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Record High Enrollment for Food Stamps: 46,681,833

12:51 PM, Oct 16, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Food stamps enrollment has hit a new record high. 46,681,833 are now enrolled in the social welfare program, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, the federal department that runs the program.

Here's a chart from the minority side of the Senate Budget Committee, outlining the program's enormous growth:

As the chart shows, when President Obama took office, enrollment in the food stamps program was 31.98 million. Now, not even four years later, it's a whopping 46.48 million. (In 2002, as the chart states, "19.1 million Americans received food stamps.")

In fact, the newly released data represents enrollment in July (the last month for which data is available). Assuming the program remained on its projected path, the number of those enrolled in food stamps is likely now larger by several hundreds of thousands.

"USDA has engaged in an aggressive outreach and promotional campaign to boost food stamp enrollment. Among these efforts are an ongoing partnership with the Mexican government to advertise food stamps to Mexican nationals, migrant workers, and non-citizen immigrants. Partly as a result of these efforts, the number of non-citizens on food stamps has quadrupled since 2001," explains the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee.

And the cost, the committee explains, is astronomical. "Total spending on food stamps is projected to reach nearly $800 billion over the next 10 years, with no fewer than 1 in 9 people on the program at any given time. Neither food stamp participation nor spending on the program are ever projected to return to pre-recession levels at any point in the next 10 years."

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