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Today, America's Foodstamps Program Gets A 6% Haircut: What Happens Next?

Tyler Durden's picture


Today, one of America's best-known welfare programs with 47.6 million participants or 15% of the total population, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program also known as "foodstamps" or EBT, is due for a substantial haircut: beginning Friday, there will be a phased in $5 billion reduction (6% of the program) for the 12 month period starting November 1st 2013. So what happens next? 

Nick Colas of Convergex explains.

The U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (a.k.a. Food Stamps) is the largest means-tested social support program in the country, with $6.3 billion in direct monthly cash transfers to individuals for the purchase of food.  Some 47.6 million people (15% of the total population) are in the SNAP program as of the most recent data (July 2013) and these individuals receive an average of $132 per month.  This support is set for a cut on Friday, with a $5 billion reduction (6% of the program) for the 12 month period starting November 1st 2013.  From a Wall Street perspective, these numbers may seem small at 0.0003% of GDP.  From the perspective of Main Street, however, is means a cut of $36/month for a family of four receiving full SNAP benefits.  Record levels for stocks, record level for SNAP participants…  An odd societal disconnect, to be sure. 

We’ve written about the U.S. Supplemental Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps) in these pages over the years even though the topic bears no direct relationship to corporate earnings, interest rates, the Federal Reserve, or any other recognized business topic.  The reason for this focus is threefold:

  • It is a very large visible government program with monthly data updates.  There are, for example, 47,637,407 Americans in the SNAP program as of the most recent update (July 2013) from U.S. Department of Agriculture.  A total of 23,074,914 households receive an average monthly benefit of $272.51.  This amounts to $6.3 billion in monthly support.  As a percent of the population, this is 15% of all Americans and +20% of all households in the program. 
  • It is a good measure of how deeply the economic recovery in the U.S. is reaching through the socioeconomic strata.  Qualifying for SNAP means you make no more than 130% of the poverty line and generally have limited assets.  Those 47.6 million people in the SNAP program are, for all intents and purposes, a record high for food stamp participation once you exclude months where the program includes disaster assistance. 
  • It generates a large amount of hate email direct to my inbox and voicemail from both ends of the political spectrum.  From the right comes criticisms over certain parts of the US population using EBT cards (the debit cards used to distribute the program’s payments) to buy beer and potato chips.  This, yes, does occasionally happen.  From the left, we get missives that feel a lot like that guy who told the world to “Leave Britney alone!” Food stamps, these folks argue, are part of living in a just society, which doesn’t allow anyone to go hungry.  Half of all the people enrolled in SNAP are children, so it is pretty easy to see their point of view as well.

In the spirit of bringing our two warring readerships together, I would propose the following statement: “Something has changed about America since the Financial Crisis, and the still widespread popularity of the SNAP program is emblematic of that shift.”  Or, in the words of Bill Parcells, “You are what your record says you are.”  The American economic record, based on the Food Stamp data, is still pretty lousy:

  • Before the Great Recession of 2009, enrollment in the SNAP program ebbed and flowed with the state of the U.S. economy.  There are links to the data after this note, with the high water marks in 1976, 1981, 1992-4 and cyclical lows in the late 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. 
  • From 2004 to the present day, SNAP enrollment has doubled from 23 million people to more than 46 million.  The cost of the program over that period has moved from $25 billion annually to $75 billion in 2012. 
  • The notional economic “Recovery” which has helped domestic equities more than double from their March 2009 lows is entirely absent from the U.S. food stamp data.  As mentioned, enrollments are still essentially at record highs. 
  • Sometimes big numbers are hard to visualize, so here’s a few ways to think about the size of the SNAP program.  For example, if every SNAP participant lived in one state, it would be 20% more populous than California.  If every person in the program linked hands, human chain style, they could circle the Earth (assuming a 3 foot reach per person). 

We’ll sidestep the inevitable political discussion for a moment longer, and point out that things are about to change in the food stamp program.  On November 1st, everyone in the SNAP program will see lower payments.  Here’s the hows and whys:

  • Monthly payments increased because of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but these increases expire on Friday.  The jumps were substantial – the average benefit per person increased to $125 in 2010 from $102 in 2009 and topped out at $133/person in 2010 – 2012. 
  • The change cuts $5 billion out of the program for the November 2013 – 2014 period, on a base of $75 billion (based on the latest run rate of $6.3 billion/month).  The USDA estimates that this will be a $36/month reduction in benefits for a family of four. 
  • The Center for Budget Policy Priorities, using USDA data, stated in a recent note that 80% of SNAP households live below the Federal poverty line ($19,500 for a family of three) and 40% live in households making less than half that amount.  The SNAP program helps feed 25% of all US children and over 9 million seniors.

