Tornadoes, Austerity, and Food Stamps

In one of my posts on drones, I noted that we have had more deaths this year in AL (238) and MO (159) because of extreme tornadoes the severity of which is probably at least due partly to climate change than we have from terrorism.

But there’s something else that seems to have happened.

Meteor Blades has a post cataloging how many more people are relying on food stamps this month–45.8 million, or close to 15% of the country. He links to the state-level data, which reveals¬† a huge spike in AL’s use of food stamps. In April 2011, 868,813 Alambamans used food stamps–a worse than average but not abysmal 18% of its population. In May, that number spiked to 1,762,481, over 37% of the population, almost 900,000 new people getting food stamps.

Incidentally, the only people from AL’s congressional delegation to vote no on the debt ceiling vote this week–Martha Robey, Mo Brooks, Richard Shelby, and Jeff Sessions–did so from the right.

Assuming these numbers are right (the numbers reported for new applicants–100,000 from hard-hit Jefferson County–seem to support them), there’s still a good reason why so many Alabamans are relying on federal aid to feed themselves: the devastating tornadoes in April. In response, the state rolled out special sign-up processes, turning around applications in three days time. Though, at least from some quarters, there was skepticism about whether people were applying because of the tornado, or more generalized need.

At the very least, the reliance of over a third of Alabamans on food stamps, half of them in response to the tornadoes, suggests one more cost from this crazy weather.

But it will be interesting to see what happens to these numbers in subsequent months. Will these numbers return to “normal,” reflecting an appropriate and short term response to a disaster (even if it is one Alabama’s legislators all refuse to pay for)? Or are we seeing a poor state come to rely on the government for bare necessities once it becomes easy to apply?

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @ncweaver Yes, but is there anyway to avoid this if an entity that is trying to exhaust it knows how to trigger?
1mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @palewire Fair question. I should have. @ourmaninchicago
2mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @ourmaninchicago Talk to me when CNN covers it for 24 hours.
4mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @ncweaver https://t.co/am9OmQJua9 Note WL Saudi cables claimed Sauds responsible tho may not be real.
5mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @ncweaver I'm still interested in time someone spamouflaged IRGC just as the time FBI was trying to trap them in sting.
8mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @ncweaver Oh, was just envisioning a spying target (admittedly, not primarily via XKS) that wasn't really about threats.
10mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @ncweaver It's the Merkel threat I'm really worried about.
11mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @JBauerofPrivacy I'm not so much worried about what you're telling your kids as I am that you're listening to all this Journey.
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emptywheel RT @matthewstoller: Age demographic split on Greek referendum vote was the same split as in Scotland.
16mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @_cypherpunks_ Not me. I'm hoping the banksters sweat some, but I'm not optimistic.
18mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Zero alleged ISIS attacks. And so the press will snooze on this... https://t.co/8FvDjyXKWa
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bmaz @nancyleong @espinsegall You know, I think we actually do more often than not. It is just that some issues are magnified. Also, I love Eric!
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