Unemployment rates have been hovering around multi-decade highs for the past two years. The federal government has been extending unemployment insurance continually to soften the blow for the nation’s 15.1 million unemployed. Millions of people have had to resort to lower paying jobs. Underemployment isn’t nice but it’s better than being unemployed. Unfortunately, there are still millions of people who can’t find a jobs, who aren’t getting paid by unemployment insurance, and who try to deal with the tough economic environment on their own. Handouts from the federal food stamp program has been one of things helping these folks.
Yes, there are millions of people who don’t try hard and are content with what they get from the government. In 2006, there were 26.5 million people who received food stamps. In 2007, there were 26.2 million people in the program. So, the “normal” level of food stamp participation was around 26 million people. Things changed in 2008. The number of participants increased by 1.9 million. We were still in a recession during the first half of 2009. Food stamp participants increased by another 5.2 million people that year. There were then a total 33.4 million people receiving food stamps. The recession officially ended by July 2009, and one would expect at the worsening to stop. But millions more who weren’t officially “poor” in 2009 became poor in 2010. When Republicans were trying to extend Bush tax cuts for the rich by keeping social programs hostage, 6.8 million more joined the ranks of food stamp participants. Now, there are more than 40 million people receiving food stamps, though to remove the stigma they don’t call it the “food stamp program” anymore. Now, they use debit cards to distribute the handouts and they call it the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Oh Snap!
Today, there are 14 million more people who try to get by using food stamps than there were in 2007. These are in addition to the usual suspects who have been using food stamps for years. These people aren’t your “average” food stamp participants- these are hardworking Americans who fell on hard times. Insider Monkey, your source for free insider trading data, compiled the list of states that are falling harder than the rest. Here is the list of top ten states with the highest food stamp participation rates:
10. Maine: 17.28 out of 100 receive food stamps
9. New Mexico: 17.33 out of 100 receive food stamps
8. Kentucky: 17.9 out of 100 receive food stamps
7. Michigan: 18 out 100 receive food stamps
6. Louisiana: 18.2 out of 100 receive food stamps
5. Oregon: 18.4 out of 100 receive food stamps
4. West Virginia: 18.41 out of 100 receive food stamps
3. Tennessee: 19.3 out of 100 receive food stamps
2. Mississippi: 19.4 out of 100 receive food stamps
1. District of Columbia: 19.7 out of 100 receive food stamps