One out of eight Americans is now on food stamps

August 6, 2010 | By | 8 Replies More

One out of eight Americans is now on food stamps. Greatest nation on the face of the earth. The world’s only superpower. God bless America. Etc.

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Category: American Culture, Quality of Life

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. RLee says:

    I think the article says more than one-eighth of the population is on food stamps. Shouldn't that be "one out of 12.5 Americans" (not that that figure is any more acceptable!)

  2. Wayne Boese says:

    @RLee: It seems you are more than a little arithmetically challenged. More than 1 in every 8 is greater than 12.5%. The only thing would be 1 every in 12 ½ is 8%

  3. Ray says:

    We Americans as a people have completely lost our sense of reality and self-reliance. This isn't a race thing, though I do agree that there are way too many blacks and hispanics abusing the welfare system. Just like there are way too many whites abusing the welfare system. There are way too many people, period, abusing the welfare system. Years ago I spent a lot of time talking with both sets of grandparents about the Great Depression and they always said that it was considered a shameful thing to take handouts from the government during that awful time, and that people went to great lengths to not have to do so, because those who took the "free" whatever were not looked upon as pulling their own weight. That made a huge impression on my young mind. Now here we are all these years later and our entire culture is devoted to leisure, having fun, and getting whatever you can without working for it. It's a Lottery mentality out there. I don't see a lot of planning for the future or delayed gratification among most Americans today. I can name 5 close relatives (all white, for what it's worth) who are on the "take" in one way or another. One manipulated the system to get herself labeled "disabled," though lazy is more like it. She plays all day, every day, and collects free housing, food, cell phone, utilities, washer and dryer and God knows what else, plus a disability payment every month. She is of sound mind and body and should be pulling her own weight. My own father-in-law works just half a year at a time and then goes to the welfare office and signs up for unemployment for the other half. He vacations constantly, goes to Europe at least once a year, AND complains about "the illegals" and the "N#####s" (sorry) who are on welfare! He is of sound mind and body and should be pulling his own weight. It's the same for the other three… all people who think someone else should subsidize their lifestyle. It's sickening. I haven't taken a vacation in 4 years (I don't need one, I enjoy my life and don't need to "get away"), don't own a cell phone or a flat-screen TV, have a huge garden where I grow tons of my family's food, and drive a 7 year old car. Our family's idea of fun is to have a picnic in the park, and we do lots of free or nearly free things with our friends. Lots of kite flying, stargazing, pot-luck get-togethers, that sort of thing… no silly trips to Disneyland or other expensive "amusement" parks or overpriced movies at the theatre. And yet, our lives are stress-free and filled with joy. Go figure… I guess not buying into the Madison Avenue lie actually works. We also own our home free and clear because we are HYPER-frugal and understand the difference between wants and needs (food, clothing, shelter, transportation… those are the 21st century needs… everything else is a want). By the way, I am 38 years old, and make less than 50 thousand a year. Our entire culture is a mess. We worship celebrities and athletes who do nothing of real value for the millions they earn, refuse to clean house of politicians who won't do what's best for the future generations of our country, and don't know how to actually do anything real. Playing video games and watching TV is not real. Building and repairing things, growing food, playing with your children, laughing with friends, getting outside and doing productive, authentic things…. that's what we should be doing, not amusing ourselves to death in front of the TV (or computer, for that matter) 😉 . It's time for everyone to start planning for the future, quit buying all the junk they don't need, start saving, roll up their sleeves and get to work. The universe owes us nothing.

  4. WPB says:

    @Ray: Congrats on being almost totally self-reliant. (Total self-reliance would require no outside job, employer or need for roads for your seven year old car.) However your holier than the rest of you attitude is just plain wrong and offensive. In your world, the baby would be thrown out with the bath water and good riddance too. The rest of your comment puts a lie to your statement, “And yet, our lives are stress-free and filled with joy.” For you to be so worried about the actions of others especially family members IS NOT stress-free. You say this of your family, “It’s sickening. I haven’t taken a vacation in 4 years (I don’t need one, I enjoy my life and don’t need to “get away”)…” Why is it sickening, if you don’t need a vacation? It would seem your father-in-law has a nest egg or some source of income to travel as he does, unemployment insurance benefits do not pay enough. If he is only working 50% of the time, it gives another a chance to work taking his place. You are so insecure that you don’t even take vacation. As a result, others have no chance for even temporary employment. People are unemployed because there are no jobs not because they are lazy. A couple of corrections are in order:

    Unemployment benefits are not handouts. They are insurance benefits. Some states may determine welfare payments and unemployment benefits in the same physical facilities but this is not universally true and even for those that do, the processes are extremely different. I was forced into collecting unemployment benefits for a short period in California. I was even forced for a shorter period to receive welfare and food stamps. When receiving welfare payments and food stamps, my wife and I were photographed and finger printed very much as if we were being arrested. It is not an experience I wish to repeat. It did however feed and house my three young children for three months until my work situation was resolved. Thanks to the welfare reform measures instituted under Clinton, there are strict time limits for welfare payments over a lifetime. One must sign papers saying if another baby is born, you cannot get any increase in welfare payments.

