The "average" food stamp (food stamps has been renamed SNAP, but everyone keeps calling it food stamps, so I will, too) receiving household, if there is such a thing, is a 3 person household consisting of a single mother and 2 children under the age of 18. While the maximum benefit for this 3 person family is $526, the average is only $401.
That doesn't seem to be enough to feed a family of 3 to me.
Let's say that its summer time. The kids are not in school so there is no chance that a meal will be provided outside of the home. 3 people eating 3 meals per day (without a snack or a drink in between? In what universe does that happen with kids?) with an average of 30.5 days each month is 275 meals (rounding up). How does that happen with an average benefit of $401? That's $1.46 per meal.
Look, I guess it must be possible because that's what the deal is and I don't read about many malnutrition deaths in the media. I don't see how that these kids (and their mothers) are being fed a nutritious, well balanced diet.
Our family of 4, with 2 adults and two little kids (the big kid is off at college - when he was home for the summer I am sure that he ate as much as the rest of us combined) spends over $400 per month on fresh fruit and veggies alone (mostly fresh fruit; one of the reasons I put in the soft fruit patch. Not that it helped this year. The softs got murdered in the heat wave and we lost our peach crop to a late frost and apples and pears to the drought), and we grow as much food as the season will allow and never have to buy meat, dairy, eggs, and potatoes. I estimate we spend another couple of hundred bucks monthly on stuff we cannot produce on the farm: pasta, sugar, flour, rice, olive oil, tuna, etc...
So how does the "average" family do it? (Besides the fact that they don't "do it". Invariable, people in this type of distress will engage in all manner of unsavory activities to put food on the table. It is ever so much easier to be "moral" and "ethical" when in possession of a fat bank account)
They do it with starchy, cheap, processed, and nasty food stuffs. Obviously, Food Stamp beneficiaries are getting enough calories. Are they getting proper nutrition? Not a shot. In fact, I think the government spends more money per meal on prison food.
So... what's the plan?
The plan is to extend these "benefits" to others. In 12 years the U.S. has gone from 17 million to over 46 million individuals receiving food assistance. So what's the exit plan? There isn't one. There is no plan to help these people to become self-sufficient in any way. There is no plan to incentivize them to build and keep strong families and a semblance of some social structure. The plan is to keep doing this while food becomes more and more expensive for a number of reasons beyond our control at a time when everyone agrees that our government's spending is going to blow the system sky high if not reigned in.
And the "middle class" has one foot inside the threshold of needing food assistance... and their other foot is on a banana peel.
Am I missing something?
This is your Federal Government (thru the USDA) and your Supreme Court (one of the many, many unintended consequences of the most bone headed decision in the f***ing history of stupid, bone headed decisions) in action. The USDA has created an environment that protects the oligopoly of the big 4 meat "packers", a FUBAR dairy system, and King Corn. The result? There is simply not enough of the fruits and vegetables that the f***ing USDA recommends every American eat everyday to provide each and every American with 20% of the USDA's recommendation.
Why f***ing not??!!
From the above link:
The committee also grappled with one of the third rails of American politics: farm policy. Price-support programs for wheat, cotton and other commodity crops prohibit participating farmers from planting fruits and vegetables on land enrolled in those programs. Partly as a result, U.S. farms do not produce enough fresh produce for all Americans to eat the recommended amounts, and the IOM panel calls for removing that ban.
It is hard to communicate to you just how much of an understatement that quote really is.
Because of their f***ed up farm and food "safety" regulations - the vast majority of which were written by the food industry, for the benefit of the food industry, and with complete disregard for The People.
Just like the regs for housing, mortgages, student loans, credit cards, etc... all of the regs for these industries were written for the industry by the industry.
Everything that our State governments and Federal Government has done since FDR was to increase the tax base. The government wanted you to commute to work so you would buy a house with a mortgage (to support the building and banking industry), wear out your car (to support the Auto, Steel, Glass, and Rubber industries) and buy gas (because a large portion of gasoline is tax, and before 1970, to support the domestic energy industry). Everything was done to increase tax receipts.
The government wanted you to work for a big box store/corporation. Collecting taxes from Walmart, Home Depot, Staples, Loews, et al is ever so much easier to administrate (and collect in full) than from Mom & Pop grocery, hardware, office supply in every village, town, and city in the U.S. Hey, they needed the money, because as we aged and lived longer the AARP set became enormously powerful and the last 2 generations of white head/q-tips (the elderly) have enslaved their children with outrageous payroll taxes to fund 30 years of idleness in retirement - and to maintain the healthcare industry at 18% of GDP.
And now what? The People cannot serve 2 masters. Food and Energy are competing with State and Federal (taxes) and the system is straining like never before. What if last year's drought is the beginning of an extended drought weather pattern? What if Saudi Arabia is the next regime to go down in the Middle East and the new boss is not interested in selling Oil as fast as possible? What if... there are a lot of "what ifs". If a "what if" were to happen now, are we going to have 100 million people on food assistance (that would be 1/3 of The People)? In an environment like that, who would bother paying their mortgage?
Thank G-d, our fearless hero at the Fed is going to buy back all of the mortgage paper because ain't nobody gonna be paying on that paper.
-to be continued...