Publicado: 11-30-2012 12:24 PM
What are food stamps?
They're a form of aid provided by the federal government to low-income households to help them buy food. The term "food stamps" comes from the coupon-like stamps used during the "War on Poverty" in the 1960s, although they were phased out in 2004 in favor of plastic debit cards, which are refilled electronically each month. In 2008, the government rechristened the program Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. But most people still call it food stamps, and the program has become a political flash point since GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said in January that "more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history."
Is that true?
There can be no dispute that the number of people added to food stamp rolls since 2008 is larger than in any previous president's term. Last year, 45 million Americans — 14 percent of the population — received food stamps; in 2008, before Obama took office, about 28 million did. But the number of recipients has risen steadily over the last decade, and actually grew by a higher percentage under the eight years of George W. Bush's administration than it has under Obama's so far. Much of the expansion came at the end of the Bush administration, during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.