Let’s see if we can dodge the political bullet for one more paragraph, with a few more fact-based points:

  • The SNAP program is explicitly NOT designed to provide the only income available to economically distressed Americans for the purpose of purchasing food.  There’s been a raft of celebrity and CEO ‘Live on SNAP benefits’ challenges, where these economically fortunate individuals chose to live on $133/month in food purchases.  This ignores the fact that the program is intended to be “Assistance” rather than 100% support. 
  • There are further cuts in the program coming in 2014 – 2016, to the tune of $11 billion over the period.  It is an odd quirk of the SNAP program that its funding is part of the annual Farm Bill in Congress.  That means these future cuts could be overturned as House and Senate consider this legislation. For right now, however, these proposed reductions would take the SNAP program down to $60 billion from the current $75 billion run rate.  Truth be told, the pressure within Congress is to cut these payments further, rather than to increase them. 
  • If you are looking for a capital markets impact, retailers in southern and western states are one place to look.  There are 13 states with over 1 million SNAP participants: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.  The economic “multiplier” on food stamp purchases is about 2:1, so the $5 billion reduction in 2013-2014 looks more like $10 billion in the real economy. 

To sum up (apolitically, of course)…  The amount of money 15% of the U.S. population uses to purchase food is about to go down, and by enough so this group will notice its absence.  It may not matter to the economic data on which Wall Street hangs its fedora, but it is certainly enough to spark a political response.  How this plays out, I honestly have no idea.  We are in uncharted waters here, as the historical record clearly shows.  


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Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:06 | 4111790 Cult_of_Reason
Cult_of_Reason's picture

Less money on our EBT cards?

Every American is entitled by God to get free food.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:07 | 4111798 bania
bania's picture

I give up. What's the answer?

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:13 | 4111807 Cult_of_Reason
Cult_of_Reason's picture

Are you against God and hungry children?

You are the enemy of the people.

We need to pull out and examine your NSA file. We need to get rid of people like you, Chicago style.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:13 | 4111823 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

Livestock, as a matter of tradition, always get free food.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:20 | 4111845 Cult_of_Reason
Cult_of_Reason's picture

Are you against free contraception for everyone?

If yes, you have declared the war on women and God. We need to exterminate you, Chicago style or our new founding father Joseph Stalin style.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:28 | 4111885 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Food Stamp is not deliver... postage due!

(See what Boris is do there? Double entendre word play!)

Seriously, stamp is not of nutritional value, what is giving!?

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:40 | 4111926 Atlasshruggedme
Atlasshruggedme's picture

I love your comments Boris. Your outside perspective looking in and broken english are great. Allot of the times people can't see the trouble they are standing in, until someone from outside looking in points it out. +1. 

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:50 | 4111963 SamAdams
SamAdams's picture

Boris is a parody...

If you created your own money, would you charge yourself interest?

Would you create a bond contract with yourself to make sure you paid yourself interest?

Would you create more money so that you could pay the interest owed to yourself?


Fri, 11/01/2013 - 12:04 | 4112024 redpill
redpill's picture

"How this plays out, I honestly have no idea." 


I read that whole thing only to find out you don't even have a guess?  WTF

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 12:19 | 4112075 RSloane
RSloane's picture

I could be completely jaded and point out this will increase the severity of drug wars in populations with a high dependency on welfare, as drug lords will be vying for less dollars available.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 12:27 | 4112114 economics9698
economics9698's picture

In the 70’s there was a stigma to food stamps.  You did not get them unless you really needed them.  Today there is no stigma, in fact you are considered stupid if you are not getting them.

Food stamps changes consumer’s behavior, it’s the “free money” thing for a lot of people.  Users go for frozen meals and more expensive items. 

Needless to say like any government program this will result in increased food prices for the consumer.  The victim of these programs are the rest of society who must pay higher food prices.

How do you feed the poor?  Soup kitchens and private charity.  Poverty needs to be a horrible life, not a lifestyle choice.


It is a huge mistake for the federal government to get involved in this and it will backfire spectacularly when food prices increase faster than the 2.5% now.  Venezuela is learning the free shit lesson now with tis 43% inflation rate.  

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 12:40 | 4112152 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

"Poverty needs to be a horrible life, not a lifestyle choice."

I don't think you understand poverty fully.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 12:54 | 4112212 economics9698
economics9698's picture

I grew up in poverty, free lunches, food stamps, and court ordered bussing.  I understand it very well.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 12:59 | 4112238 mophead
mophead's picture

I understand it very well.

No you don't. You can't eat a food stamp.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 13:51 | 4112481 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Now Boris is confusing...? Is food stamp for pet, not consumption of citizenry?

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 17:16 | 4113426 Keyser
Keyser's picture

Liver Alpo on a cracker and you have pate'. 


Fri, 11/01/2013 - 18:15 | 4113664 Abi Normal
Abi Normal's picture

Nothing will happen until a majority feel the pain, 6% is doable! When it gets to 50% cuts, wake me up!  The house of cards is due to fall any time now, tick tock!!!

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 19:12 | 4113896 flacon
flacon's picture

5bn/mo reduction.... HOW MUCH IS DAILY POMO? 2-5BN? Look who the livestock is... it's LIVE.... STOCKS....!

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 19:47 | 4114006 Trimmed Hedge
Trimmed Hedge's picture

How small does a post get at the end of a ZH reply chain?

