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46M Americans on Food Stamps
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46M Americans on Food Stamps

  #1 (permalink)
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46M Americans on Food Stamps

Sources: Record-High 45.8 Millions Americans Using Food Stamps - The Consumerist
Sources: Surge in Demand for Food Stamps Across the United States - ABC News
Sources: SNAP Current Participation - Persons


Quoting 
According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's latest report on its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka food stamps), a record 45.8 million Americans received SNAP benefits during the month of May, up 12% from the same month in 2010 and 34% from two years ago.

The largest increase came from Alabama, where 1.76 million residents used the benefits during May after storms devastated good chunks of the state. That's more than double the number of Alabamans who participated in April.

While the Alabama number is likely what pushed the total number across the record-breaking line, that 12% year-over-year rise in SNAP participants isn't coming from just one state.

Twenty-two states and the U.S. Virgin Islands experienced at least 10% growth in the number of residents using food stamps between May 2010 and May 2011. Three of those — Alabama, New Jersey and North Carolina — experienced more than 20% growth.

Meanwhile, only North Dakota, which already had the second fewest residents using food stamps, demonstrated any year-over-year decrease in the number of SNAP participants, and that was only -.1%, or about 81 people.

"The rise in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program indicates that the economy is still in tough shape and for a lot of people the recession has not ended," Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist for ConvergEx, told ABC News. "It's clear that the historical stigma of being on food stamps is quickly eroding because there are so many people on it. People don't feel bad asking for help."

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  #2 (permalink)
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Is a social program like food stamps a good thing or a bad thing?

How would you improve the program? It's obvious that some people desperately need the assistance, in large part due to job loss in this economy, or the elderly. But what about the millions of others abusing the system, receiving food stamps while driving $40,000 cars, with multiple cell phones in the household, cable TV, etc.

Mike

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  #3 (permalink)
Fortitudo et Honor
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Big Mike View Post
Is a social program like food stamps a good thing or a bad thing?

How would you improve the program? It's obvious that some people desperately need the assistance, in large part due to job loss in this economy, or the elderly. But what about the millions of others abusing the system, receiving food stamps while driving $40,000 cars, with multiple cell phones in the household, cable TV, etc.

Mike

I'm usually a die hard anti-government, pro-capitalist type, but food stamps, in my opinion are better than handing out cold hard cash.

The system inevitably gets abused. People trade their stamps to others for cash. People on food subsistance that probably shouldn't be.

I think that our welfare programs would be much better if we did some of the following:

A) Cap them. Liberals argue that it's punishing a child if you cap benfits for say 3 children. The 4th child suffers. But in my opinion, when the benefits are bottomless, not only does it not "discourage" those on benefits from having another child, it may in some cases, encourage it.

B) Make them progressive. Almost none of the social benefit programs are progressive. If you're drawing $500/week on unemployment, what incentive is there to take a job that makes $400/week? Not only are you losing $100/week in take home, you spend more money on gas AND you have to work.

In the same example, if you were to split the savings somehow, and progressively decrease the benfits as the recipient earns more, it would encourage people to get off benefits. (and save the taxpayer money at the same time).

D) Instead of giving money (or stamps) we should give goods and services, much like low income housing, etc. Democrats would howl at the idea, because in their mind, welfare checks help to stimulate the economy (and create jobs as the idiot Nancy Pelosi would believe)....but there's less abuse when you provide the family with food (rather than stamps, that can be used on just about anything in a grocery store that's edible besides alcohol).

By giving benefits instead of cash (or redeemables) we reduce misuse and abuse.

E) Some states (KY and FL) are already making drug screens mandatory for welfare benefits. Although this seems good (to some) in theory, it may end up costing the taxpayer more....because the drug screen is paid by the state if the recipient passes (and paid by the recipient if they fail, in addition to no benefits). Again, liberals argue this inadvertantly punishes the child (the whole argument is that it's not the child fault the parent is a deadbeat). Additionally, as a libertarian I'm convinced that one of the drawbacks of government policy and execution is that they cannot see all the "unforseen" challenges, loopholes, effects, etc. Who knows how this will turn out.

