If We Cannot See Bread Lines, Do They Exist?


Unlike during the Great Depression of the 1930’s when food lines were clearly visible, today since we don’t see food-soup-bread lines, do they not exist? If the problem is hidden from view, is it no longer a problem? If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around, does it still make a sound?

Today’s equivalent of food lines are indeed hidden from view and public perception, and therefore it’s as though the underlying problem does not exist. Similar to how other ‘negative’ economic news is hidden, disguised, or not spoken of – the fact is that the problems do exist, and they’re pretty bad…


Food Stamp Cards – EBT Cards

Although the following data was collected a few years ago, the numbers are likely worse today.

44.5 Million people are on Food Stamps in America, which is equivalent to 14,588 participants for each and every Walmart Super Center in the US! The program is called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). To remove the stigma of food stamps, the EBT card was created and is used the same way as a credit card.

While there is no doubt that this program helps lots of people and while there is certainly abuse in the system, the sheer numbers indicate the magnitude of the problem – which is just one of many that are hidden from view in today’s America.

image: demonocracy.info

During the Great Depression of the 1930’s there were bread lines, where people waited in line to get food at a soup kitchen. You could see the problem. It was in plain view.

Today, the perception of the problem has been removed as the bread lines have been replaced with technology. EBT cards are filled with government money for Food Stamp participants to purchase food at local retailers.


Bread Lines during the 1930’s– The Great Depression

During the Great Depression, people lined up to get food at soup kitchens. Skilled and non-skilled workers stood in lines for hours to get some food.

The lines were visible to everyone, a reflection of the hard economic times.


Bread Lines of the Modern Era

To visualize the situation, if all EBT recipients shopped at only Walmart Super Centers for all of their SNAP benefits, then this is how the bread line would look each month at each Walmart — 14,588 people.

The line on the left: 4.1 miles of adults
The line on the right: 3.7 miles of children

Walmart bread line
image: demonocracy.info

There are 3,051 Walmart Super Centers in the USA and 44,510,598 participants in SNAP (2011 data), making the average SNAP line at each and every Walmart consist of 14,588 people.

The Modern Era’s Bread Lines are not visible because the business is handled discreetly through EBT Cards, as the card holders come and go to the grocery stores like anyone else would during any given day, week, or month…

Short Facts:
47% of Food Stamp participants are children.
78.6% of all SNAP participants are in metropolitan areas.

Visualizing this REALITY not only illustrates the magnitude of today’s problems, but it also serves as a caution as to the number of people and potential ‘unrest’ should their government cheese be reduced or even eliminated. How long will the government be able to continue and pay out enormous benefits to such a large and apparently increasing percentage of Americans? Certainly not forever. The government is already broke – it’s just that not everyone has realized it yet.

The purpose here has NOT been to diminish anyone who may truly be in need, but instead it is to point out that much of our economic sickness as a nation is being hidden from your view – which is helping to stretch out the end-game (by avoiding a revolting public). Problems need to be addressed – not papered over.

data sourced from demonocracy.info


  1. Good Article Ken,

    Really puts things into perspective. I have 2 Walmart supercenters within 10 miles of me. I dont really live in the city more like on the outskirts. I’m only 10 minutes from the very deep woods in FL. So basically I have about 30k FSA at my door step. Good thing my BOL is 45 mins into those woods surrounded by good country folks and just down the from the local outdoor gun range.

    I found this link dated June 2014 and it states there are currently 46.5 million on the SNAP pgm. I’m not sure how accurate it is but I wouldnt be surprised if there are a good million or two to add to that list by now and it just keeps growing.


    46.5mil / 3051 supercenter walmarts = 15,240 FSA in your neighborhood.

    Be well and stay the course.

  2. We already have bread lines and we can see them…..they are the food stamp lines and the ebt cards that are issued by the government……..without these, we wold be seeing lines reminiscent of the bread lines of the great depression…..But it will be worse, because people in that era had morals, a work ethic and respect. In todays world, none of these exist for the most part….Sad, sad, sad!

  3. Xxxxxx County recently hit an all-time high for food stamp recipients. The Department of Social Services reports that last year 10,807 families received benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which amounts to 32,749 individuals.

    Experts say between better access to the benefits and a high unemployment rate, many factors have contributed to these numbers. Ten years ago, there were only 1,900 families receiving governmental food assistance. Between 2013 and 2014 alone, there was a 4,000 family jump.

    This is a County of about 125,000 people. A solid 25% are on stamps.

    1. That was a direct quote from the local news except for the last two sentences.

  4. Food stamps– They gave away 3 times more a person than what I spent on my food per month and I spent it on mostly basics.

  5. Thank the politicians who have passed trade agreements since the last world war, they sold our economic engine to a scrapper

    1. So true. America is feeding the world through the export of it’s jobs, so actually entitlement payments extend worldwide. Sad thing about it though…Americans lost their jobs and can’t put food on the table and those in other “Free Trade” treaty countries who got those old American jobs also can’t put food on the table with the pittance paid to them. The only well fed in the world are the ones who sold their fellow man out.

  6. It’s simply socialism on steroids. The more the people rely upon the government the greater the problem becomes. If 50 million rely on food stamps 150 million will have to work for them and their families will struggle through higher taxation and increased regulations. The other 100 million will just survive from week to week. Unless there is a return to the belief the individual is the master of their own destiny and the state is simply there to apply rule of law and defend it’s citizens rather than to control them all then hope is lost.

  7. I guess I’m lucky, all of my foodstamps have dead presidents on them. Through the grace of God I’ve been employed steadily for the past 25 years. My pride wouldn’t allow me to accept this.

