(NaturalNews) The number of Americans receiving taxpayer assistance via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps, has surpassed 46 million for 39 straight months, according to data released by the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the department that manages the program.
The last month data were reported — November 2014 — more than 46.2 million Americans were receiving some level of food stamp assistance. The number has exceeded 46 million since September 2011, CNS News reported.
A USDA chart of the data is here.[PDF]
CNS News further reported:
The 46,271,508 on food stamps in November was down from the 46,477,678 on food stamps in October — a decline of 206,170.
As of July, the national population was 318,857,056, the Census Bureau estimates. Thus, the 46,271,508 on food stamps equaled 14.5 percent of the population.
There were 22,699,759 households on food stamps in November, which also declined from the previous month of 22,774,201 in October.
As of September, according to the Census Bureau, there were 115,831,000 households in the country. Thus, the 22,699,759 households on food stamps in November equaled 19.6 percent of the nation’s households.
Big retailers are making bank off the taxpayer
In 1969, an average of about 2.9 million Americans were taking part in the program, which began as part of President Johnson’s so-called “war on poverty.”
Oddly, in a country where government policies used to favor individualism and liberty, and businesses supported those concepts, today there are a number of entities that support increased dependency.
For scores of quick-stop convenience stores and mega-chains that sell boxed food like Wal-Mart, SNAP recipients account for a growing share of annual revenue.
But nobody knows, really, how much these retailers collect annually in taxpayer revenue. As The Washington Times reported in June 2012, the USDA won’t release that data. The agency has been sued by a South Dakota paper, the Argus Leader for disclosure; officials with the department say they are required by law to keep the information secret in order to protect retailers.
The Times further reported:
Food stamps can be spent on goods ranging from candy to steak and are accepted at retailers from gas stations that primarily sell potato chips to fried-chicken restaurants. And as the amount spent on food stamps has more than doubled in recent years, the amount of food stamps laundered into cash has increased dramatically, government statistics show.
But the government won’t say which stores are doing the most business in food stamps, and even it doesn’t know what kinds of food those taxpayer dollars buy.
Clearly the figure for many big box retailers and convenience chains is in the billions of dollars. Taxpayers fund SNAP alone to the tune of about $80 billion annually. Recipients bought food at more than 200,000 retail outlets.
Banks doing well too
Banks and financial corporations are profiting too, like JPMorgan.
Once upon a time, food stamp recipients were actually given paper food stamps worth certain dollar amounts, but today they are issued slick “electronic money” — debit cards, essentially. As , JPMorgan is one banking company used by the government to issue the cards — with a catch:
But the same banking corporation that in 2008 was bailed out of collapse by U.S. taxpayers to the tune of $12 billion doesn’t provide these cards for free. According to the Roosevelt Institute, JPMorgan’s net revenue from producing food stamp debit cards was nearly $5.5 billion just in 2010, and the institution continues to increase its food stamp bottom line as increasingly more Americans enroll in the program.
As more Americans fall into poverty and become enrolled in food stamps, the company stands to do even better.
“Volumes have gone through the roof in the last couple of years. This business is a very important business to JPMorgan in terms of its size and scale,” Christopher Paton, head of JPMorgan’s food stamp division, told Bloomberg News, according to the Roosevelt Institute website.
Written by J. D. Heyes
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