I will say though, that it will definitely have a "deterrence" effect and cause many recipients to leave those states in favor of states that offer less hassle. We're already seeing this at play with states like AZ and AL with their tough illegal immigration laws. The prevailing theory is that you don't have to prevent someone from stealing your car, you just have to make it difficult to the point that they choose to steal someone else's car. You don't have to stop illegals from taking up roots in your state, you just have to make it more difficult than another state. The same is true for drug-screen welfare I think. It doesn't solve the problem, simply pushes it out of state, but can you blame the state?

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US population: 307M, source: Population in the U.S. - Google Public Data Explorer

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Unemployment rate: 9.1%, source: Unemployment in the U.S. - Google Public Data Explorer

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The "real" unemployment rate is estimated at around 16-22%, source: Yikes! You won't believe the real jobless numbers and Real Unemployment Rises to 16.2% in June -- 25.3 Million People | CNSnews.com and Employment, Hours, and Earnings from the Current Employment Statistics survey (National) Home Page

In the last few years, corporate profits have exploded upward as corporations have downsized, laying off millions of workers, moving jobs overseas, and cutting benefits. Corporate profits are at all time highs. Source: Stock Market News & Financial Analysis - Seeking Alpha

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If you look at the last three decades, corporate profits are moving higher at a record pace, while net exports are declining at record amounts. Source: ThinkProgress

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15% of the country is on food stamps, and 15% or more of the country is out of a job. Coincidence?

Corporations are reporting record profits, while we have record high unemployment, and a record high number of Americans are on food stamps.

Why do the American people allow Congress to continue this? Congress is bought and paid for by lobbyists, which are bought and paid for by Wall Street. Congress is not representing the American people anymore. They are representing Wall Street.

Sure, they get on TV and say otherwise. It's lies. Just look at their voting record, it will be clear.

Now, in my opinion Republicans have the worst track record. Everything they do, they do for Wall Street. Democrats are on the flip side, where they want more and more social programs. Clearly the answer is at neither extreme, but somewhere in the middle.

If more jobs were available, social programs would be needed less to fill the gap.

What will you do to change things? What actions are you taking to correct this behavior by your elected officials? How many times have you called your Congressman? How many discussions with your friends and families are about these topics? How many links and articles are on your Facebook page?

Until the majority of Americans stand up and say "enough", things will only continue in this direction. Eventually, the USA will end up like the Roman Empire. It was good while it lasted. If you don't want to see this in your lifetime, action is required - right now.

Mike

Due to time constraints, please do not PM me if your question can be resolved or answered on the forum.

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  #5 (permalink)
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Big Mike View Post
Is a social program like food stamps a good thing or a bad thing?

How would you improve the program? It's obvious that some people desperately need the assistance, in large part due to job loss in this economy, or the elderly. But what about the millions of others abusing the system, receiving food stamps while driving $40,000 cars, with multiple cell phones in the household, cable TV, etc.

Mike

Not that long ago there was a debate (if we can call it that) on what in the UK is called a family allowance. It's an entitlement of x amount per week per child up to a certain age.
This was an entitlement for all regardless of income and as you can imagine the discussion was why is this available to those who, income wise, clearly didn't need it.
The entitlement remains. In other words no change for an entitlement to all.
It was argued that the whole discussion was a distraction away from, amongst other more important issues such as the wealthiest not paying an equal tax, etc..and that the family allowance was not changed as this would actually open the door to look at other areas where "loopholes" could be closed.

Also there is this odd duality, a sort of mind game that governments play.
In other words they use these sorts of discussions (ie family allowance for all regardless of income) to maintain the illusion of a fair and equal society. It's all double speak nonsense of coarse and not to mention that the populations psyche has somehow been pushed into always supporting government assistance. It keeps government in control and prolongs the day where the population realizes that they don't really need government (at least in it's present form) and what I mean by that is the more each generation is bought up under this system, the less inclined and able they are to understand the true dynamics of responsibility, being that to be responsible is actually to be free.

I'm certainly not saying there shouldn't be this kind of assistance, especially food stamps and I'm not saying that its' the fault of those claiming it that need to. In many ways it a symptom of the whole system imo and not an effect of an isolated issue.
Not to divert from the question you raised Mike but I guess over all it's about the value structure society, broadly speaking, has been raised to live by.