    1. “All my food stamps have dead presidents on them”, love it, good on you sureshot. I’ve never received any sort of welfare, there by the grace of God and hope I never have too. I see welfare as a hand up not a hand out. Welfare is now simply a weapon for socialism, when the people are needy they become beholding and a government that seeks more and more power need more and more needy for they are beholding, it’s a viscous cycle.

  8. I remember when receiving government assistance and foodstamps was something to be embarrassed about. Not anymore. I’m blessed with health and have always been employed. But, I worked hard! Government “welfare” was meant to be temporary help for people needing a little hand until they got on their feet. Now it’s become a generational lifestyle. Section 8 housing, foodstamps, WIC, cellphones (much nicer than mine), etc. Why work?

    1. The only way to beat growing welfare is to grow private business and thus employment. As Mr Reagan once said “government is not the solution to our problem, government IS the problem”. Sadly given the present course of government it will be a problem for many years to come.

      1. You are assuming that all of the people on welfare and snap would prefer to work at those jobs that would be created. I don’t think that is the case. There are many people that need these programs and some that abuse them but there is also a segment that enable with them. They could get by without these programs but having and using them gives them a better lifestyle than they can afford. They can afford a car payment because snap pays for their food. They live in a better neighborhood because section 8 gives them half their rent. These people have already made the choice to accept this money and will NOT make the decision to work more or harder to get this money a different way.

        1. I have always thought that if you are a legal citizen of the country you should be entitled to a set amount of welfare, should you have the need for it but no more. Perhaps an example. Each citizen as their right gets a year of welfare and no more. If you lose you job for some reason you might need say six months to find another job so the state supports you for the six months. This leaves you with six months of entitlements which if not claimed should be transferred to ones pension. Unlimited welfare removes the incentive to find real work and actually fuels further unemployment. Those in work generate further work for someone else. Unlimited welfare is a downward spiral.

  9. God Save This (formerly) Great Republic.

    By 2016 its estimated that SNAP EBT participants will exceed 48 million people. I almost wrote “Americans” but there are also forecasts that with amnesty actions eminent, more and more non-Americans are expected to be on the government teat.

    Generational welfare recipients are increasing and with out of wedlock births occurring with greater frequency and at younger ages, statistically we are at or nearing the tipping point.

    Waste, Fraud and Abuse and lobbyists representing the large food manufactures like Kraft, makes for a increased recipe for disaster.

    God Save This (Formerly) Great Republic.

    1. You are right R.L. things appear to be finely balanced upon a knife edge at the moment and it could go either way, I don’t hold much hope it will go the right way. I guess all that is really left is to pray that things will turn out ok.

  10. Am I the stupid one here for working my whole life to get a tax bill every April?

    This is a good article Ken, but I’m sorry it’s making me sick to see what is actually happening to OUR COUNTRY in the hands of those POS goody-two-shoes SOBs that keep stabbing OUR COUNTRY in the heart.

    When in the hell is enough – enough?

    1. So why do you keep paying,
      Last year was the LAST year, im done, dont care what they do

  11. Like many of us on this sight I am sure we have stood behind people buying steaks, etc with their EBT cards. After that transaction they then pay cash for their beer and cigarettes. I am military and sometimes I hear these politicians refer to our pay and benefits as an “entitlement” when it is earned, unlike many of those on EBT, welfare, oboma phones, etc. Makes me sick that wage earners are taxed to death and we keep subsidizing the bad behavior of others. I know there are those truly in need but in my own observations I see that it is usually lifestyle choices.

    1. First off Bill I will say thank you for your service to myself and family. I do however take some offence to your comment stating that being on food stamps is bad behavior on others. Some people need the help. I don’t know the full percentage of military that are on the snap program but 104 million in food stamps were used in commissaries last year and I am damn sure those families deserved the help.

  12. Is there a graphic someplace that shows the concentration of people on EBT within each state that is then broken down by county? I think it would be dangerous to live in counties with high EBT card issuance when those cards are no longer refilled. From what was said, most people on EBT are in urban or suburban areas, so finding a map similar to the population density map only for EBT density would be helpful.

    1. I did a bit of surfing and came up with two sites that have interactive maps of that data.

      One was from something called Slate dot com (“How Many People Around You Receive Food Stamps”) and another came from Swampland dot Time dot com (“Interactive: Republicans More Likely to Have Constituents Who Use Food Stamps”)

      I’d post the links, but my comment wouldn’t go through.

  13. Guaranteed way to cut SNAP, EBT, Welfare, unemployment abuse, so on and so on by 2/3s. The remaining 1/3 probably actually need help and I have NO problem with that.

    DRUG TEST, end of discussion.


  14. I can remember being a kid in florida in the 80`s and standing in food lines with my mom to get cheese, peanut butter, and other food items.

    what happened? now you have ebt which is not even tracked. i know a couple convenient stores who sell people gas, ciggs, beer, whatever on ebt.

    its wrong. these people should be getting food. not a card that can be used for anything with no proof of what was bought.

  15. I didn’t know whether to wince or cry when a six year old told me “My Mommy needs more money, so I’m going to have a little brother.” That six year old is now 18, with a baby of her own, and collecting welfare while she babysits her siblings and her mother plays. Just as her own mother did.

    There are truly many people out there who need the help. That’s what it’s there for. But unfortunately those who need it are painted with the same brush as those for whom it’s a lifestyle. Both exist, and it’s hard to tell the difference from the outside.

    Just because something is hidden or invisible doesn’t mean it’s imaginary. They try to tell us that everything is getting better, that the problems are going away. They’re beating poverty.

    Doesn’t make it true.

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