Concerning the news that there is no longer any stigma attached to food stamps, and that one in eight Americans is on the “nutritional aid” program: One would think that if real need explained increased usage, “Black Friday” would have been a bust. But perhaps the opposite occurred, and Thanksgiving holiday sales were good (as I can attest from witnessing a stampede at the Selma Wal-Mart). One then cannot quite believe that one in eight Americans did not go on the annual shopping spree.
This is similar to the illegal-immigration/health-care debate. Most estimates (which are low, I think) suggest that there are around 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, and that $40-50 billion in remittances is sent back annually to Latin America and Mexico, much of it apparently remitted by illegal aliens. Which means that if the average illegal-immigrant family spent its remittance money on health care, it would probably be able to afford a comprehensive HMO plan.
One could conclude that, in this day and age, when the government provides an entitlement, at least two things inevitably follow: (1) recipients calculate the subsidy into a budget, and then use the resulting freed-up cash for other discretionary expenditures; (2) government and the media provide the requisite narrative of Joad-like, Depression-era need to justify continuing and then expanding the program.