    Now for disability benefits: A number of years ago I suffered a debilitating stroke. One does not blithely convince anyone of a disability status. I paid for and was covered by three tiers of insurance coverage: short-term, long-term and Social Security. The short term was provided by my employer for one year and required documentation from my doctor. They made the first year of my partial recovery as painless as possible. The trouble came with the long term insurance company whose tactics included nearly endless trips to evaluating doctors, including shrinks to see if I was faking it. They also used delay to ensure any financial security I had was completely devastated. My saving grace was a landlady that could afford to carry me for long periods. I found collecting long-term disability insurance to be the most stressful undertaking of my life. It certainly was not one I needed post stroke. I was almost relieved at the end of the two year benefit period. While I had thought the stack of paper work I filled for the long-term disability insurance company was high, it was not until I tackled Social Security that found out how high hurdles can get. My doctor and I got the paperwork fully completed and the additional requests for information in nine months. I hired no attorney since the only result of that is the attorney getting some of my benefits. Of your relative you said, “She plays all day, every day, and collects free housing, food, cell phone, utilities, washer and dryer and God knows what else, plus a disability payment every month.” Please tell me the specifics of how she does this. I know my disability is legitimate and would LOVE to have free housing, food, utilities along with my Social Security Disability Insurance check. I suspect you are having your leg pulled because NO ONE gives free cell phone usage. I would love to be able to be “getting outside and doing productive, authentic things…. that’s what we should be doing,” but it ain’t going to happen, my body just won’t cooperate. You said, “The universe owes us nothing.” Maybe not BUT I paid into Social Security for longer than you have been alive and I strongly believe I am due the benefits I am receiving.

    One final thought: you rail against buying what you consider useless items. If everyone were to suddenly do just that, then unemployment would soar to even greater heights. We are far beyond the point where we can live in the Jeffersonian agricultural utopia you are proposing.

  5. Ray says:

    Well, WPB, perhaps I am not very good at articulating my feelings on this subject. However, let me assure you, the stories I related about my relatives who receive unearned benefits from the government are true. Your statement that "your holier than the rest of you attitude is just plain wrong and offensive. In your world, the baby would be thrown out with the bath water and good riddance too." is simply not correct. I absolutely do believe in supporting those who are unable to care for themselves, like the blind, the physically infirm (you'd qualify, sounds like), and the mentally challenged. In fact, though I am a non-believer (an atheist, if you will) I _voluntarily_ donate way more than a tithe's worth (a quarter of my income, actually) to various charities here in Cleveland, and have done so consistently since I began earning an income over 30 years ago. I also volunteer my time at food banks and run an annual food collection for the holidays every winter at my workplace. I am not without concern for those truly in need. However, I do take offense at those who manipulate "the system" to steal from those who are productive. I am sorry if that bothers you. I have seen the newspaper articles here in the Cleveland Plain Dealer offering free phones, washers, and dryers to those below a certain income level. I saw the $38,000 check from the federal government to my "disabled" aunt-in-law (she waved it in my face) and the new car and trip to Disneyland she bought with it. Such behavior IS sickening to those of us who try to honorable pay our way through life. But in spite of that, believe me, I am not "so worried about the actions of others especially family members," and I apologize if my poor writing skills gave you that impression, though I doubt if my saying it will convince you. We will just have to agree to disagree on this one, I guess.

  6. Ray says:

    Oh and regarding your statement "One final thought: you rail against buying what you consider useless items. If everyone were to suddenly do just that, then unemployment would soar to even greater heights. We are far beyond the point where we can live in the Jeffersonian agricultural utopia you are proposing."… Millions of people across America are beginning to think otherwise. You need to read "The Story of Stuff." And check out the really good frugality and minimalism sites that are popping up left and right on the web. There IS another way, my friend… some of us have just been living it our whole lives. 🙂

  7. WPB says:

    Well Ray you have now proven yourself a liar and a fraud. I in no way accept the thought that an 8 year old gave away 25% of his “earnings.” Earnings happen when one starts filing income tax returns. Much of what you have written sounds like “I’m not a racist because I know and help Black people.” If you really believe your non-relatives (in-laws) have cheated the system report them. Social Security has just such a system for doing so. Get over the idea that everyone should live as you think you do. It is their choice not yours. Unless you are living totally off the gird, you need the system to be as it is. The water, electricity, gas and sewer for your home. The roads, the police, fire department, the various levels of government. Many of those things you rail about being frivolous, such as big screen TVs, are bought by people who worked their asses off to get the money, as such, they get to make the decision what to spend the money on, NOT YOU.

    This started about an article where 12.5% or 1 in 8 Americans are on Food Stamps. This means the flight of jobs overseas has come to roost. Americans need jobs. You are so insecure in your own job that you never take a vacation. Do you take the pay instead or just lose the time off? Either action harms the worker next to you. But like I said how can I have a discussion with a liar and fraud?

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