CBS: More Food Stamps Allotments Needed to Match Food Inflation

Food inflation is hitting everyone - even if don't have to pay for food.

According to the July 2 "CBS Evening News," part of its "The Other America" series - a title strangely similar to former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards' liberal anti-poverty mantra of "Two Americas" - food stamp recipients are being hit by the rising the cost of food.

"With food prices climbing, more and more Americans these days are struggling to feed their families," anchor Katie Couric said. "Nearly 28 million rely on food stamps for an average benefit that comes to only about $24 a week for each person. Many are living hand-to-mouth, month-to-month."

The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) Web site said the food stamp program is only supposed to provide a "safety net" to the poor. However, as CBS correspondent Seth Doane pointed out, some recipients have become dependent on the system.

 "Food stamps are only designed to supplement food budgets, but now the working poor are relying on them more and more," Doane said.

Food prices have increased with inflation and the effects of increased corn demand - thanks in large part to government mandates for ethanol - as a result food stamps don't buy as much at the grocery store. The obvious solution according to Doane: the government should increase allotments at a cost to taxpayers.

"But change isn't coming any time soon," Doane said. "The government won't consider raising food stamp allotments until October."

The federal government pays 100 percent of food stamp program benefits - $28.6 billion in 2005. Federal and state governments split the administrative costs, according to FRAC.

Economy Wages & Prices Poverty Welfare CBS Evening News Video Seth Doane