An old politician – a liberal in good standing – was once heard to put it this way: The best social program in the world is spelled j-o-b.
It’s true, and the continued evaporation of jobs is putting more stresses on existing social program. One case in point: Missouri just passed a critical milestone as more than 1 million residents – one Missourian out of six – is now getting food stamps.
That number has increased 156 percent in the last 10 years, including a jump of 16 percent from April 2008 to April 2009, thanks in large part to the recession.
Like Medicaid, this is mostly a program helping moms and kids, and it’s another area in which our state government does a pretty good job with what it has. Missouri generally makes sure that those who are eligible for food stamps get enrolled. Even this, however, doesn’t get to everyone. You need a net monthly income of $867 to qualify.
Obviously, this isn’t the place where Missouri wants to be, although it’s good that people who need help are getting it. The solution – at least a large part of it – will come when the economy turns around. Again, it’s spelled j-o-b-s.