The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that a total of 101,000,000 people currently participate in at least one of the 15 food programs offered by the agency, at a cost of $114 billion in fiscal year 2012.
That means the number of Americans receiving food assistance has surpassed the number of private sector workers in the U.S.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 97,180,000 full-time private sector workers in 2012.
The population of the U.S. is 316.2 million people, meaning nearly a third of Americans receive food aid from the government.
Food-stamp use reached a record 46.7 million people 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.
[. . .]
Food-stamp spending, which more than doubled in four years to a record $75.7 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2011, is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s biggest annual expense. Republicans in Congress have criticized the cost of the program, and the House budget plan approved in April sponsored by Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the party’s vice- presidential nominee, would cut expenses by $33 billion over 10 years.