Tuesday, 1 April 2008
We knew things were bad on Wall Street, but on Main Street it may be worse. Startling official statistics show that as a new economic recession stalks the United States, a record number of Americans will shortly be depending on food stamps just to feed themselves and their families.
Dismal projections by the Congressional Budget Office in Washington suggest that in the fiscal year starting in October, 28 million people in the US will be using government food stamps to buy essential groceries, the highest level since the food assistance programme was introduced in the 1960s.
The increase – from 26.5 million in 2007 – is due partly to recent efforts to increase public awareness of the programme and also a switch from paper coupons to electronic debit cards. But above all it is the pressures being exerted on ordinary Americans by an economy that is suddenly beset by troubles. Housing foreclosures, accelerating jobs losses and fast-rising prices all add to the squeeze.
Emblematic of the downturn until now has been the parades of houses seized in foreclosure all across the country, and myriad families separated from their homes. But now the crisis is starting to hit the country in its gut. Getting food on the table is a challenge many Americans are finding harder to meet. As a barometer of the country's economic health, food stamp usage may not be perfect, but can certainly tell a story.
Michigan has been in its own mini-recession for years as its collapsing industrial base, particularly in the car industry, has cast more and more out of work. Now, one in eight residents of the state is on food stamps, double the level in 2000. "We have seen a dramatic increase in recent years, but we have also seen it climbing more in recent months," Maureen Sorbet, a spokeswoman for Michigan's programme, said. "It's been increasing steadily. Without the programme, some families and kids would be going without."
@ The Independent
So many years ago gas was 25 cents a gallon, living was easy, there was no such thing as NAFTA or AQ. Everyone that wanted to work could. Medical benefits were a given, employers took care of their workers for the most part. Food was cheap and fairly anti-biotic and pesticide free, stockyards were for holding beef for market not raising them until slaughter.
Now we have $4 per gallon gas on the horizon, jobs(good ones) are all but impossible to find and medical care is a perk. The results of all the cutbacks is what you read here, starvation is at our doorstep and financial crisis is comming. Through the past years everything valued has disappeared or just plain made out of reach for most of the populous. All the while the upper 10% of the upper crusties keep getting richer.
This chasm of separation between elements of society will come to roost with the BIG MONEY bunch and sooner rather than later causing them to fall from their ivory towers onto the plain of the 'little people' where they will be promptly devoured by the very people they tried so diligently to rise above through good stock picks and financial wizardry.
Every element in the Universe has another it needs to balance against to maintain equilibrium, without balance it will not survive.
And so shall we go.