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 20:28 | 4114100 economics9698
economics9698's picture

Real small.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 20:40 | 4114134 BellyBrain
BellyBrain's picture

You made an interesting point about being considered stupid if you're not on food stamps.  My wife isn't working, her UI ran out long ago, but we're doing ok on my earnings.  She could get on EBT, but I don't want to participate in that system for various reasons, the largest of which is that I simply refuse to be a cog in the government/goldman sachs machine.



Fri, 11/01/2013 - 22:58 | 4114423 Trimmed Hedge
Trimmed Hedge's picture

Too late...

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 23:09 | 4114448 defender
defender's picture

 I simply refuse to be a cog in the government/goldman sachs machine.


In that case, sign right up.  All of the EBT cards/payments are handled by JPM, so this is just one simple way to stick it to the squid.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 20:47 | 4114131 Paveway IV
Paveway IV's picture

Is there anyone out there that remembers the curious timing of the laws making student loans largely non-discarageable through bankruptcy, or was it just me? The default rates rocketed a year or two later, and debt slavery for tens of millions was assured.

Now they're cutting SNAP? Damn... there's going to be a lot of hungry people pretty soon.

I would be back in a couple years to gloat about my prescience, but

1) I'll be dependent on SNAP to feed my family.

2) I won't have time to post - the early bird gets the welfare cheese at food riots. Boris will be overcome with nostalgia when no American dares leave home without a few empty plastic bags and sprints to get in a line anytime they see one forming - somebody must have something good to sell.

3) The FEMA camps will have internet connections, but they will all funnel through a single 2400 baud modem that repeatedly drops the connections.

4) Not that 3) will matter by then. You'll only get local sites, unless you're willing to pay a small long distance charge for every IX you cross.

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 10:04 | 4115035 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

Here's another alternative "future" for you:

You work doing whatever you're told. wherever you're told, but you'll be in constant contact with your overlords through the wireless device they implanted in the back of your head for receiving "commands". Don't worry about unionizing or otherwise attempting to fight back, because we've specifically arranged for you to be a contractor that is shifted from shell co to shell co as necessary to evade taxes for our master limited partnership's dearest friends. You will be allowed to purchase expired food for your family according to how well you've followed your commands for the day, and will be allowed to visit them occasionally if we feel your compliance has been complete and genuine.

(only some of the above is fiction for the Wal-Mart loaders in Fontana, CA)


Sat, 11/02/2013 - 01:04 | 4114667 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Poverty is a state of mind! (Jesus himself said:  "The poor ye shall always have with ye." [assuming he really spoke olde English])

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 06:10 | 4114834 boogerbently
boogerbently's picture
Ezekiel 22


23 Again the word of the Lord came to me: 24 “Son of man, say to the land, ‘You are a land that has not been cleansed or rained on in the day of wrath.’ 25 There is a conspiracy of her princes within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey; they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her. 26 Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common;they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. 27 Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain. 28 Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says’—when the Lord has not spoken. 29 The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 13:09 | 4112293 Fedaykinx
Fedaykinx's picture

i stoppoed reading when i got to the part about food stamps "occasionally" being used to buy shit like potato chips and beer.

motherfucking really?  how about when they get sold for $.60 on the dollar for crack or oxy??


Fri, 11/01/2013 - 13:52 | 4112487 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

If can use food stamp for buy street drug, obvious is crack in system.

(See, Boris is make more word fun! Boris is eating roll today!)

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 16:24 | 4113230 Hacked Economy
Hacked Economy's picture

Boris!  You are (and have been) a breath of fresh air for some time now.  You and Rocky Raccoon are the only two members for whom I stop to read *every* comment I see.

Honest truth...I unfortunately had to shoot another raccoon in my yard yesterday because it was tearing up my grass and wouldn't shoo away.  Sorry, Rocky, but when the line is crossed, life hits you in the face.  As for you, Boris, keep it light and funny..."keep it classy" LOL!

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 17:55 | 4113575 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

I'm rather enjoying the roll that Boris is on as well.   The fella sure has a way with words, even if they are arranged somewhat haphazardly.  Therein lies the humor!  He'll be a hoot at the upcoming ZH confab.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 21:40 | 4114273 dannyboy
dannyboy's picture

Zerohedge confab?

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 01:25 | 4114691 geekgrrl
geekgrrl's picture

FEMA camp?

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 10:06 | 4115041 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

"No Jumpy Castle?! This party sucks!"

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 10:16 | 4115061 centerline
centerline's picture

Special box cars from each region just for it!  lol.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 22:07 | 4114324 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Boris is one of my favorite Americans ;-)

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 13:58 | 4112504 FEDbuster
FEDbuster's picture

Food stamps are wealth transfers to Food Inc. (Kraft, General Mills, Nestle, etc...)  If food stamps were about getting nutritional food to the hungry, SNAP and EBT card holders would be limited to basic foods with good nutritional value (see the WIC Program which limits which foods can be purchased).  No more swiping your EBT at KFC.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 17:18 | 4112678 macholatte
macholatte's picture

If food stamps were about getting nutritional food to the hungry, SNAP and EBT card holders would be limited to basic foods with good nutritional value...


