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
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.