Skip to comments.The Great Recessionís Soup Lines
Posted on 01/25/2014 8:25:27 AM PST by Kaslin
You know your kids are growing up when they ask a question like the one my daughter asked a few days ago, Hey, dad, do you think well experience a depression in your lifetime or mine? As much as Id like to shelter her from lifes unpleasant realities, that question deserves an honest answer.
How would you answer? Before responding, I thought of the 1930s, the Great Depression, and black-and-white photos of soup lines.
Well, we recently experienced a worldwide Great Recession, I explained. Thinking about our family expenses, I added, It feels like were still in that recession.
During the 1930s, I continued, the effects of the Great Depression, were easily recognizable. But, we dont see food lines today because the federal government sends food assistance directly to homes in the form of food stamps. But tens of millions of people are struggling.
A few days later a friend sent me a report by Byron Wien of Blackstone titled The Ten Surprises of 2014 that includes a chart titled Food Stamps The Great Recessions Soup Lines, which illustrates the staggering growth of the program since 2005. The number of participants has nearly doubled since then to over 47 million people. I showed the report to my daughter. If she couldnt see food lines in our town, she could see them in this chart.
Wiens report didnt surprise me because I had just finished analyzing our 2013 family expenses and preparing our 2014 budget. Even though were frugal, food was our #1 expense in 2013. At a staggering $1,200 per month for a family of six, our spending was consistent with a low cost plan according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Our next largest expenditures in descending order were: household supplies (mostly purchased at Wal-Mart), education, charitable donations, mortgage payments, taxes, health insurance, out-of-pocket health expenses, clothing, gasoline and utilities. Wheres savings on that list? We havent been able to save for years. Our checking account is a conduit to the grocery store, Wal-Mart, the gas station, and other businesses Im thankful for.
Im giving you a look at my personal budget because, even though Im better off than a lot of people, my story may provide some insight into whats happening in America: Its getting increasingly difficult to maintain a simple family lifestyle. Whats the answer to this malaise?
A good starting point is to understand financial reality on two levelsfamily budgets and the U.S. economy.
Families have to tighten their belts to stay afloat. For example, last year, our family spent an average of $6.53 per person per day on food. Our 2014 target is $5.55. Weve also put our four teenagers on a budget. Rather than pay for their clothes and extras like an occasional movie or McDonalds, were giving them a monthly allowance and incentives to earn more through a list of chores. Theyll decide how to spend their moneyclothes, fun, whatever, its up to them. This will help mom and dad stay on budget in 2014 while teaching our kids to manage money.
Now, consider the state of the U.S. economy. Some important facts: one in seven Americans is receiving food stamps; the unemployment rate that includes long-term discouraged workers has climbed steadily to over 20 percent, even though the official rate has fallen to seven percent; Obamacare continues to cause businesses to hold off on hiring and expanding; trillion-dollar deficits are the new normal; inflation calculated the way it was in 1980 is more than nine percent (not the two percent currently being reported); and the Federal Reserve is doubling down on the monetary blunders that led to the 2008 crash and the Great Recession.
That is the truth about America today. We have to come to grips with the reality that, as our 40th president was fond of saying, Government is not the solution to the problem, government is the problem. Id like to add that We the people are in charge of our government.
So, lets return to my daughters question. Will we experience a depression in my lifetime or hers?
Absolutely, I told her, if our federal government doesnt change its ways. But, theres hope. Theres always hope. One way to turn America in the right direction is to tell our kids the truth about what they face. After all, my daughter will be voting in two years.
Right now we’re paying entitlements based on 40% fake money. Most in the lower echelon of society are eating well on that EBT or trading it for other things of value.
When the markets start to choke on the fake money, we definitely will have “hard times”.
Tax is sixth? It is by far and away my highest. Nothing else even comes close.
Likewise here — just my Federal income tax is about equal to my mortgage payments and food budget combined, and that’s cheating and counting the tax escrow as part of the mortgage payment instead of tax, and the sales tax on food as part of the cost of food instead of tax.