Spot On and EVERYBODY knows it, even Michelle (just another opportunist hypocrite) Obama with her BS school nutrition program. All Barry need do is sign off on an exec order and restrict EBT use for tobacco & alcohol (just for starters) but that would alienate his voter base. Think Blue Team Votes.


The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.

Alexis de Tocqueville

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 19:14 | 4113901 superflex
superflex's picture

My favorite quote.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 18:11 | 4113646 Five8Charlie
Five8Charlie's picture

I wish I had a Diebold machine so I could keep voting for that comment.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 21:38 | 4114271 Sam Clemons
Sam Clemons's picture

Food stamps = Peace stamps

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 14:31 | 4115564 algol_dog
algol_dog's picture

Finally, someone gets it!

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 23:10 | 4114453 Fedaykinx
Fedaykinx's picture

of course its corporate welfare, but sugarcoating what is really happening on the ground just helps them maintain the illusion that it's all "fo da chilrens" and other such bullshit

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 13:47 | 4112460 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

Alright, you're off the hook for experiencing American poverty, but my previous statement still stands.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 17:36 | 4113485 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

My brother flies regularly to India and Sri Lanka. I now know what real poverty is though I haven't seen it as he. The key is your categorizing it as "American" poverty which is completely different from what most of the world experiences.


Fri, 11/01/2013 - 18:04 | 4113602 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

That's why I make the distinction, Miffed, and you know entirely what I mean by making that distinction at all.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 18:24 | 4113708 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Absolutely. I commented because I was confused about the down votes. You have a valid point IMHO.


Fri, 11/01/2013 - 18:16 | 4113662 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

most of those Indians are bootlickers.  That's why they live like slime

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 18:32 | 4113749 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I think that is because of the acceptance of the caste system. My brother stays at a,what is considered newly "middle class" , family. Three people live on their front door porch. My brother had a headache and was told to tell a porch person to get him aspirin. My brother gave him a rupee for his trouble and he bowed to my brother in gratitude. My brother was shocked. Especially when told to be a porch person is not the worst you could have it in India.


Fri, 11/01/2013 - 22:20 | 4114342 Tsukato
Tsukato's picture

Haha! Stupid coolies. Keep having those babies! I've been to India, and can say, those assholes deserve the lives they have. And what's wrong with the caste system. It's merely nature expressed in human terms, without apology for what is clearly evident. If we were honest Americans, we would see the truth of the caste system here. Can anyone guess which folks would fill the untouchable ranks? Of course you can. It's easy, if you can be honest, and/or pull your heads out of Sanriolandia.

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 10:19 | 4115071 isudas
isudas's picture

Miffed, poverty is a symptom of people that live like your brother.  To give one rupee in payment to another human being that has helped you overcome your trouble is disgusting.  Your brother is part of the disease.  His lack of concern for the person that lives on the porch is horrific.

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 12:25 | 4115137 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

My brother was told by the family he was staying with NOT to give the man money for the service that was provided. My brother had dollars and was going to give him one. The host family was absolutely adamant that a dollar was way too much money and because my brother insisted he be paid, they gave him a rupee to give to him. I don't think it is fair to criticize someone for trying to live properly as a guest in a country where he was trying to respect the culture. My brother did have concern for the person on the porch and told me many times he wished he could do more. His stories when he went to Sri Lanka were quite worse. Actually he goes to these places to give people in abject poverty jobs and therefore hope for the future. In fact, he's doing more for them than I am. Your criticism is misplaced.


Fri, 11/01/2013 - 18:11 | 4113639 CultiVader
CultiVader's picture

Cannot say how many times i have rsisted slapping a twenty yr old university student who righteously proclaims their "poverty" as a badge of honor of sorts...the truth is if your in a university, or better yet have food on a daily basis and dont live under a bridge, you aint its been said here, the American poor dont go hungry, so theyre not fucking poor in relation to the rest of the family was on the stamps, blocks of cheese, free lunches, etc and I WAS ASHAMED....fuck off you "poor" motherfucking fat ass American slobs and get some perspective on what poverty really is...HINT: it involves wet cardboard 

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 18:20 | 4113683 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

u mad bro?


At Magida’s brick row house in Baltimore, she and Mak minced garlic while observing that one of the upsides of unemployment was having plenty of time to cook elaborate meals, and that among their friends, they had let go of any bad feelings about how their food was procured.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 23:11 | 4114455 PrintemDano
PrintemDano's picture

Taking money from one group of citizens and giving it to other citizens, or invaders, of the USA is Unconstitutional.  It is theft.  

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 14:29 | 4115336 Captain Benny
Captain Benny's picture

Taking money from ANY citizens and giving it to other citizens, or invaders, of the USA is Unconstitutional.  It is theft.  

There, its fixed.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 15:08 | 4112843 DFCtomm
DFCtomm's picture

I think we're all going to have a much better understanding of subsistence farming soon. That's where all social justice leads.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 20:33 | 4114110 Parrotile
Parrotile's picture

Those in the (dis)United States of America are certainly heading for a much better understanding of the "subsistence" concept once the dollar dies as Reserve Currency. From the looks of things it'll not be a very pleasant experience for anyone ("rich" or "poor")

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 00:34 | 4114629 Mike in GA
Mike in GA's picture

Really?  I'd take a look at the "social justice" in South Africa to get a handle on where socialist social justice leads.

