Oops. USDA Massively Fudges The Number Of People Collecting Food Stamps
Oh, the United States Department of Agriculture, always crushing our dreams and fragile beliefs in a democratic safety net. Yesterday, the department sheepishly announced that they’d made a tiny miscalculation about the number of people who’d gotten off of food stamps between January and March 2013. Instead of an optimistic 514,458 recipients leaving the program, as they’d reported previously, only 19,948 got off the Food Stamp rolls — roughly 1/26th of the previous number.
But guys, this depressing and heart-breaking statistic was just the result of a very simple mistake! In a press release, the USDA credited the eensy-weensy “potential inaccuracy” to a “state system glitch”, while Obama Foodorama points out that it was more likely due to a simple typo:
As of today, USDA is reporting that 47,772,108 people received benefits for January in what is officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), at a cost of $6,326,943,69 for the month, the same figure reported before the “glitch” in the number of beneficiaries was caught. The agency last Friday reported that number at 47,277,538 Americans.
As any chef can tell you, the hunger problem in America is endemic and growing, and numbers like this are still pretty damn depressing (that’s about 15% of the country, give or take, based on recent US census estimates). But do we blame the government, like we could here? Or do we blame society? Or do we blame the chefs cooking on TV? No, let’s blame Canada.