A study released in November said almost a third of American adults either went hungry or worried about someone close to them going hungry this year. The financial crisis is looming with 21,000-mile-long breadlines in the United States. Before the United States goes over the fiscal cliff or anything else, it is already in a depression with 45 million men, woman and children waiting for food handouts each month. Jim Willie tells us:
If all EBT recipients shopped at only Walmart Supercenters for ALL their SNAP benefits, then this is how the breadline would look each month—14,588 people. There are 3,051 Walmart Supercenters in USA and 44,510,598 participants in SNAP (2011), making the average SNAP line at each Walmart at 14,588 people. The modern era’s breadlines are not visible because the business is handled discreetly through EBT cards. The line at a single Walmart, if we include both adults and children receiving SNAP benefits, would be over 7 miles long!
Tyler Durden said, “And we thought last month’s delayed food stamp data was bad. The just reported food stamp number for September was a doozy, with 607,544 new Americans becoming eligible for food stamps, as a record 47.7 million Americans are now living in poverty, at least according to the USDA. The monthly increase was the highest since May 2011, and with August’s 421K new impoverished America, over 1 million Americans made the EBT card their new best friend. It is unclear just which atmospheric phenomenon will get the blame for this unprecedented surge in poverty, which comes at a time when the pre-election economic data euphoria was adamant that the US economy was on an escape velocity to utopia. Instead what we do know is that in August and September, over three times as many food stamp recipients were add[ed] to the economy as jobs (324,000). We also know that with the imminent impact of Sandy, which will send food stamp recipients soaring, it is now looking quite possible that the U.S. may end 2012 with just over a mindboggling 50 million Americans living in absolute poverty and collecting the $134.29 average monthly benefit per person, instead of working. Welcome to the recovery indeed.”
Hungry Destined to Get Hungrier
The worst U.S. drought in more than a half-century has weakened the safety net for the 50 million Americans who struggle to get enough to eat, and the nation’s food banks are raising the alarm as the holiday season gets into full swing. This summer’s crop-damaging weather in the U.S. farm belt has driven up costs for everything from grain to beef. That means higher prices at the grocery store, but it also means the U.S. government has less need to buy key staples like meat, peanut butter, rice and canned fruits and vegetables to support agricultural prices and remove surpluses.
Executives at major food banks across the United States worry they will not be able to keep pace with demand, which they don’t expect to ease until more Americans find better paying jobs. In a sign of how stressed the budgets of many Americans are, a record 47.1 million people used food stamps in August 2012, up from 45.8 million the year earlier.
When reading Wall Street Journal stories such as “CBO: Unemployment Extension Would Add 300,000 Jobs,” it’s easy to come away with the impression that the economic world we live in is radically different than it was just a few years ago. And, now almost three-and-a-half years after the Great Recession officially ended in 2009, when perusing Wall Street Journal reports such as “Fed Stimulus Likely in 2013,” it’s not hard to conclude that we are living in a modern day depression.
The average American actually believes Ben Bernanke saved us from a Great Depression when in actuality he saved the owners of the Federal Reserve from accepting the losses they generated through the greatest financial fraud in history. – The Burning Platform
Iacono Research writes, “The most disturbing comparison between the 1930s and today is the lengths to which the Federal Reserve has gone to aid the ailing economy, already printing about $2 trillion in new money to buy housing and government debt and is now likely to up their money printing efforts to about a trillion dollars a year, until such time that the economy improves. Never before has the central bank printed so much money with so little impact and this is another important distinction between 80 years ago and today—nobody knows where the Fed’s past and future actions will lead.”
I live in the US. I’m disabled and can’t work due to a chemical injury. Guess what, they took away my SNAP benefits and most elderly aren’t getting them anymore either. I live on around $65 for food each month, if I’m lucky after bills with internet my only luxury. It is getting much worse than people can imagine. The jobless rate is far more than reported and even trying to get a seasonal part time job with no benefits is impossible if disabled. (I have more bills than money coming in now due to losing my SNAP benefits which scares me more each day.) Even with SNAP because of my special diet needs, I couldn’t get much. ($174 a month for food doesn’t go far when food prices are constantly rising.) The average single person has to eat very cheap foods or ration better ones over a month’s time. You learn to waste little to nothing. Bright side is that you become thinner if you eat less, but if you eat cheap, you become obese very quickly due to the poor food quality.
– Damian Bloodstone
Devastating Drought Continues
The worst U.S. drought in decades has deepened again after more than a month of encouraging reports of slowly improving conditions, a drought-tracking consortium said in November, as scientists struggled for an explanation other than a simple lack of rain.
