Americans participating in the Food Donation Program
  • There are 8.6 million Americans on Disability

For a grand total of 112.5 million Americans on Food assistance (sources here and here).

End result: there are 3.5 million more Americans with full-time jobs than there are Americans who are reliant on the government for their daily bread: a tiny 3% delta.

What this means for the country, we will let readers decide.

The above is notable because Congress just passed a Farm Bill without consideration for Foodstamps funding. From Reuters:

The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives defied a White House veto threat and passed a farm bill on Thursday that expands the taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance system but omitted food stamps for the poor.


Lawmakers passed the 608-page bill, unveiled by Republican leaders late on Wednesday night, on a 216-208, party-line vote after two hours of debate in which no amendments were allowed.


Republican leaders said food stamps, traditionally part of the farm bill, would be handled later and that, for now, they needed a way to start negotiations with the Senate over a compromise bill.


Democrats said the real intent of the action was to isolate food stamps for large cuts in funding.


House Speaker John Boehner declined to say if leaders would allow a vote on a farm bill with larger food stamp spending than his party liked. "We'll get to that later," he told reporters.


Massachusetts Democrat Jim McGovern said he believed conservatives were promised a chance to strive for deeper cuts to food stamps in upcoming legislation. The defeated earlier version of the farm bill would have ended benefits for 2 million people, or about 4 percent of recipients.


"A vote for this bill is a vote to end nutrition programs in America," said Rose DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat.

Surely not even Congress is stupid enough to not realize that if the free meals of 47.5 million Americans are taken away, the consequences would be severe.

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MarkTwainsMustache's picture

Is there any double counting between programs?

Tyler Durden's picture

Those are separate programs with distinct eligibility requirements, and since a meal is being prepared it means someone eligible has applied for it. Of course, if someone is abusing the system and/or eating numerous meals to the detriment of someone else, that is certainly possible.

Either way, the bottom line remains: the US government provides for the free daily food for over 110 million Americans. How that food is distributed is a separate issue.

francis_sawyer's picture

How could anybody, POSSIBLY, think of doing such a thing?


I mean ~ That would be like telling a "lie" [about Libor], or the '9/11 Commission' report being false...

12ToothAssassin's picture

Should the 21.5m govt jobs be counted as employment or handout? Im torn.

kaiserhoff's picture

Government worker is an oxymoron.

ZerOhead's picture

Tyler... you lost me at "Surely not even Congress is stupid enough to not realize that..."...

kaiserhoff's picture

Why mess with food stamps?

Zero out section 8 housing.  That will take all the fun out of welfare foreveh.

jerry_theking_lawler's picture

take away section 8.....so they can't breed at home.

take away food stamps....so they won't have energy to breed.

take away obama phones....so they can't set up breeding appointments.

take away obama computers (yep, they are out there)....so they can't social media each other about breeding.

take away the implied loan guarantees on autos....so they can't travel to breed.

that would just about do it.....

foodstampbarry's picture

Ah, but this was the democrat plan all along. Endless voter base.

agNau's picture

Most I see are regular morons.

ejmoosa's picture

Let's not forget the contractors used to make the number of govt jobs look lower.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


Let's not forget the contractors used to make the number of govt jobs look lower.

Good point. Also included should be history's biggest welfare queens: those corporations whose sole or primary revenue source is the teat of "defense" spending and those corporations whose core business model consists of skimming as much as possible from the financial transactions of others.

KidHorn's picture

Being a gov't contractor myself, I can say that contractors are the ones doing all the work. The contractors are hired to do the jobs of the gov't employees. The gov't employees tell the contractors what to do and the contractors treat them like royalty. Otherwise the contract will be awarded to someone else. I'm not being sarcastic. I'm dead serious as to how things work in Washington.

Promethus's picture

Should contractors working for the government be considered private or government workers?

Thisson's picture

This is a slippery slope - should employees of private ethanol companies (or employees of any other subsidized business) be treated as government workers?  Government contractors provide a service - yet there is an oversupply of services provided because government is inordinately large.  At the end of the day, I don't think it really makes much difference which of two arbitrary categories you put them in.  The reality is still the same - government has warped all aspects of the economy.

Hey Assholes's picture

Government "workers" subtract from the revenue trough, they do not add money to it.


Walks like a parasite, quacks like a parasite, means it is a parasite.

Thisson's picture

It's unfair to call them all parasites.  It is hard to argue that some small level of government is required (after all, the enforcement of private property rights is an essential requirement of a market-based economy), and that those who perform that work are actually contributing something to society.

bread n circuses's picture

Most of them are more pernicious than either.  If all they did was take a handout and sit on their arses all day, then they would simply by worthless parasites.  A great many of them, however, actually busy themselves with their 8 hours a day to make life worse for the rest of us.  The worst part about it is that they are convinced they are somehow helping people.  Cognitive dissonance, I guess.

kchrisc's picture

Worse than welfare/handouts! Yes, I said worse.

