NEW YORK CITY: The Rich Get Much Richer, The Poor Get Much Much Poorer

From the New York Daily News:

The number of city residents receiving aid under the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps, soared from 1.3 million in 2008 to 1.8 million today. Yet, with so many people in need, the biggest benefit reduction in the 50-year history of food stamps took effect Nov. 1. That’s when a temporary increase in benefits — pushed through by President Obama in 2009 as part of his economic stimulus program — lapsed. New York households receiving food stamps saw their benefits decrease by an average of $30 to $50 a month, depending on a complex formula that takes into account family size and income. For a typical family of three, that meant a drop to $189 a month, down from about $220. Food pantry and soup kitchen operators said the impact was swift and dramatic: Although the economy had rebounded since the financial crisis, those at the bottom of the ladder had not fully shared in the recovery. Nearly every emergency food program in the city has struggled in the wake of the November cut in food stamps. “Eighty-five percent reported a drastic increase (in clients) in November 2013 compared to November 2012 — and remember we’d already set records that month because of Hurricane Sandy,” said Margarette Purvis, president of the Food Bank for New York City. Nearly 50% of pantries and soup kitchens ran out of food in November, and an additional 25% had to move to smaller rations, said Purvis.

One in five New Yorkers are now on food stamps.