Knowing government overlords and their cronies like the National Association of Realtors religiously double-count to disguise our nation’s true unemployment rates, home sales figures, health care costs, national debt and the like, rest assured ’1 in 6′ Floridians on food stamps – when using government math – represents half of the actual statistic.
But job creation is Obama’s #1 priority. And as president – after 90+ rounds of golf – a 17-day vacation in Hawaii will provide our super-genius with the required tranquility to mastermind a Grande Finale for his shovel-ready jobs plan.
Regardless, the stock market was up today…
1 In 6 Floridians Now Depend On Food Stamps, Government Says
(OrlandoSentinel) As Floridians prepare to celebrate the year-end holidays with food and festivity, the U.S. government has delivered some distressing news: the number of state residents who rely on food stamps has nearly tripled since the Great Recession.
Figures released this month by the Agriculture Department paint a grim picture of widespread dependence nationwide but especially in Florida, where a record 3.1 million people — one in six residents — received food-stamp aid in September.
The numbers reflect a need witnessed every day by those who distribute food to the poor and to the growing ranks of Floridians who have fallen out of the middle and working classes.
Food banks in South and Central Florida report that they can hardly keep up with the demand for emergency assistance. Even some who once donated food now seek help for themselves.
Watch local celebrities recite the 12 Days of Christmas, Central Florida stye.
“We see these additional folks who never imagined themselves in a situation of needing emergency food,” said Dave Krepcho, president of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. “You see blue-collar, white-collar, professional people. We’ve had financial donors from the past call up wondering where the heck do they get the emergency food.”
The holiday spirit has prompted a rise in donations, though it’s not enough to meet demand.
“Most people just can’t bear the thought that they have so much in this holiday season while other people don’t have anything to eat,” said Anthea Pennant, director of external affairs for Feeding South Florida, a Pembroke Park-based organization that distributes food through 700 non-profit groups throughout the region. “It’s heart-breaking to know that some can only have a peanut-butter sandwich at this time, and some have nothing at all.”
“But the big story here is the many new faces of hunger,” she said. “This is a first for them. They are totally out of their comfort zone. They are lost in terms of finding resources or reinventing how they live in their new norm.”
Promoters of the food stamp program say it not only helps the needy but pumps federal dollars into the local economy through purchases at local stores. Funding for food aid has mostly been spared from the budget controversies on Capitol Hill, though some critics warn that runaway spending on this or any form of welfare is not the best way to build an economic recovery.
Newt Gingrich, the Republican presidential frontrunner, last month called President Barack Obama “the most successful food stamp president in American history” — a way of jabbing him for presiding over a dismal economy.
Recipients nationwide rose from 26.3 million in fiscal 2007 to 44.7 million in fiscal 2011, an increase of 59%, according to the Agriculture Department. Fiscal years end on Sept. 30.
In Florida, the number increased at a far greater rate, more than doubling from 1.2 million in fiscal 2007 to 3.1 million in fiscal 2011. More recent numbers from the state Department of Children & Families indicate the number of Floridians on food stamps rose to 3.3 million in November.
The average monthly food stamp benefit in Florida rose from $94.65 in 2007 to $139.55 this year. Total benefits paid out in the state more than tripled, from $1.4 billion in 2007 to $5.1 billion this year.
“We see this on a lot of economic issues,” said Alan Stonecipher, research analyst at the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy, a research group in Tallahassee. “Continued high unemployment has forced a lot of people who consider themselves middle class to ask for government assistance for the first time in their lives.”
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