Food stamp enrollment skyrockets as unemployment rate declines

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A new chart produced by Republicans staffers on the Senate Budget Committee shows food stamp enrollment continuing to increase even as the unemployment rate goes down.

From October 2009 to October 2012 the unemployment rate has declined from 10.2 percent to 7.9 percent. In that same time frame, nearly ten million new recipients have been added to the food stamp rolls, according to government data analyzed by the Republican committee staff.

“Spending on the food stamp program has increased every single year since 2000, and a record number of individuals now receive the benefit. For instance, food stamp enrollment has climbed by nearly 10 million individuals since October 2009 — but the unemployment rate declined 2 percentage points from its peak level over that time,” the Republican Budget Committee staff explained in a statement.

They added that the reason for the increase is that the United States Department of Agriculture has “actively sought to increase the share of the eligible population receiving the benefit” via intense recruitment and promotion.

“The agency even produced a document teaching recruitment workers how to “overcome the word ‘No,'” the Republican staff noted. “Recruitment brochures boast that every $5 dollars in food stamps spending generates almost twice that amount in local economic benefit and that communities ‘lose out’ when eligible people do not enroll. USDA even cites ‘a sense that benefits are not needed’ as a recruitment barrier to overcome.”

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