Friday, August 26, 2011

America: Food Stamp Nation

Saucedo, who earns $9.70 an hour for about 26 hours a week and lives with her mother, is one of the many Americans who survive because of government handouts in what has rapidly become a food stamp nation.

Altogether, there are now almost 46 million people in the United States on food stamps, roughly 15% of the population. That's an increase of 74% since 2007, just before the financial crisis and a deep recession led to mass job losses.

At the same time, the cost doubled to reach $68 billion in 2010 - more than a third of the amount the US government received in corporate income tax last year - which means the programme has started to attract the attention of some Republican lawmakers looking for ways to cut the nation's budget deficit.

While there are clearly some cases of abuse by people who claim food stamps but don't really need them, for many Americans like Saucedo there is little current alternative if they are to put food on the table while paying rent and utility bills.

"It's kind of sad that even though I'm working that I need to have government assistance. I have asked them to please put me on full-time so I can have benefits," said the 32-year-old. more