What Is It About the Hungry and Poor House Republicans Just Can't Stand?

People are broke and hungry in America and the food stamp program has been the only thing between many and starvation.  Food stamps are successful, it has an incredibly low fraud rate and most importantly, America doesn't have starvation filling the streets as a result.  Yet for some reason House Republicans, with Majority leader Eric Cantor leading the charge, want to cut food stamps and force people to starve.

Outrageous Economic Shorts - The Great American Middle Class Wipe Out

Welcome to this week in economic outrage.  Every day there are thousands of economic horror stories where one just shakes their head in disbelief at the incessant injustice.  To combat the information overload, we give you a financial follies reader's digest and how those in power could care less about any of it.

Over 15% of America was on Food Stamps in April 2013

Food stamp usage has leveled off in growth yet is still alarmingly high.   As of April 2013, 47,548,694 people were on food stamps.  That is 1 out of every 6.64 persons in the United States.  This means that 15.05% of all people living in America are on food assistance.   The United States population in middle of April 2013 was 315,928,000 and this figure includes everyone, including Americans overseas.  Food stamp usage has increased 2.8% from April 2012.

The Last Word on Social Security Disability

Lies, damn lies, and statistics --- the mainstream media and most bloggers refuse to (or are unable to) to get the numbers correct on Social Security disability. It's no wonder they are all saying different things, and why many of us (including myself) were so confused about the accuracy of SSDI statistics. There also appears to be a lot of ideological spin in everyone's reporting --- so I'd like to help clarify a few things.

Friday Movie Night - Frontline: Two American Families

We fill our lives with media.  Day in and day out the screens and voices spin a tall fictional tale of Americans with good jobs, houses, cars, educational opportunities and money.  Frontline brings home the real America, the one we don't want to face.  Gone is the American Dream, replaced with foreclosures, food stamps and work that doesn't pay enough to even make the most modest rent.  The new America is a wasteland of broken dreams, broken promises and broken people working themselves into the ground and still not even getting by.

Friday Movie Night - Bowling for Columbine

grieving angelWith the latest mass shooting tragedy dominating the news, we thought it might be time to re-watch Michael Moore's award winning documentary, Bowling for Columbine.

There have been 63 mass shootings in the United States since 1982 and it seems in 2012 there is an epidemic of horror and violence. We know extreme poverty increases violence as does general economic stress. The loss of a job, a threat to career can tip the scales towards tragedy. Workplace abuses have increased as jobs became scarce.

Some will blame guns, some will think the answer is even more guns to shoot the other people with guns.

Could it be the real problem is our me first, f*@k you society? Think about it. If one is mentally ill, they will probably be fighting just to survive, never mind be in any sort of environment where that person would be accepted, with all of their limitations. We have more people in prison than any other industrialized nation. We have homeless kids and homeless people, an entire invisible world of American poverty out there, served platitudes with nothing to stop the downward spiral and slide.

The Permanent Dependency Class

The recent US presidential election found the Republican Party on the losing end of a political and economic argument. It was Mitt Romney’s contention, both privately and implicitly when he selected Ayn Rand enthusiast Paul Ryan as his running mate, that 47% of the electorate was dependent on government handouts and therefore had no intention of voting for any Republican who threatened to reduce government entitlement spending. Mitt Romney after the election “doubled down” on this statement, insisting that Obama voters were bought off by government largesse.

Romney was defeated handily in the public vote – he achieved, ironically, slightly less than 47.5% of the popular vote – and he was thrashed in the Electoral College vote, which is what really matters. These results are being interpreted by the press and the pundits as a repudiation of Republican policies, and a rebuke to Mitt Romney for his perceived insult to Obama voters that they are lazy and, like parasites, live off the hard work of others.

The problem with this view is that Romney was half-right: there is a dependency class in America, and they do tend to vote Democratic. He was wrong on his interpretation of the motives and work ethic of this dependency class. One man’s handout, after all, can be another man’s means of survival. He was also wrong on his campaign promise to fix this situation by creating millions of jobs so that the moochers and parasites will have no excuse but to find work when the entitlement payouts end. Obama was wrong on this as well; no politician can pretend that they have some magic tool to create millions of jobs and return entitlement payouts to more sustainable levels. Not only is this not possible, but as I will contend here, such thinking makes the problem worse. The dependency class in America is growing, and it is here to stay for many decades into the future. It is a consequence of decades of government and business policies that let such an infra-class arise, and it is a consequence of very long term economic and social forces that operate on a global basis and are beyond the control of any one country. The United States is turning into a third world country, complete with vast pockets of poverty and idleness, and a small elite that dominates wealth and income. A dependency class is a prime feature of third world countries, and the political party which most successfully caters to this dependency class is more than likely to enjoy decades of political power.

Twinkies, Pensions, Real Wages and Poverty

wonder breadThe loss of the Hostess Twinkie is a symbol of a new era for the American worker. Chemical cupcakes usher in the race to the economic bottom, where the new business operandi is the stripping of worker wages and benefits. Gone are middle class incomes and lifestyles for most. Here are temporary jobs, no benefits and assuredly no retirement. America has been sliced, and diced, just like Wonder Bread.

Food Stamp Usage Reaches Record High with 15% of America on Food Stamps

Food stamp usage has soared to a new record high of 47,102,780. As of August 2012, 1 in 6.7 people are on food stamps in the United States. That's 15.0% of people living in America are on food assistance. The United States population in middle of August 2012 was 314,484,000 and this figure includes everyone, including Americans overseas. Food stamp usage increased 2.9% from August 2011 and 0.9% from July 2012.

food stamp usage graph

Since October 2007, food stamp usage has increased 74.4%. Population has increased 3.9% during the same time period. That is how badly America is hurting.