The following charts might help to answer that question:
In 1970, the population of the U.S. was just over 200 million. Today it is approaching 320 million. When the food stamp program (SNAP) started in 1970, it covered about 1.5% of the population. Today it covers about 14.5% of the population—a ginormous increase by any standard. An increase of this magnitude could only be driven by a reduction in eligibility standards, because we are all richer today than ever before.
In 1951, government transfer payments amounted to only 5% of disposable income. Today, transfer payments total a staggering $2.6 trillion, and make up almost 20% of disposable income. The U.S. government is trying very hard—too hard—to address a supposed problem of "inequality" by massively redistributing income from the upper classes to the middle and lower classes. The problem is not that the poor have gotten poorer, it's that the poor haven't gotten richer to the same extent as the rich. Supposedly.
As Mark Perry notes in a post today, the average American has never had it so good—we enjoy an unbelievable level of prosperity. In inflation-adjusted dollars, for the price of a single color TV entertainment system in 1964, a family today "could furnish their entire kitchen with 5 brand-new appliances (refrigerator, gas stove and oven, washer, dryer, and freezer) and buy 7 state-of-the-art electronic items for their home (a Toshiba Satellite 14″ laptop computer, a Garmin 5 Inch GPS, a Canon EOS Rebel T5 DSLR Camera, a Sony 1,000 Watt, 5.1-Channel 3D Smart Blu-Ray Home Theater System, a Sharp 50 inch LED HDTV, an Apple iPod Touch 32GB MP3 Player, and an Apple iPhone 6)." That's why people who use food stamps can also sport smartphones.
The chart above corroborates Mark's findings. Real household net worth today is over $80 trillion, up over 400%—more than $66 trillion—from what it was in 1964. Living standards, as defined by how much you can buy with a given amount of work, have risen by an extraordinary amount over the years. Yet the government is handing out more money to more people than ever before.
The huge increase in income redistribution is almost entirely driven by a political agenda that refuses to recognize that the average person today is better off than kings were yesterday, and instead focuses on the "problem" that some of the rich have gotten more richer than everyone else has gotten richer.
If there is a real problem today, it is the redistribution of wealth. It has grown to such an extent that two-thirds of our children are being taught to believe that they can only enjoy a modern standard of living with the help of government handouts. A few generations ago, America was proud to teach its children that anyone could become rich if he or she were willing to study and work hard. Today's children are being taught to believe that they are entitled to be rich, no matter how little or how hard they work. That is a prescription for decline and servitude and ultimately, great social unrest.
The answer to the question is obvious: we suffer from too much aid, not too much poverty.