While more than half of the continental U.S. has been in a drought since summer, rainstorms had appeared to be easing the situation week by week since late September. But that promising run ended with the end of November’s weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report, which showed increases in the portion of the country in drought and the severity of it.
The report showed that 60.1% of the lower 48 states were in some form of drought as of Tuesday, up from 58.8% the previous week. The amount of land in extreme or exceptional drought—the two worst classifications—increased from 18.3% to 19.04%.
Drought continued to expand through the central United States in early December even as winter weather sets in, wreaking havoc on the nation’s new wheat crop and on movement of key commodities as major shipping waterways grow shallow.
It is a week later and the news: Drought continued to expand through many key farming states within the central United States in the past week, as scattered rainfall failed to replenish parched soils, according to a report issued Thursday by state and federal climatology experts.
“It is highly unlikely the Mayan predictions of the end of the world referred to the bankers’ world of credit and debt. Nonetheless, with only a few weeks remaining until December 21, 2012—the end date of the Mayan 5,125 year Mesoamerican calendar—the concomitant end of the bankers’ 300-year ponzi scheme of credit and debt should not be dismissed as mere coincidence. The world has entered a paradigm shift of immense proportions; and the collapse of the bankers’ economic world is a part of that shift. The bankers’ credit fueled a 300-year global expansion which transformed the world. The bankers’ credit, however, has now become debt which increasingly cannot be repaid,” wrote Darryl Robert Schoon on November 20.
From the mainstream news we find out that two leading U.S. economists expressed deep pessimism that politicians in Washington will be able to strike a deal to rein in America’s soaring national debt. Sheila Bair, the former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and Stephen Roach, a veteran economist at Yale University’s School of Management, also said the Federal Reserve was creating another catastrophic financial bubble with attempts to stimulate the economy through its policy known as quantitative easing.
Magic Hat Trick
Quantitative easing is a nice way of expressing black magic, the art of making something from nothing or taking one’s hand out of a hat with billions of new electronic dollars for the day’s governmental operations. Without this funny money (buying bonds with this kind of counterfeit money), the government would shut down within days as bills and payroll go unpaid.
We would go from present depression levels into an abyss that no one alive has experienced before. The democrats are having none of this and will resist cutting any social programs even if they have to be paid by the hand in the magician’s black hat (the Fed if you have not guessed).
“With the Eurozone having being displaced from the financial headlines by the American presidential election, you might have briefly thought that its problems had gone away. They haven’t. It’s just that the public is expected to absorb one major story at a time. And now that the presidential election is done and dusted, Europe is rapidly returning to the headlines. This is not desired by the powers-that-be, who desperately need us to believe things will get better with a little patience,” wrote Alasdair Macleod on November 20.
“Despite the recent deal worked out with Greece, the old cliché about kicking the can down the road is close to becoming no longer possible. Deferring the inevitable is only a political option so long as there is no immediate damage from doing so. But this is no longer true in the Eurozone, where political procrastination is now identifiably responsible for social unrest. It’s not just the trade unionists in revolt; now it is the middle classes as well. Doctors and teachers in Greece do not get paid anymore, and it is going that way in Spain, with regional governments surviving by simply not paying their bills. Government is destroying society, proving the falsity of the heretofore accepted belief (in Europe, anyway) that government makes society better,” concluded Macleod.
Let’s Spend Money We Don’t Have
The U.S. Defense Department said it will sign a contract with Lockheed Martin Corp on Friday for a fifth group of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets, a long-awaited deal that moves forward the most costly weapons program in U.S. history. The government now projects that the total cost to develop, buy and operate the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be $1.45 trillion over the next 50-plus years, according to a Pentagon document obtained by Reuters. The new baseline forecasts the average cost of the F-35 fighter, including research and development (R&D) and inflation, at $135 million per plane, plus an additional $26 million for the F135 engine built by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp. The Pentagon still plans to buy 2,443 of the new radar-evading, supersonic warplanes, plus 14 development aircraft, in the coming decades.
As the economy caves in and Americans are taxed increasingly fewer will be paying for all of these expensive weapons. Imagine having to pay for the daily costs of all the aircraft carrier groups when there is really no real money or wealth. Everyone who does have wealth is being threatened with its loss.
John Rubino says, “The honest approach to a situation where there’s not enough wealth would be to explain that everything from the military empire to the welfare state will henceforth have to live smaller. But that’s both hard to say and hard to hear, which makes the lie relatively painless for both sides. Just keep telling citizens that they’ll get everything they expect, while actually giving them a little less each year. Government gets the inflation-generated resources it wants, and the recipients of government spending get to pretend for a while longer that they’re taken care of. The problem is pushed into the future for tomorrow’s leaders and the children of today’s recipients to deal with.”