If you haven’t seen the recent NYTimes article on Americans living on foodstamps, you should check it out.* According to the Times, one in fifty Americans now lives in a household where the only source of income is a food stamp card (that’s about 6 million people). That means no welfare, no unemployment insurance, and no pensions, child support or disability pay. Just food stamps (and perhaps section 8 housing). Many of these folks seem to be cobbling together benefits by living with family or partners who have some kind of housing benefit or other government subsidy. But I find these numbers astonishing.
“This is craziness,” the Times quotes Representative John Linder (Georgia, R), ranking minority member of the House panel on welfare policy. I agree. But what’s crazier is Linder’s take on it.
“We’re at risk of creating an entire class of people, a subset of people, just comfortable getting by living off the government.”
Um… excuse me Rep. Linder. But when did $150-300/month in total income (and not cash, but a card restricted to certain kinds of purchases) qualify as “comfortable”?!? Yeah. The worry here is that these people are too comfortable.
* The graphs, multimedia, and photos are especially worth checking out.