Recent numbers suggest that people receiving SNAP benefits outnumber the total population of twenty-four states.
Last year, the total number of SNAP recipients maxed out at 44.7 million people, and paid out $71.8 billion. This year, as of August (last month available on USDA's page), there were 47.1 million people on SNAP benefits. We'd already spent $62.8 billion dollars by August.
I am not, by any means, against helping those who truly need it, like the people Odysseus and I helped out (until a couple weeks ago, when they managed to scrape together enough to go back up to northern Missouri to stay with her mom).
However, I strongly doubt that most of those on SNAP and TANF (best figures I could get on that weren't good enough to link) actually need that level of help.
There need to be stronger controls on who can apply for and get help. Not just a means test, but urinalysis every week, blood tests every six months, and one failure loses benefits and any children in the home until the parent who failed goes through rehab and goes a year totally clean. There needs to be a class on how to cook and how to buy groceries required as part of the SNAP application, and a class on budgeting worked into the application for TANF.
EBT cards--both kinds--need to be accepted only at grocery stores, Wal-Marts, and gas pumps--not inside gas station convenience stores. Neither kind should cover junk food or alcohol. Neither kind should be accepted at fast food places, like McDonalds or pizza places. Neither kind should cover tobacco in any form.
If a person wants to drink, smoke, and eat crap, they need to do it on their dime, not mine.
Last, and possibly most important, they need the right to vote removed for the duration of the time they're on government benefits.
58 minutes ago