Just a few thoughts..

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Last edited by zt379; August 8th, 2011 at 02:25 PM.
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  #6 (permalink)
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zt379 View Post
Not that long ago there was a debate (if we can call it that) on what in the UK is called a family allowance. It's an entitlement of x amount per week per child up to a certain age.
This was an entitlement for all regardless of income and as you can imagine the discussion was why is this available to those who, income wise, clearly didn't need it.
The entitlement remains. In other words no change for an entitlement to all.
It was argued that the whole discussion was a divergence away from, amongst other more important issues such as the wealthiest not paying an equal tax, etc..and that the family allowance was not changed as this would actually open the door to look at other areas where "loopholes" could be closed.

Also there is this odd duality, a sort of mind game that governments play.
In other words they use these sorts of discussions (ie family allowance for all regardless of income) to maintain the illusion of a fair and equal society. It's all double speak nonsense of coarse and not to mention that the populations psyche has somehow been pushed into always supporting government assistance. It keeps government in control and prolongs the day where the population realizes that they don't really need government (at least in it's present form) and what I mean by that is the more each generation is bought up under this system, the less inclined and able they are to understand the true dynamics of responsibility, being that to be responsible is actually to be free.

Just a few thoughts..

Absolutely. Our government is always selling doom and gloom to us and "government" intervention as the solution or the agent that will prevent it.

It's how we got A) Income taxes (WWI). B) Social Security (Great Depression) C) Patriot Act (Global War on Terrorism) D) Departemtn of Homeland Defense (Global War on Terrorism) etc, etc.

Most people aren't even educated enough to realize that we went nearly a century and a half without any sort of Federal Income Tax or entitlement tax.

Government takes advantage of the incrementalist approach you described and what I refer as "ratchet" effect. It's easy to increase benefits during good times, very few argue against that....but when times are tough, reducing benefits comes with great pain and discourse.

Liberals want equal outcomes. They're not satisfied with equal opportunity. Because they're not convinced that someone's outcome is largely a function of their own competence or effort. A liberal can always find a reason for someone's failure.

The liberal refuses to accept the logical precept that you cannot be totally free and be dependent at the same time. They're diametrically opposing. Additionally, true freedom to succeed and prosper comes at a cost....the freedom to fail. You cannot have one without the other.

There's a million aspects to this debate/argument, there are philosophical aspects and then there are practical and pragmatic aspects.

The practical reality is that EVEN IF you philosophically agree that the more prosperous of our society have an obligation to give more (and give back) to others less "fortunate" (I hate that word, because it assumes that your station in life is determined by fortune and fate rather than hard work and aspiration).....

Even if you agree with the prosperous obligation, the pragmatic and practical reality is that government is a TERRIBLE vehicle and solution to make that happen.

FURTHERMORE, IF you were to assume government is an acceptible mechanism to take wealth and property from the prosperous and give it to the underprivelaged....the FEDERAL government is less effective than state and local government.

State and local governments are more accessible and controlable than politicians halfway across the country who get bribed by lobbysts who take them on fishing trips to Costa Rica so they can get blow jobs from third world prostitutes and snort coke and agree to take campaign contributions in order to vote the way that serves the few (rather than the many). State and local governments are more capable of adjusting and modifying policies to meet their individual needs.

"A dumb man never learns. A smart man learns from his own failure and success. But a wise man learns from the failure and success of others."
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Big Mike View Post

What will you do to change things? What actions are you taking to correct this behavior by your elected officials? How many times have you called your Congressman? How many discussions with your friends and families are about these topics? How many links and articles are on your Facebook page?

Until the majority of Americans stand up and say "enough", things will only continue in this direction. Eventually, the USA will end up like the Roman Empire. It was good while it lasted. If you don't want to see this in your lifetime, action is required - right now.

