“Check, please! …”

From Bloomberg.net (December 11, 2009):

The headline: “Food Stamps Go to a Record 37.2 Million, USDA Says”.
The story: “A record 37.2 million people, or about one out of every eight Americans, received food stamps in September, as the recession drove a surging jobless rate, according to a government report.

“Recipients of the subsidy for retail-food purchases climbed 18 percent from a year earlier, according to a statement posted today on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Web site. Participation has set records for 10 straight months. The government boosted food aid as unemployment soared, heading to a 26-year high of 10.2 percent in October. The jobless rate cooled to 10 percent last month, the Labor Department said on Dec. 4.

“‘We’ve been working to get that money out the door’ to families that need assistance, Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said last week in an interview.

“Nevada had the biggest increase in food-stamp participation rates from a year earlier, surging 54 percent, followed by a 46.5 percent jump in Utah, according to the USDA. Texas had the most recipients at 3.1 million, followed by California with 2.9 million and New York with 2.6 million. Recipients increased in every state and the District of Columbia, except Louisiana. Because of a sharp rise after Hurricanes Ike and Gustav in 2008, the number of people in Louisiana getting food stamps fell 65 percent in September from a year earlier. Gains of more than 30 percent from 2008 were reported in 18 states.

“About 35 million people are expected to receive food stamps each month through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, according to the budget that President Obama sent to Congress in May.

“‘In this economic time, SNAP has been essential,’ Merrigan said. The participation rate of state residents who are eligible for food stamps varies widely, the USDA said last month in a report based on 2007 data. In Missouri, about 100 percent who were eligible that year took advantage of the program, the highest rate in the nation, followed by residents of Maine and Michigan, at 91 percent and 89 percent, respectively, the USDA said. Wyoming’s participation rate of 49 percent was the lowest in fiscal 2007, followed by California and Idaho at 48 percent and 50 percent, according to the study.

“Nationwide participation in the food-stamp program was 66 percent of those eligible for the aid in 2007, the USDA said. The department has budgeted for a rate of 68 percent in the current 2010 fiscal year.

“‘We know a lot of people who are SNAP-eligible who are not participating in the program,’ Merrigan said. ‘We are working with states to improve participation.’”

That was from Bloomberg. The following is being posted over the Internet by a former Air Force Colonel. How do you suppose those 35 million “participants” will feel about this slap-in-the-face?

“Subject: The Date”…

“First, let me say that I’ve moved three presidents up to now and I’ve seen incredible waste. But, the ‘new’ guy really takes the cake. I don’t have an issue with the President promising his wife dinner and a show or that he even takes his wife out. But when I saw the news say that the date cost $ 24,000, here’s what you DON’T know.

“Three days before ‘dinner’ a C-17 flew Marines and the helicopter maintenance equipment to JFK Airport. The day before ‘dinner’ I flew the USSS (United States Special Services) and the motorcade to JFK Airport. Our crew of 5 spent two days and nights at the Hilton in Times Square. My hotel bill was $ 621.66 plus $ 64 a day in per diem. The USSS guys were at a different Hilton in NYC, so figure that cost another $ 14,000 (or so) plus per diem. The Marines had to have cost as much and were there four days, so figure another $ 55,000 plus per diem (for 44 Marines).

“We were supposed to fly the motorcade back and go home, but the Air Force was so short of C-17s that we were re-tasked to take the motorcade back, return to JFK and take the helicopter back to Quantico. When we got back to JFK, while the pilot was turning the plane around to park, he noticed a rotor blade sticking out of the hangar where the helicopter was parked and informed me that either it wasn’t ready to transport or it was flying home. After shutting down I walked over to the hangar and to my surprise I find FIVE helicopters, not ONE.

“We’re obviously not transporting five big helicopters. I went and talked to the Marines guarding the ‘fleet’ and found that they were flying all five helicopters home and we were only transporting the Marines and the maintenance equipment. After talking to the Marine(s) in charge, I was told that the White House requested FIVE helicopters. The Marines told me that they spent all morning trying to figure out how much it cost them to come and said they figured it cost them $ 140,000 to stay there (I don’t know where they came up with that) and the trip’s total had to be about $ 1,000,000.

“We heard that the President didn’t use Air Force One (the 747) so I asked if he came in on one of the 757s. I was told that he came in on THREE Air Force Lear jets. So, date night consisted of: 2 C-17s flying three missions, 3 Lear jets, 5 Helicopters, Presidential Motorcade, 44 marines, and more than 20 USSS personnel on our plane. Who knows what it cost the NYPD and Port Authority (at the airport) in overtime.

“These are the same people that chastised the automobile CEOs for using their aircraft. It further proves that the media only use the facts that make the President look good and hide any facts that will detract from his persona. Is this the ‘change’ we expected?”

[The only “change” we’ve seen so far is the increasing numbers in the unemployment and food stamp lines. Do you suppose those 35 million SNAP “participants” would accept highly-paid employment in U.S. shipyards building our patented Jones Act container ships in an Emergency Shipbuilding Program? 35 million workers is just about the number the program would require.]