Speaking of food stamps, I saw a variety of posts on increased usage of food stamps. Thing is, they keep giving absolute numbers without talking about what's relevant: relative amounts.
I'm here to provide.
I've taken the official government data, put it in a public spreadsheet, and have come up with a few graphs.
First, what's the percentage of people in the U.S. in the food stamps program?
Before Obama: 10%-ish
Most recent: Almost 15%.
I think that steady increase in percentage is very interesting, with the percentage being relatively level over the past year.
How much does this all cost? Let's look at cost per U.S. resident, per month.
You may wonder what that big step up in the spring of 2009 is about.
Well, an increase in food stamp benefits was part of of the stimulus bill and went into effect in April 2009. The theory was that these benefits get used rapidly after being given to people, so increasing food stamps would increase economic activity. I don't think anybody noticed much effect in terms of economic growth as a result, but the increased food stamps costs did continue.