Mike

I posted this audio in the chat and hope it's relevant here.
Touching on causes and possible solutions..etc..
Oppose Obama’s Unconstitutional Supercongress of Austerity Ghouls, aka The Twelve Tyrants TARPLEY.net

Also, and it might seem trite, but somewhere I read or heard a very simple idea.
If the majority of populations refused to purchase most, if not all, if possible, of their goods from corporations, even for a week, the impact on those corporations would be dramatic enough to start changing this power base and shift things back to to something that resembles proper, for the sake of a better word living rather than this "existence" that so many are forced into...

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  #8 (permalink)
Fortitudo et Honor
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zt379 View Post
I posted this audio in the chat and hope it's relevant here.
Touching on causes and possible solutions..etc..
Oppose Obama’s Unconstitutional Supercongress of Austerity Ghouls, aka The Twelve Tyrants TARPLEY.net

Also, and it might seem trite, but somewhere I read or heard a very simple idea.
If the majority of populations refused to purchase most, if not all, if possible, of their goods from corporations, even for a week, the impact on those corporations would be dramatic enough to start changing this power base and shift things back to to something that resembles proper, for the sake of a better word living rather than this "existence" that so many are forced into...

That's all well until you realize that a very miniscule number of our population are employed by anyone who earns less than $250k/year.

I don't know anyone who's employed by someone who earns less money than them and I've personally never been hired by a poor man.

When I was in the service, a similar distaste for commissioned officers existed. Officers get paid more so there's a generally accepted disdain among enlisted soldiers for what's perceived as a compensation disparity.

But that notion fails under inspection. Firstly, there's nothing stopping or preventing anyone from becoming a commissioned officer. There are plenty of programs to enable anyone to take that route (if they so choose).
Additionally, enlisted soldiers who go through officer candidate school and become commissioned, in many cases will tell you that the additional money isn't worth the additional headaches that come with the additional responsibility and duties.

The same holds true for the civilian workplace. There's no law against people becoming that which they hold in contempt. If you don't like Wall Stree fat cats or corporate types or white collar workers who earn a much better living, then you can always become one yourself. There are a million ways to become rich or wealthy in America.

I find that the vast majority of Americans who sit around and piss and moan about their station in life....look at me like I'm crazy when I ask "so what are you doing about it?" Are you going to school to better yourself? Are you working a second job to save up? Have you applied for a better job? Time and again, you find people who bitch and complain but are doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to change their lives.

There's nothing wrong with corporate America. The world needs ditch diggers. You just have to ask yourself which would you rather be?

I personally decided that I was going to college when I was 15 and I worked as a dishwasher for $4.25 an hour, slaving away with a sweat soaked paper cap, burning my fingers raw on hot plates, mopping floors, taking grief from deadbeat cooks, only to take home $20 a night. I knew I didn't want to live that way the rest of my life. I wish more kids had the same experience. Maybe more would work hard in school and make a better life for themselves.

If you can make it in America, with all the opportunities here, then you can't make it anywhere.

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RM99 View Post
Absolutely. Our government is always selling doom and gloom to us and "government" intervention as the solution or the agent that will prevent it.

It's how we got A) Income taxes (WWI). B) Social Security (Great Depression) C) Patriot Act (Global War on Terrorism) D) Departemtn of Homeland Defense (Global War on Terrorism) etc, etc.

Most people aren't even educated enough to realize that we went nearly a century and a half without any sort of Federal Income Tax or entitlement tax.

Government takes advantage of the incrementalist approach you described and what I refer as "ratchet" effect. It's easy to increase benefits during good times, very few argue against that....but when times are tough, reducing benefits comes with great pain and discourse.

Liberals want equal outcomes. They're not satisfied with equal opportunity. Because they're not convinced that someone's outcome is largely a function of their own competence or effort. A liberal can always find a reason for someone's failure.

The liberal refuses to accept the logical precept that you cannot be totally free and be dependent at the same time. They're diametrically opposing. Additionally, true freedom to succeed and prosper comes at a cost....the freedom to fail. You cannot have one without the other.

There's a million aspects to this debate/argument, there are philosophical aspects and then there are practical and pragmatic aspects.

The practical reality is that EVEN IF you philosophically agree that the more prosperous of our society have an obligation to give more (and give back) to others less "fortunate" (I hate that word, because it assumes that your station in life is determined by fortune and fate rather than hard work and aspiration).....

