About six million Americans receiving food stamps report they have no other income, according to an analysis of state data collected by The New York Times. In declarations that states verify and the federal government audits, they described themselves as unemployed and receiving no cash aid — no welfare, no unemployment insurance, and no pensions, child support or disability pay. [...]
Members of this straitened group range from displaced strivers to weathered men who sleep in shelters and barter cigarettes. Some draw on savings or sporadic under-the-table jobs. Some move in with relatives. Some get noncash help, like subsidized apartments. While some go without cash incomes only briefly before securing jobs or aid, others rely on food stamps alone for many months.
The surge in this precarious way of life has been so swift that few policy makers have noticed. But it attests to the growing role of food stamps within the safety net. One in eight Americans now receives food stamps, including one in four children.
The "Great American Nightmare" is found in the pig-headed ignorance and vile malevolence of rightwing politicians like Congressman John Linder, a Republican and member of the House panel on welfare policy.
“We’re at risk of creating an entire class of people, a subset of people, just comfortable getting by living off the government.” Mr. Linder added: “You don’t improve the economy by paying people to sit around and not work. You improve the economy by lowering taxes” so small businesses will create more jobs.
What small businesses? Those left struggling in the current US economy aren't the ones who would benefit from lowered taxes. The beneficiaries might be Big Businesses who have registered lobbyists living in Washington DC, ensuring that donations to current elected officials' P.A.C.s get them what they want. Meanwhile, the companies that once provided the US working class with employment opportunities have moved their jobs off-shore to places like China and south-east Asia so they can maintain their profit margins.