Reports from the Economic Front

a blog by Marty Hart-Landsberg

How bad is the economy?

How bad is the economy?  According to a CNN report:

“With the national economy in meltdown, more Americans than ever are relying on the federal aid program to keep from going hungry. In October, more than one in 10 people — about 31 million — were using the food stamp program to get by, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture”

That was in October—and things have only gotten worse.  And it is no simple thing to get food support.  To get food stamps—actually a special debit card for food purchases–a household’s net monthly income cannot be more then the (monthly) federal poverty level (for the relevant household size).  Moreover the household cannot have more than $2000 in countable resources (like a bank account).

The most a single person can qualify for each month is $176.  If the month is 30 days and one eats three meals a day that works out to about $1.96 a meal.  The food money cannot be used to purchase prepared food or non food items.  In fiscal year 2007 the average monthly benefit was $96 per person and $215 per family.

President Obama’s economic stimulus plan would, if approved as currently proposed, provide each family on the food program with an additional $79 a month.

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