Subsistence farming is just where people may find themselves until "social justice" prevails.

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 01:12 | 4114676 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

It's been my experience that anything that involves other people using their brainz to determine something as nebulous as "Justice", usually ends up being no such thing!

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 00:03 | 4114577 Greenskeeper_Carl
Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

i gave you a green too. I have spent time in other countries, and i got what you meant. No one going through american "poverty" understands what it is like to be living in real poverty. watching people work for the equivilant of 8 dollars a day in the burning middle eastern sun at a ship yard dealing with nasty chemicals all day is poverty. Living poor in america would be considered living a life of luxury to most of the world.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 13:40 | 4112439 Dark Space
Dark Space's picture

Not only is the Stigma gone, the government spends even MORE money advertising SNAP to encourage more usage. It's despicable.

This one is geared towards encouraging retirees who are otherwise fine without government assistance to get on it because it's "healthier" that way:

This one is one of the many that are in Spanish and geared towards immigrants:

I couldn't find the most damning one, but I've seen one that is geared towards immigrants (I have no issue with immigration being more open and streamlined either) and the actors are stating how they don't need assistance, but its there and they should use it - it's free after all.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 16:15 | 4113188 Not My Real Name
Not My Real Name's picture

The stigma is gone because EBT cards allow them to make their purchases in anonymity.

Bring back the old cartoonish paper stamps that came in booklets and make them the size of an 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper so everybody knows who's buying their chips and steaks on government assistance and the stigma will come back. Even better, the number of freeloaders abusing the system who suddenly realize that they can take care of their own grocery bills without a helping hand from the taxpayers will drop too.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 17:43 | 4113516 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I think they should just have a distribution center that provides a weekly box of rice, seasonal veggies and fruit, chicken or pork, oatmeal etc... i.e. basic staples. Most of the EBT crowd I see is obese and are buying cuts of meat I can no longer afford and piles of Mac and cheez whiz shit. Just providing a box of staples may solve more than one problem. Of course, I am assuming they can cook which may be above most in this crowd.


Fri, 11/01/2013 - 18:21 | 4113696 El Vaquero
El Vaquero's picture

Yeah, I was stuck in line behind a complete lardass who was having problems with his EBT.  He had something in the basket that you weren't allowed to buy with EBT and the store's computer flagged it.  The dude was huge, as in I'm pretty sure his shirt was made by a curtan company.  A lot of stores will say "VISA" or "MASTERCARD" on their computer screens when it comes to how payment was tendered, and I've been noticing a lot of "EBT" showing up lately. 


As for the knowing how to cook, there is that.  I'm sure that for a lot of these people, their greatest culinary achievement is warming up a dinner in the oven or maybe even adding a little extra cheese in the mac'n cheese.  Imagine how they'd completely flip if they had to raise a chicken, kill it, butcher it, then cook it.  Even worse would be a cow.  I'm sure a lot of them are so disconnected from their food that they would look at it and go "You mean I'm going to eat that?  Ewww, gross.  I think I'll go to McDonalds and get a burger."

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 20:29 | 4114103 Parrotile
Parrotile's picture

You can thank "Factory Farming" for that mindset!

The probelm wth raising your own livestock is that they do become "part of the Family", and killing / butcheing Daisy the cow is on a par with killing / butchering Grandma!

Grandparents ran a mixed smallholding in Yorkshire. Butchering was done professionally by the local Butcher - and they made a very comfortable living on 2 acres. I note that they both survived comfortably to their very late 90's without any of today's pharmacological miracles / low fat / low GI / "advanced" healthcare, on a diet that included lots of butter, eggs, meat, fish and poultry.

My how times have "improved" . . . . .

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 20:42 | 4114140 El Vaquero
El Vaquero's picture

My grandfather grew up on a farm, and raised a cow that he got attached to.  He came home one evening to some really good steak, but was unable to finish the meal when he found out where it had come from.  His mom wound up trading the beef for a couple of pigs that had been butchered by the neighbors.  Even his older brothers felt bad for him.  He had zero problems with things like chickens though.  


BTW, a cow that I had raised for beef wouldn't be named Daisy.  Its name would be Cow, and for good reason.

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 02:13 | 4114740 Parrotile
Parrotile's picture

The "Family Cow" was actually called "Dainty" - no idea why since Dainty was a hefty Jersey and would have been an excellent example of a "Bull in a China Shop"!!

They kept pigs and chickens too - all of which were "swapped" for other local Farmers' produce. Everyone was happy, everyone was well fed, but we saw very few (if any) overweight people, and no obesity on the scale of today's "Land Whales".

Recently did an ID Consult on a local farmer - 105, still drives a tractor, eats the same as he did since a child, and has outlived his children and their children.

