Change is essential because we have witnessed an unprecedented swelling of the ranks of people whose grocery bills are being paid by the federal government. True, most of the rise in the aid rolls is due to the economic downturn, but a significant portion is due to the fact that the Obama administration is eager to increase the number of people receiving assistance.

Nobody would deny assistance to people who truly need it; virtually anyone can fall on hard times, and private charity cannot help in every case. Still, it is downright perverse for a government to create conditions that deliberately foster dependency. Some might say this transfer of wealth from the haves to the have-nots “levels the playing field” of society, but whom does it really help? Certainly not the taxpayers, who have less money for their own needs or for creating jobs. And not the poor, whose drive to self-reliance and independence is sabotaged by government largess.

The Daily Caller recently reported that 23,116,411 American households receive an average benefit of $274.30 apiece per month in Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Another 47,727,052 individuals are on SNAP, with each receiving an average monthly benefit of $132.86.

But that’s only part of the story. These numbers do not include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), whose baseline budget is another $16 billion a year.

Altogether, the federal government disburses $6.3 billion every month — $76.1 billion a year — in welfare payments for just the SNAP program. Adding in TANF brings the totals to $7.6 billion per month and $92 billion per year.