Human Events Blog

Food stamps grow at three times the rate of job creation

A grim milestone on the path of America’s “transformation” into a European social democracy basket case was passed in September, as ZeroHedge reports:

The just reported foodstamp number for September was a doozy, with 607,544 new Americans becoming eligible for foodstamps, 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 Americans, 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 foodstamp recipients were add to the economy as jobs (324,000).

We also know that with the imminent impact of Sandy, which will send foodstamp recipients soaring, it is now looking quite possible that the US 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.

(Emphasis added.)  There is no school of economics that thinks a declining – one might even say “collapsing” – wage and tax base is a good omen.  And much of this astonishing movement from the workforce into long-term dependency is effectively irreversible.  It has often been observed that few people who sign up for long-term disability ever come back into the workforce.  And even if they want to, such a long sojourn among the ranks of the “unemployables” makes it difficult to write the kind of resumes that win jobs in a tight economy.

“Aggregating foodstamp, disability and nonfarm payrolls data shows that since the start of the Depression in December 2007, 21.8 million Americans have shifted more or less permanently to the entitlement line, even as the US still has to generate 4.4 million jobs just to break even,” warns ZeroHedge.  (They have a practice of referring to the downturn that began in 2007 as a depression, and they don’t think it’s ever given way to any real “recovery.”)

And as Food Stamp Nation grows, the overhead cost of administering the program soars – it was up to almost $4 billion when the 2011 figures were released.  This, of course, becomes a weapon in the hands of those who demand tax increases, rather than enduring evidence of their failure and irresponsibility.  Their ultimate indictment will be delivered soon, because there is no way a nation producing food stamps three times as rapidly as it creates jobs can pretend to be financially healthy for much longer.

 

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