We certainly have gone wrong somewhere. Time to revisit the flawed Framingham study (an example of "selecting the data points to fit the decided "conclusion" "), and have another look as the ideal diet.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 18:58 | 4113848 CheapBastard
CheapBastard's picture

econimcs9698, I notice they did not cut Section 8 housing benefits. They must prop up the Housing Bubble at all costs even if they cut food to the poor at the same time.

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 10:14 | 4115053 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

They could raise a ton of cash by lowering the tax write-off for mortgage interest too, but you know you what would hurt most.

(hint: they play golf with the developers cashing in on that taxpayer-provided rent for units in places noone wants to live)



Fri, 11/01/2013 - 21:31 | 4114251 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

The problem is that .gov has given Food Stamps and Welfare to Wall Street.

Now that they have done that, you'd be stupid not to ask for yours.

Get to work you mules for Nero!

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 13:16 | 4112322 Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day's picture

i'll tell you how this plays out, the snap collectors will bitch for 5 minutes and that will be it cuz it's free money and they will get a little less.  I know one thing for sure, the retailers that accept snap cards won't be happy, they just lost 5 billion in revenue.  For large retailers like WMT it's no big deal, but the smaller mom and pop stores will be affected the most as usual

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 13:57 | 4112500 Herd Redirectio...
Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Hey, what do you know, a decision by Big Gov't that adversely impacts Small Businesses, and is a neutral/positive event for large retailers.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 15:09 | 4112846 roadhazard
roadhazard's picture

heh, it's hell if you do and hell if you don't. Must be an Obama Presidency.

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 10:18 | 4115063 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

I am 100% confident that the corporations collecting this government handout (the people not starving are only an acceptable side-effect, after all) can squueze 6% of hedonic adjustment out of simply leaving product out longer on the shelves and not re-stocking low-margin items for awhile.

Hey, look, deja vu:

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 18:17 | 4113659 underman
underman's picture

I'll take a quick stab at it.  Starvation among the poor increases, resulting in increased petty crime and robberies of low-risk targets, like moms with strollers and students with backpacks (loaded with macs and iphones.)  Victims grow tired of the threat and start arming themselves.  Where we go from there, use your imagination.



Fri, 11/01/2013 - 21:47 | 4114284 DirkDiggler11
DirkDiggler11's picture

All of this over a 6% decrease that doesn't even take the SNAP recipient to below pre-Obumma levels ?

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 23:59 | 4114565 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

They didn't sum it up, but I will.

Ultimately, a self cleaning oven.

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 07:27 | 4114882 Debt-Is-Not-Money
Debt-Is-Not-Money's picture

Zombie Apocalypse!

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 18:58 | 4113844 new game
new game's picture

Dmitry Orlov, is that you.stage 4, stage 3 delayed via printer at large.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:44 | 4111942 malikai
malikai's picture

Livestock, as a matter of tradition, always get free food.

I understand it is also common for livestock to be taken to the slaughter, hungry.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 12:00 | 4112008 Meat Hammer
Meat Hammer's picture

Great idea.  That would greatly reduce welfare costs!  +1

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 14:01 | 4112523 FEDbuster
FEDbuster's picture

"Soylent Green is PEOPLE!!!"  

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 17:29 | 4113468 Keyser
Keyser's picture

Meh, it's a little chewy, but you get used to it. 


Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:45 | 4111950 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Stamp is not of nutritional value, stamp is of currency value on black market or is buy directly products like weak American beer.  Beer is food?  Da.  In America beer is food.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 13:00 | 4112135 El Oregonian
El Oregonian's picture

Well, all these low-info voters were HUNGRY for "Hope and Change". NOW we'll just see how HUNGRY they really are.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 17:30 | 4113474 Keyser
Keyser's picture

A hungry voter is an obedient voter. 


Fri, 11/01/2013 - 18:24 | 4113712 willwork4food
willwork4food's picture

What? Beer isn't food?


Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:54 | 4111983 TwoHoot
TwoHoot's picture

FED can't print tortillas. Stamps? Maybe so.

Does Russia Central Bank print tortillas?

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 12:33 | 4112130 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

Well said Boris! Continue to expose the Kommissar thought criminal policies. At the end of day, they envision the rubik's cube as all one color. It's not going to happen.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 13:03 | 4112265 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

When you consider the cost of producing viagra is 3 cents a pill & pharma charges what $10-25 per pill, what do you think the real cost of contraception is? Feeding unwanted generational mouths is cheaper? 

It's easy pickins to target the poor and I'm not talking FSA either. 

Look at the fucking corporate handouts woodja? There's a need for reform on both ends of this spectrum. You appear to validate the current structure of this now shithole of a country. MIC would be the best place to start.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 13:58 | 4112507 Herd Redirectio...
Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Corporate welfare...  Aaah, where to start?
Probably the Defense budget?  $1 trillion annual, for what?  And we are complaining about $60 b that gets spend on food!

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 17:34 | 4113482 Keyser
Keyser's picture

And the military complain about reduction in capability due to the sequester, etc... The MIC needs to have it's nutz cut off and it's budget cut in half. Just who are we at war with anyway and why?  

