Record 45.8 Million People Are Now on Food Stamps; Fraud Surges

“The total number of U.S. food stamp recipients” surged “to an all-time high of 45.8 million people in May,” the most recent month for which data is available.  That’s “nearly 15 percent of the U.S. population.” “The average food stamp benefit was $133.80 per person” — which is more than I spent on food as a bachelor — “and $283.65 per household”  — which is more than my family typically spends on food in a month.

Loopholes in the law have enabled even millionaires to collect food stamps.   Food stamp fraud has also exploded.  As states have sought to implement antifraud measures, “The Obama administration is responding by cracking down on state governments’ antifraud measures,” notes James Bovard in the Wall Street Journal.  Food stamp amounts are generous enough to make fraud worthwhile for even some non-poor people.

Earlier, I wrote about how it is not difficult to live on a food stamps budget.  The Washington Post ran a story in its health section about how various people, such as the chef for a law firm and a natural foods store owner, were able to live quite well on a food stamps budget. For example, Rick Hindle, executive chef for the Skadden, Arps law firm “showed recently that you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen to prepare healthful food for $1 or less per meal.”