If anyone wondered whether the United States is on the “right track” or “wrong track” please consider, courtesy of the Drudge Report, this story from Bloomberg:
Food-stamp use reached a record 46.7 million in June, the government said, as Democrats prepare to nominate President Barack Obama for a second term with the economy as a chief issue in the campaign.
Participation was up 0.4 percent from May and 3.3 percent higher than a year earlier and has remained greater than 46 million all year as the unemployment rate stayed higher than 8 percent. New jobless numbers will be released Sept. 7.
“Unemployment is stubbornly stuck,” making it difficult to significantly reduce the number of food-stamp recipients, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in an interview last month. “While people are going back to work, and there are jobs being added, they aren’t being added at a clip that is as robust as anybody wants.”
Food-stamp spending, which has more than doubled in four years to a record $75.7 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2011, is the USDA’s biggest annual expense.
What is monumentally new about the American state today is the vast empire of entitlement payments that it protects, manages and finances. Within living memory, the federal government has become an entitlements machine. As a day-to-day operation, it devotes more attention and resources to the public transfer of money, goods and services to individual citizens than to any other objective, spending more than for all other ends combined.
The growth of entitlement payments over the past half-century has been breathtaking. In 1960, U.S. government transfers to individuals totaled about $24 billion in current dollars, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. By 2010 that total was almost 100 times as large. Even after adjusting for inflation and population growth, entitlement transfers to individuals have grown 727% over the past half-century, rising at an average rate of about 4% a year.