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 00:01 | 4114570 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

DHS and NSA specifically

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:19 | 4111853 pupton
pupton's picture

"...+20% of all households in the program." 

Now if we didn't have this program, 20% of households would starve to death.  Sounds like a Great Depression to me, not a "recovery."

PS - Amerika is fucked.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:32 | 4111894 Headbanger
Headbanger's picture

The answer is people are going to go back to cooking more like the old days making casserole and meat loaf and soup from left overs.

It should be a big help for the kitchen appliance makers!

Anybody for boiled dinner!?  And have the neighbors over for some home made wine or hard cider.

And bring back reruns of the Ed Sullivan show and Johnny Carson!

See, it won't be so bad.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 12:45 | 4112167 cbxer55
cbxer55's picture

What's wrong with meat loaf? I love a good old fashioned meat loaf. Some good baked beans, for creating some "back door music" later are always good with meat loaf. ;-)

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:36 | 4111899 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Nancy Pelosi (what is with Congresswoman shrunken head tight skin?!) is say, "Food Stamp is good for economy"

Maybe teach Pelosi and Krugman teach lesson of wet Keynesian Economic Dream. Keynesian Economist is break face attends for Emergency Room. Is giving jobs for Ambulatory driver, doctor, surgeon, orderly. Triage staff is spend wage on beer and pizza. Waiter and cook is spend wage on rent and grocery item. Grocer is buy new window. Local economic boom is result, no?

If so great for economical advantage, why not break every bone in Krugman and Pelosi brain dead body?!

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:37 | 4111918 Headbanger
Headbanger's picture

Boris is being too kind to shrunken head lady and mindless economics writer.  Besides, me thinks they are really spineless animal spieces like jelly fish anyway.

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 11:35 | 4115212 TwoHoot
Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:39 | 4111925 RSloane
RSloane's picture

Finally a post in this thread I can agree with 100%

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 12:42 | 4112160 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

I liked her better at her previous job as Miss Lube Rack.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 12:47 | 4112181 cbxer55
cbxer55's picture

Wow! What happened to her? Looks like she became one of the oft-rumored about, but rarely seen ZOMBIES! ;-)

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 13:54 | 4112497 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Boris is try picture Nancy Pelosi head on "Lube Queen" and is throw up little in mouth. Off to take very hot shower.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 17:41 | 4113507 Keyser
Keyser's picture

Pelosi was abducted by pygmy head-hunters from New Guinea shortly after the Ms Lube Rack pics. They shrunk her head, but left it attached for spite. 

Sun, 11/03/2013 - 10:23 | 4117127 Debt-Is-Not-Money
Debt-Is-Not-Money's picture

The head can be shrunk a lot when it is empty!

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 10:20 | 4115073 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

You prefers to be pouring high-fructose corn syrup in road in protest, tovarisch?


Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:20 | 4111854 adr
adr's picture

Are you saying we should eat black and Hispanic people?

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:21 | 4111856 pupton
pupton's picture

They can be a little greasy, but with the right seasoning...

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:31 | 4111896 HoofHearted
HoofHearted's picture

And don't Hispanic people always give you gas? All those refried beans...

Yes, I'm probably going to hell for that one...

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 13:56 | 4112502 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

In Russia, most service station attendant is from baltic region, not is speak Spanish.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:38 | 4111916 Deo vindice
Deo vindice's picture

Don't laugh. There have been some prominent evolutionists who believe that certain segments of the population should be eaten.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 13:13 | 4112315 WOAR
WOAR's picture

Never turn down a modest proposal, I always say...

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 16:00 | 4115722 JB
JB's picture

+1 for Jonathan Swift reference.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 12:26 | 4112106 SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

I think I'll pass. I don't eat diseased, fatty long pork.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 13:59 | 4112511 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

You must try real Ukraine Kubasa (like Polish Koulbasa) sausage. Is for dying!

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 16:53 | 4113331 rubiconsolutions
rubiconsolutions's picture

@Boris - probably your strongest and most intelligent stream of consciousness today. +100 in my books.  Ti molodyets!

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 10:21 | 4115078 centerline
centerline's picture

Mmmm...  hungry now.  No keilbasa at home.  Gonna add that to my shopping list today.  Damn good stuff.


Glad you are here Boris.  I really enjoy reading your posts.  Some of them really get me to pause for a moment - which is a great thing.

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 00:08 | 4114583 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

Tastes like chicken

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 12:50 | 4112191 cbxer55
cbxer55's picture

Wouldn't mind eatin out a nice Hsipanic honey right about now. ;-)

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 00:54 | 4114655 e_goldstein
e_goldstein's picture

tastes like nachos.

Sun, 11/03/2013 - 11:13 | 4117180 Debt-Is-Not-Money
Debt-Is-Not-Money's picture



Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:38 | 4111917 Buzz Fuzzel
Buzz Fuzzel's picture

I don't think so.

"The economic “multiplier” on food stamp purchases is about 2:1, so the $5 billion reduction in 2013-2014 looks more like $10 billion in the real economy."

The $5 billion will be spent by the government in some other way or by the people who earned it if taxes are reduced.


