According to data released earlier this month by the Agriculture Department, the tide of SNAP enrollment is finally going out.
That data is more dramatic when you look at the month-over-month change. Month after month, percentages have dropped recently -- a big change from 2011.
Or, we can look at the long-term trend. Here's the number of enrollees since 1969 (ignoring the fact that the population has increased substantially since then). The average monthly enrollment in 2014 is the first tick downward.
That big spike at right, by the way, began either in 2009 or in 2001, depending on how you want to look at it. In our 2012 assessment, we noted that state governments had started to relax eligibility requirements starting at the end of the Clinton administration. That's part of the spike, too.
Something else has declined in recent months: the amount of interest in the expression "food stamp president." Google Trends shows that searches for the term have evaporated.
Maybe it's because the term isn't in vogue anymore. Or perhaps it's in part because the food stamp crisis is showing the first signs of waning.