Friday 20 September 2013

Poverty, Homelessness, Food Stamps and the Middle Class

Susan Brannon
20 Sept 2013

America used to be a place where there once was a cushion in times of crisis and now that system has been frayed.  We have a one strike and your out economy.  We can jump from middle class to become extremely venerable with the middle class being the most venerable.  The House just approved the overhaul of our nations food stamp program by cutting $39 billion in funding over the next decade at a time when we need it the most.  Including 3.8 million by 2014 affecting around 4 million Americans.  At this time 14 percent of American households are on food stamps a total 16.4 million households (47 million people) almost half the recipients are non hispanic whites. (48%)

Cantor said that the cuts were necessary because many people abuse the system, "Frankly, it's wrong for hardworking, middle-class Americans to pay for that."

The problem is that we are living in an failing economy where in reality the rich are getting richer and the middle class and poor are getting poorer.  Think of it this way, there is only so much money in the world and so far that it can spread.  If you have ten dollars to share between three people and one person has 4 while the other two have three.  The one with four rents his home to one for 1 dollar and the other for 2 dollars.  That leaves a total of two dollars for one and one dollar for the other.  Now the person that had four now has seven.

The truth of the matter is that the middle class is shrinking and here are some facts to wake you up:

#1 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle class is taking home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before.
#2 As the middle class shrinks, more Americans than ever have been forced to become dependent on the federal government.  Federal spending on welfare programs has reached nearly a trillion dollars a year, and that does not even count Social Security or Medicare.  Welfare spending is now 16 times larger than when the “war on poverty” began.
#3 Median household income in the U.S. has fallen for four consecutive years.  Overall, it has declined by over $4000 during that time span.
#4 The U.S. economy continues to trade good paying jobs for low paying jobs.  60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.
#5 The number of Americans living in poverty has increased by more than 15 million since the turn of the century.
#6 The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from 17 million in the year 2000 to more than 47 million today.
#7 According to the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of all American households were “middle class” back in 1971.  Today, that figure has fallen to 51 percent.
#8 In 1989, the debt to income ratio of the average American family was about 58 percent.  Today it is up to 154 percent.
#9 Total U.S. household debt grew from just 1.4 trillion dollars in 1980 to a whopping 13.7 trillion dollars in 2007.  This played a huge role in the financial crisis of 2008, and the problem has still not been solved.
#10 While debt loads for middle class families are going up, the net worth of those same families is going down.  According to the Federal Reserve, the median net worth of families in the United States declined “from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010″.
If the middle class is disappearing  then how will it be in the next decade while the funding for the cushions that we all may need disappear too?  
Today there are 48.5 million Americans living in poverty (U.S. Census) it is the largest number of those living in poverty in 53 years this includes 16.1 million children.
Fifty percent of food banks were unable to keep up with the demands for the need of food and had to turn people away.
In light of these facts, I don't think it is a good idea to slash food stamps and make jokes about those who are trying to stay above water.  

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