Fri, 11/01/2013 - 12:22 | 4112095 Bobbyrib
Bobbyrib's picture

Correct. Any balanced budget amendment should include a rule saying that if spending is cut, it doesn't get allocated to something else. Spending must come from the original budget (that has not been passed in years).

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:41 | 4111929 indygo55
indygo55's picture


Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:41 | 4111934 indygo55
indygo55's picture

"Livestock, as a matter of tradition, always get free food."


Yes but for what in return?

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 13:07 | 4112278 zjxn06
zjxn06's picture

"Livestock, as a matter of tradition, always get free food."

Yeah, but livestock don't vote.  Wait a second....


Fri, 11/01/2013 - 13:33 | 4112400 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

Des be cuttin me back? BUT MAH BABY NEED NEW SHOOS!

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 19:05 | 4113874 GOSPLAN HERO
GOSPLAN HERO's picture

Feed and hay can be very expensive, comrade.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 20:19 | 4114080 Pig Circus
Pig Circus's picture

It means lower food prices for me. Fuck, I may even be able to eat beef again.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 21:53 | 4114295 PrintemDano
PrintemDano's picture

With the understanding of course that in the near future they shall become.....Food.   


Soylent Green anyone?

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 00:44 | 4114643 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Livestock usually ends up paying for all thier "free" food with their lives!

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 03:13 | 4114773 QEternity
QEternity's picture

We do em like the homosexual males of Jeremiah Wright's church in 2007. And like we would've done Larry Sinclair if he wasn't so goddamn cute

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:12 | 4111814 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

Free the Slaves.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:22 | 4111860 max2205
max2205's picture

A $15 cut?   How will they get buy

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 23:39 | 4114523 Abbie Normal
Abbie Normal's picture

$4/day does't buy much food, even at the dollar store.  Can't even get a $5 footlong unless you pool your resources, or go hungry for a day.

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 19:02 | 4116073 ForTheWorld
ForTheWorld's picture

I'm assuming there's sarcasm there, but it made me think.

As an idea, I wondered what I could get for $28 per person (in the US) in Australia. It turns out, enough to get enough nutrition to live each week. The benefit of this list is that things like rice and oats keep longer than a week, so there's more to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables in subsequent weeks.

The prices are from, and all prices include tax.

2kg (4lb) Brown Rice - $6.34
1kg Rolled Oats - $1.55
2 x 400g (0.9lb) Red Kindey Beans - $1.60
1kg Brown Onions - $1.98
2kg Oranges - $3.80
2 bulbs Garlic - $1.50
1kg Bananas - $2.72
2L (0.55 gal) Milk - $2.00
1kg Carrots - $1.00
1kg Pink Lady Apples - $3.80

Total: $26.29

There are a few assumptions made here though - the $28 per person is supplemental, you have access to running water, a fridge, a stove, a knife and fork, and two pots.

It would be bland eating for the first week, but then the next week, when you don't need to get rice or oats, you can get vegetable stock (powdered) to give more flavour to the rice, some potatoes and perhaps some greens. The other thing is that the most heavily processed item there is the milk.

(no, I don't work for Coles - it was just the first supermarket I thought of)

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 13:16 | 4112326 Jugdish
Jugdish's picture

Bring the Hebrews to the promised land.

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 00:33 | 4114622 tvdog
tvdog's picture

If only ... they just refuse to leave ...

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:29 | 4111890 Ignatius J Reilly
Ignatius J Reilly's picture

Eat the Rich -Aerosmith

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:32 | 4111901 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

My valve threw in a hearty response.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 11:48 | 4111960 Overfed
Overfed's picture

That was Krokus, not Aerosmith.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 12:35 | 4112134 island
island's picture

The slogan has been around for "eons."

Eat the Rich – A leftist slogan originally traced back to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who is reputed to have said "When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich."

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 22:31 | 4114355 Things that go bump
Things that go bump's picture

And in a manner of speaking, they did.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 12:43 | 4112163 scaleindependent
scaleindependent's picture

Not that I think the Food Stamp program is just or viable in the long term, BUT the fact that the banksters have gotten an increase in their "Food Stamps" and their "corporate welfare" speaks VOLUMES.  This will also damper any inflation thus allowing them to get free money. i.e.,  Viagra for QE. 

The 0.001% get to inflate their incomes while the 99.99% get deflation. 

The worst of all worlds, your income deflates while real world prices inflate. 

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 16:30 | 4115792 debtandtaxes
Fri, 11/01/2013 - 17:18 | 4113435 SAT 800
SAT 800's picture

I'm having trouble with this too; I thought it was a multiple choice test.

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 17:26 | 4113453 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

Irreconcilable social polarization

stretches, until that goes SNAP!!!

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 18:21 | 4113700 SAT 800
SAT 800's picture

That's why its so much fun to watch all the power mad lunatics driving their little bumper cars into each other and into the walls; nobody knows WHAT COMES NEXT! But it's bound to be entertaining.

Sat, 11/02/2013 - 08:48 | 4114947 Wahooo
Wahooo's picture

Um...people start working to pay for needs and wants?

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