Skip to comments.A Food-Stamp Recovery Is the New Normal
Posted on 04/04/2013 10:15:32 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Almost four years ago, in June 2009, the US entered into a technical recovery from the Great Recession touched off by the collapse of a decade-long housing bubble. The bubble collapse nearly wiped out the financial sector, thanks to extensive investment in mortgage-backed securities that ended up being nearly worthless as foreclosures swept across the nation like a wildfire.
American investors lost trillions in net worth as the stock markets plunged, and the federal government shoveled out trillions more in bailouts, safety-net subsidies, and stimulus programs that promised a soft landing and then a steady recovery based on a more-sound economic foundation.
The Obama administration has insisted that the recovery has been both steady and sound, almost ever since it began. Every months jobs reports is accompanied by cheering that the numbers remain positive, even though the rate of increase hasnt kept up with population growth, and despite the fact that the civilian workforce participation rate remains at three-decade-long lows. Consumer spending increases are heralded as corroboration of confidence in the recovery. Even the brief instance of contraction in the initial estimate of the 2012 fourth-quarter US economy, later adjusted to 0.4 percent annualized growth, was explained as an artifact of government spending cuts, a mere hiccup along the path of solid economic expansion.
This week, the administrations supporters celebrated another indicator of recovery and expansion. This week the Dow Jones Industrial Averagehit a six-year high, going above the 14,500 mark and doubling the DJIA value at the nadir of the Great Recession. The Standard & Poors Index also hit a record high mark last week, and then closed above that earlier this week. That has some feeling as though we have closed out the books on the Great Recession, even to the point to where US News opined yesterday that another Korean War wouldnt necessarily push the US back into a recession.
Actually, I agree. Wed have to get out of the first one to go into another. And while the stock markets look as though the American economy has rebuilt itself to its pre-collapse strength, the measures on the ground paint a very different story.
First, the stock market rally offers more smoke than fire, for reasons related to both the stimulus and the Fed. As former OMB Director David Stockman pointed out in Sundays New York Times, the soaring highs of the S&P 500 and DJIA show more of a bubble than actual growth. Three turns on the qualitative-easing roller coaster has devalued the dollar, with the third apparently an infinite policy, and that makes the two indices meaningless in this comparison.
Since the S.&P. 500 first reached its current level, in March 2000, the mad money printers at the Federal Reserve have expanded their balance sheet sixfold (to $3.2 trillion from $500 billion), Stockman explained. Yet during that stretch, economic output has grown by an average of 1.7 percent a year (the slowest since the Civil War); real business investment has crawled forward at only 0.8 percent per year; and the payroll job count has crept up at a negligible 0.1 percent annually. That flood of liquidity has only pooled in one specific area of the American economy, Stockman argues Wall Street. That makes both the S&P 500 and DJIA much less indicative of the health of the overall economy, and points to yet another unsustainable bubble.
That isnt the only disconnect that Stockman sees. A recovering economy should expand the workforce and reduce reliance on safety-net programs. Instead, we continue to see the opposite. Besides the aforementioned stagnation at the 32-year low in civilian workforce participation, an enormous expansion of aid has now doubled food-stamp and disability rolls in twelve years to 59 million people, nearly one in every five Americans, Stockman points out. Food stamp rolls alone have increased 70 percent since the end of 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported separately last week. It now stands at a record high of 47.8 million Americans.
The WSJ blames easing of access rules for part of that expansion, but that doesnt entirely explain the increase. Neither does fraud, although thats growing faster than the food-stamp rolls themselves. The main driver for expansion of food stamp recipients is the reason for the programs existence in the first place poverty.
Over 50 million people now live in poverty, according to a recent release by the US Census Bureau. At the end of 2010, after the passage of the $800 billion stimulus bill and eighteen months of technical recovery, that number was 46 million according to Census Bureau statistics. At the end of 2008, at the depth of the Great Recession and as President Obama first took office, that number was below 40 million.
We have added 10 million people into poverty since Obama took office, most of whom fell into poverty after the stimulus and the technical recovery began. In comparison, we have only added 123,000 jobs over the same period, according to the BLS Current Population Survey, which showed a seasonally-adjusted employment level in December 2008 of 143.369 million, compared to 143.392 million in February. (The BLS Current Employment Survey data looks almost as bad, with a gain of just 621,000 jobs in the same period.) The civilian participation rate in the workforce has dropped from 65.8 percent to 63.5 percent during that time, equaling August 2012 for the worst since September 1981.
The Obama administration agrees. "While the perception may be different, Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon told the WSJ, the actual raw numbers, almost 50 million people [under the federal poverty level], is certainly one of the principal reasons why we see the enrollment increases in the SNAP program. Perception is the key term in that response. This administration has been selling the perception of a recovery by dumbing down expectations for jobs growth, by using gimmicky stimulus spending to temporarily improve stagnation numbers, and by leaving the Fed with no other choice than to fuel a currency bubble that makes Wall Street look stronger than it is at the expense of the actual economy. The real fundamentals of the last five years dont show a recovery at all, but a slow slide into poverty and decline. Until we get serious about fiscally responsible regulatory, monetary, and spending policies, we wont ever break out of this cycle.
This is the Second Great Depression. But it's camouflaged and called a Recovery. So it's OK.
There aren’t any soup kitchens or lines here. All the leeches get SNAP on their EBT cards and WICs certificates, in addition to TANF, Section 8 housing vouchers, EITC, ObamaPhones and a lot more under the 80 odd government welfare programs....
They only have to stand in line at Walmart and pull out that Double-Peach EBT card here. You have to avoid Walmart on the first of the month when these leeches get their cards recharged. Disgusting human beings. The only good thing is that you won’t see them before noon....getting up before then makes them grumpy.
Here’s a quote from another thread: “The number of people voting for an living now exceeds the number of people working for a living.”
File on the documentation of the impact of the Obamanation Counterculture on America.
There arent any soup kitchens or lines here. All the leeches get SNAP on their EBT cards and WICs certificates, in addition to TANF, Section 8 housing vouchers, EITC, ObamaPhones and a lot more under the 80 odd government welfare programs....
They only have to stand in line at Walmart and pull out that Double-Peach EBT card here. You have to avoid Walmart on the first of the month when these leeches get their cards recharged. Disgusting human beings. The only good thing is that you wont see them before noon....getting up before then makes them grumpy.
I feel like a sucker more and more eeryday, at some point I feel like just giving up and becomming a leech just to help accelerate the collapse, but then using the free crap to prep for when it does collapse, maybe become an “undocumented worker citizen” cash only, but leeching so much that my expenses go to practically zero... heck I would probably live better than I am now....
Would that be “Going Over-Galt”???
I am too much of a “chump” to do that as I have too much “Dudley Do Right” in me, so am I just an sucker for empowering those leeches....
The government needs to start staggering the days they reload the EBT cards and give the working man (taxpayer) a break at Wal Mart.
That's a good idea. I heard the cashiers at BJ's talking about how they had been slammed by a crowd the previous day - food stamp day, they were saying.
Actually wouldn't it be better if they kept it this way and you just shopped on another day and avoided them completely?
Right. I’m retired myself.
Just structure your shopping trips to avoid those days.
Actually, the cards are refilled on the second of the month. Avoid the first few days, and go early in the morning before the LIVs wake up.
David Stockman is getting some press because he just released a book Tuesday called The Great Deformation. I bought the Kindle-for-PC version and have finished the first part. It’s a very scary movie. Wall Street has gone back to living in a pre-September 15, 2008 world. It can’t not come crashing down.
Thanks for the heads-up! BTW, what is a LIV?
Low Information Voter