Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Congressional Budget Office: Food Assistance Rate to Grow

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, April 19, 2012

While not totally bright, the CBO report is not totally grim, either.

Here’s why.

The method by which unemployment figures are calculated does NOT take into account people whom have STOPPED looking for work. Many – if not most – of those people would accept work, were suitable work offered to them. They have stopped looking for work for many reasons, not the least of which is that they have become despondent from their unfruitful job search.

Now, when the unemployment rate begins to rise again, we will actually see an INCREASE in the rate.

Why?

Because many of the people whom had previously stopped looking for work, will again resume their job search. Thus, they will be counted among the unemployed, whereas previously, they were not counted among the unemployed.

How does the methodology of counting the unemployed relate to this report about rising participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program?

In many cases, the rates of unemployment, in conjunction with the expiration of unemployment compensation benefits, correlates strongly with want and poverty.

Thus, if the CBO says the rates will grow, we can make a reasonable estimate that the strength of economic recovery will have taken hold, and be in full swing.

As an observation aside, examine the larger infographic, and look at the states with the highest rates of SNAP utilization. Most of them are in the Southeast: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia. Those states were formerly Democratic strongholds, and have now swung strongly toward Republican politics. Three other states – Maine, Michigan, and Oregon – also have SNAP utilization rates above 18% of their population.

What would happen politically if Republicans were allowed to eliminate the SNAP program?

Food Stamp Rolls to Grow Through 2014, CBO Says

  • April 19, 2012, 1:58 PM ET

The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday that 45 million people in 2011 received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, a 70% increase from 2007. It  said the number of people receiving the benefits, commonly known as food stamps, would continue growing until 2014.

Click for larger CBO infographic.

SNAP infographic - Click for much LARGER image.

Spending for the program, not including administrative costs, rose to $72 billion in 2011, up from $30 billion four years earlier. The CBO projected that one in seven U.S. residents received food stamps last year.

In a report, the CBO said roughly two-thirds of jump in spending was tied to an increase in the number of people participating in the program, which provides access to food for the poor, elderly, and disabled. It said another 20% “of the growth in spending can be attributed to temporarily higher benefit amounts enacted in the” 2009 stimulus law.

CBO said the number of people receiving benefits is expected to fall after 2014 because the economy will be improving.

“Nevertheless, the number of people receiving SNAP benefits will remain high by historical standards,” the agency said.

It estimated that 34 million people, or 1 in 10 U.S. residents, would receive SNAP benefits in 2022 “and SNAP expenditures, at about $73 billion, will be among the highest of all non-health-related federal support programs for low-income households.”

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2012/04/19/food-stamp-rolls-to-grow-through-2014-cbo-says/tab/print/

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