Oh, SNAP

Over the past five years the number of people getting food via the SNAP/Supplemental Nutrition  Assistance Program (food stamps) has increased at an alarming and unsustainable rate.

food-stamps-new-chart-original

The reality is actually significantly worse than the chart reveals. In 2013 the number of recipients soared to 47,636,000 at a cost of nearly $80 billion. From the program’s beginning in 1969 until the last few years the number of recipients has stayed within a reasonably narrow range (there were actually fewer recipients in 2000 than there had been in 1980 and 1990, for example).  From 2008 to present, however, the number of recipients has increased by an astonishing 81%, far exceeding historic participation.

Of course we’ve been experiencing a serious recession, so perhaps it’s natural that tens of millions of people would be unable to afford food without assistance.  In times like these we’re all suffering.

Well, not all of us.

Over the last five years the S&P 500 has increased by 159%, to record levels.

s&p

Again the chart doesn’t tell it all.  It closed at 1867 yesterday.

And corporate profits are also at an all-time high, growing five times faster than worker’s wages in 2013.  For 2013 results tack another 11% onto the chart below.

corporate-profits

Even as the number of food stamp recipients spirals upward, stock prices and corporate profits are increasing even faster.  Even as more and more people are unable to afford food, times have never been better in corporate America.

These are not the signs of a healthy economy.

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