I don’t think so. I think that food stamps are just a way for the Democrats to give their voters a few hundred extra bucks from the taxpayers every month. Four hundred extra bucks a month from Uncle Sugar is a good deal. I went to the grocery store yesterday, and the woman in front of me at the checkout used cash for some items and an EBT card for other items. In the parking lot, she got into a car that was the same year and make as mine. I am not an economist, but there has to be an economic term for providing government money to someone to free up the money they get from their jobs to buy luxury items. Bribery encompasses too many things. How about we just combine the acronym for Electronic Benefits Transfer, EBT, with the letter that stands for the Democrat party, “D”. That gives us DEBT, Democrat Electronic Benefits Transfer. And, boy, do we get DEBT from these dipsticks.
A Win in the War on Poverty.
“Maybe I’m just grumpy, but I think we are absolutely in a Depression right now.”
You’re absolutely right; think of food stamps as the modern soup line, and imaine if everyone receiving them had to stand in line outside of Wal-Mart to use them. We’d have a lot more of those pictures...
“I went to the grocery store yesterday, and the woman in front of me at the checkout used cash for some items and an EBT card for other items. In the parking lot, she got into a car that was the same year and make as mine. I am not an economist, but there has to be an economic term for providing government money to someone to free up the money they get from their jobs to buy luxury items. Bribery encompasses too many things.”
They are bribes for votes, but at the same time they are shielding an increasing number of Americans from the hard truth about how dire our predicament is. If they didn’t have the gubmint subsidies, Americans would execute their political overlords as the French and Russians did; both of those revolutions had their start in hunger.
Very good! That's at the "Will Rogers" or even at the "Mark Twain" level.
Ahhhh....you flatter me......keep going. (Thank-you)
I agree. TAX is the highest and then health insurance.
Federal, State, Local, regional, property...
Shaking my head at even their daily per person budget for food. They eat pretty darn good at those prices if you ask me.
This zero tariff high income tax paradigm is a good thing according the Free Republic Free Trader Army that despise tariffs and love income taxes.
In 2010 FedGov collected $26B in import tariffs. An significant amount 1.2% of the Federal budget.
I understand that you love higher tariffs, and expect everyone to pay them, over and over again, at every stage of the economic system. I wouldn’t call you an “Army,” though. Thank God.
I read a story on NRO how in rural Kentucky, everyone gets their EBT deposit, runs down to the local store, and purchases cases upon cases of soda pop, and then runs up the street and sells the pop to another store for 50 cents cash on the dollar.
Wasn’t Al Capone behind the original bread lines back in the Depression?
No my ChiCom admiring FRiend, that would be VAT and I am against that.
Please don’t continue to confuse chicoms with the new breed that are ChiCaps
Believing we are NOT in a depression in the current situation is like believing it is NOT winter because you have heat in your house.
There is an old story I used to hear long ago in the South. You must understand that this goes back to when it was common for families to butcher their own meat and they only wanted to do this on a clear, cold day so that they had natural refrigeration while cutting up meat outside. It went like this.
When the first cars were being fitted with factory air conditioning a well to do fellow was driving alone in his new Cadillac in mid-July with the air going full blast. Spotting a farmer walking he stopped and offered him a ride. The farmer was very grateful and asked to be taken to the next town five miles away. After going two miles the farmer suddently asked the driver to stop and let him out. The driver was confused and asked what was the matter. The farmer replied, “Since it has turned so cold all of a sudden I think I will go back home and kill a hog.”
Those who think we are doing OK now are as confused as that farmer.
That sounds like a lot of work. I do know that in this area it is quite common for people to offer to loan their EBT card to someone to go grocery shopping and then they collect half the grocery bill in cash along with the card when it is returned. Of course this is only done with friends or family members who can be trusted, right? Actually I have heard stories of some going door to door and offering their “shopping service” to anyone who answers. Someone I had known from a job years ago once called and asked to borrow a little money because he had become unemployed and assured me that he would have his food stamp benefits restored and he could repay me from that or he would obtain groceries for me at half price to repay me. He said he knew others who would do the same so that if I worked it right my wife and I could wind up eating free and making money besides. I thought it was worth more to me to stay out of that sort of community so I turned down the offer.
Don’t let your father get punched over a can of soup!
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