Budget expert Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute has examined the explosive numbers behind the expansion of Food Stamps.
These two charts show what happened. Spending on Food Stamps doubled from 2019-2023. The big jump was during 2020 when Covid lockdowns caused the spending on Food Stamps to soar to an all-time high. Yet in the next two years after COVID ended, the spending only fell slightly even as the economy recovered.
The same phenomenon has been observed with caseloads. They spiked in 2020 and then stayed high.
What happened? We believe two things. First, families got acculturated to get free food, so they stayed on the government assistance. Second, the work requirements for Food Stamps have been effectively eviscerated. Fewer low-income Americans went back to work after COVID, in order to keep getting the free groceries.
What does this tell us? First, welfare programs ratchet upward permanently after every recession. Second, work requirements are necessary for ALL welfare programs.