Record 41.8 million Americans receiving food stamps

Posted Oct 6, 2010 by Michael Krebs
As the November midterm elections draw closer, the stubborn unemployment rate has pushed a record 41.8 million Americans onto food stamps.
A protester with an unemployment sign
A protester with an unemployment sign
Representing an 18 percent increase from the prior year, 41.8 million Americans are now reliant on the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - more commonly known as food stamps. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Texas, California, New York, Florida, and Michigan represent the top five states in terms of volume of food stamp recipients.
The U.S. unemployment rate remains just under 10 percent, and economists are beginning to warn that the nation's jobless figures could remain uncomfortably high for the next few years. The main concern among economists is that housing prices may continue to fall, further depressing equity and economic confidence among the general population.
With midterm elections just around the corner, political tacticians from both parties are jockeying to position their respective economic plans. But the unemployment figures and stagnant growth look likely to take their toll on incumbent politicians.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has been particularly vocal on this topic, seeking to re-brand the Democratic Party as the Food Stamp Party. With the 41.8 million figure released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Mr. Gingrich's positioning may resonate with frustrated voters.
“The House Republicans’ ‘Pledge to America’ has set the stage” Gingrich said, according to U.S. News, “for a powerful, symbolic closing argument for candidates seeking to unseat the left-wing, big spending, job killing Democrats: paychecks versus food stamps.”