Life is getting tougher in the world's richest country with Bloomberg reporting that the number of Americans using food stamps rose to 46.7 million in June. Some 15 per cent of Americans, or one in seven, are now on food stamps. It's the highest ever figure. Households of four with a gross monthly income of less than $2,422 are eligible for up to a $668 monthly food-stamp allotment, about $167 per person. About 47 per cent of recipients are children, and 8 percent are elderly, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
And who makes money out of food stamps? It's the usual suspects, notably big business. As reported here, JP Morgan one of the big banks bailed out in the financial crisis of 2008, is a private contractor retained by over half of US state governments to issue EBT debit cards which are used in the food stamp program. Christopher Paton, managing director of JPMorgan's "Treasury Solutions" business, puts it bluntly: "This business is a very important business to JPMorgan. It's an important business in terms of its size and scale…Right now, volumes have gone through the roof in the past couple of years. The good news, from JPMorgan's perspective, is the infrastructure that we built has been able to cope with that increase in volume."
JPMorgan Chase is not the only processor of food stamp transactions. We have reports that a Xerox subsidiary administers the cards in 13 states, enjoying a $69 million contract in California, and defense contractor Northrop Grumman runs food stamp programs in Montana and Illinois that entail a contract of $38 million.
Food stamps now at a record high is good for American corporations. They're making profits off people's misery.