All government loot is stolen from the producers, and that is a drain on their production. A welfare/handout recipient is just eating off of your production as is the government "worker."

Now a government "worker" is worse because most government "jobs" are involved, one way or another, in impeding production. A pol or crat that comes up with new "rules" as to how long your mop handles need to be, and how many forms to fill out and permits to have, etc. is impeding production. Basically loot stolen from you is being used to support a cadre of parasitic pols, crats and gun and badge thugs whose only "job" is to impede your production ability further, beyond "taxes," with regulations, etc.

So in summary: government "jobs"/"workers" are WORSE than welfare/handout recipients.

fonzannoon's picture

1/5 of the full time workers are sucking on the other 4/5 of the full time workers like a giant, bloated tick.



rbg81's picture

It is more than that.  How many private sector workers rely on the Government for their jobs?  That is, if the Government cancelled their contract, no job.   Not technically Government employees, but just as reliant on tax revenue.  I would guess about 33:67 [Gov:Non-Gov]  is a more accurate ratio.

Thisson's picture

And all the subsidies (virtually every major industry has subsidies of some form).  We have entire industries (i.e. "tax accountant") that wouldn't exist but for government.

Never One Roach's picture

They count gov jobs as "full time"?


edit: sorry, i just noticed all th epost above re: this issue.

Cult_of_Reason's picture

Hey Tyler,

Why am I getting bombarded with ARM loan ads on this website?


Praetorian Guard's picture

...because thats probably what you have been looking at via your search engine...

Cult_of_Reason's picture

Nah... not searching for any loans anywhere and wouldn't even touch ARMs with a ten-foot pole.

Praetorian Guard's picture

Bernanke knows better... stare into the spiral hypnotic wheel... you are getting sleepy... you will wake up in 3 . 2 . 1... hey where do I sign up for an ARM??? [problem solved] Hahahahaha

kaiserhoff's picture

They've mistaken you for a sheeple, who wants to monetize your real estate bubble equity.

Don't feel bad.  I'm pre-approved for all sorts of shit;)

knukles's picture

Does pre-approval also account for all the little voices I hear in my head telling me that I love Dear Leader?

MsCreant's picture

No, the ads account for it. 

Skateboarder's picture

The ads are just reinforcement. We already wuv him vewy much.

Shad_ow's picture

Getting lots of cold calls for financing for our construction company, which closed the end of 2010.  Haven't asked for loans, don't want loans, but there are lots of feelers going out to lend.

Are Ben bucks getting in the way at the big banks?

Thisson's picture

Banks want to lend.  Bernanke wants credit to expand.  That's the only way to keep our ponzi monetary system going.  The problem is that our economy is already supersaturated with debt.  

CPL's picture

Because you are pre-approved?

rqb1's picture

So you really think the kids getting school lunch/breakfast are not the same families also getting foodstamps? 

TheMeatTrapper's picture

Same families, different people. The parents are getting food stamps so they can buy lobster and steak knowing that their kids will get free breakfast and lunch at school. Feed the kids Sugar Smacks and keep the steak and lobster for themselves. Sweet deal. 

Promethus's picture

Poor people don't eat steak and lobster. They require at least some minimal cullinary skills to prepare. Poor people want junk food that they can shovel in their pie hole while watching TV or texting on their Obama phone.


Oliver Klozoff's picture

You have never been to a Red Lobster?

JohnG's picture



They definitly are, at least around here.  My wife teaches kindergarten.  Parents need show only thier EBT card and the children get free breakfast and lunch, automatically, no questions asked.

Additionally, the school cannot, by law, inquire as to the immigration status of the parent or children; they are "entitled" to a taxpayer funded edumacation simply by showing up.

Pisses me off.

Dingleberry's picture

Did you vote for Obammy or his clones?

Praetorian Guard's picture

That will soon end. Everything has a price, and war, in my opinion, will be the great cleansing... time to cull the herd...



Praetorian Guard's picture

Wow, you negative rating shills must think everything will continue as peaches and cream? Sure...

Payable on Death's picture

Whatever. If we take only Foodstamps and disability, thats 56MM, or about half of those working--more for private sector. Still too f*ckin much.

This is why we are screwed: people are voting themselves money. THAT is greed.

FEDbuster's picture

Most of the ones on disability are also on foodstamps.  When you go on the dole they encourage you to go "full dependency".  

JohnG's picture



"When the people find they can vote themselves money,
that will herald the end of the republic."

--Benjamin Franklin

malikai's picture

"Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses"