As millions of citizens become ever more desperate, they do what they must to survive. That's understandable, and the depth and prolonged nature of the current economic mess has pushed millions of Americans onto government assistance that previously would have never considered even asking for help. Some of the trends are startling. They raise questions both about the proper role of government and fiscal limitations, but they also raise the issue of whether there has been a change in the character of the once staunchly self-reliant, independent, personally responsible American citizen.
More than 46 million Americans – about 1 out of every 7 people - now rely on food stamps – a 32% increase in the number of recipients just since the recession supposedly ended in June 2009. (See chart below) However, because of mandated increases in benefits that were part of Obama's Stimulus, higher food costs, and more recipients, total federal spending on the food stamp program has more than doubled in four years; from $39 billion in 2008 to $81 billion this year.