Even if you agree with the prosperous obligation, the pragmatic and practical reality is that government is a TERRIBLE vehicle and solution to make that happen.

FURTHERMORE, IF you were to assume government is an acceptible mechanism to take wealth and property from the prosperous and give it to the underprivelaged....the FEDERAL government is less effective than state and local government.

State and local governments are more accessible and controlable than politicians halfway across the country who get bribed by lobbysts who take them on fishing trips to Costa Rica so they can get blow jobs from third world prostitutes and snort coke and agree to take campaign contributions in order to vote the way that serves the few (rather than the many). State and local governments are more capable of adjusting and modifying policies to meet their individual needs.

The trouble I have, and don't get me wrong, it is MY problem, is that I'm not at all interested in politics.
Or at least the type and way of politics that we have.
I'm more inclined towards allowing civilization/society to grow through self awareness and perhaps it is as we speak more so than ever before.

You raise some very interesting points, most notably how convoluted and inter woven everything is and I agree.

Now I know this can sound naive. It probably is, but how can we protect those from aspects of human nature that we have and use to "succeed", without taking away those aspects of human nature that we have and use to succeed ?
How do we protect ourselves from ourselves ?

We ask this as traders somewhere along our trading journey, just to highlight how what we do mirrors so much of life (imo) and it is an existential question and rhetorical but it gets to the heart of the mater as far as I'm concerned.

How can we change those aspects of human nature, when all we have is human nature to make those changes ?

This is a huge question.

So much needs to be changed, or more succinctly to be different.
For sure we can't change so many things so quickly, but I believe what we can do and very quickly is see the cause.

I think we are seeing a valuable reaction from society to corruption and to the lack of accountability.
Worldwide, these demonstrations and reactions are not being televised on traditional media, which only emphasizes their importance.
If, and it's a big if, we can sort out how to have a system of accountability that is free from corruption itself and can be maintained beyond the initial euphoria of its creation, then there may be hope.

We have what we have because we are without this, imo.
Yes it's human nature to "have more" and to "win" but we must now look at what it is that we think we must have more of and what we think we are winning at.

We do have everything we need yet we live as we live with the issues we have and it seems to all come down to certain aspects of human nature. Call them what you will, be it greed or avarice etc..but they can only be a symptom of what we value. Many have gone through this same stuff with their trading and how profound was the result ? !!

We forget or rather are made not to remember that the "system" we live by is not that old as you say.
We are fooled into believing it is the only way of doing things.
I would argue that it is not and that our species is not designed to function the way we are
ie to work to pay interest on something that has no meaningful value other than to allow the perpetuation of that system.

There are ways of producing all the food everyone on the planet needs. We already do it.
Energy can be free. It already exists.
There are enough natural resources on this planet for each and every person to have everything they need.
We have the most amazing levels of technology to be able to transform the way and quality of life fro each and every person on this planet. And these can only improve as we lean more.

I'm not advocating anything here. No particular way or other "system" I'm just putting out some thoughts that how and by what system we currently live does not serve an inherent part of human nature which is to become aware, self realizing and to love. The more we love the more abundance there is, the more we take the more inequality there is.

I'm not using "love" in some abstract touchy feely kind of thing, but at a deep level.
The level where true wisdom emanates, where real joy resides.
We need to shift our attention and objectives away from the artificial structure we live in.

In the perspective of a society and a world that serves all that is good, I think Gekko had it wrong.
Greed doesn't work for the good of all, greed just gets the majority to work for the minority.

If, simplistically, human nature is made up of both good and bad ie greed and peace, love and war etc..
then there must be an argument that for as much as one is outweighing the other then it must be possible for that balance to be changed and only our self awareness of which one creates true abundance, for all, will enable us to chose.

It's not going to happen in my lifetime I don't think and I hope that the notion of "forced awareness" the Mark Douglous speaks of in trading does not create such an extreme situation in life in general, as being the way things get changed, but perhaps it's human nature for there to be no other way.

Don't mean to write so much.
Again just some thoughts...apparently that's where everything starts from but I may have only thought that up..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw6tzjbILpE&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmaFvEcjfeA

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Last edited by zt379; August 8th, 2011 at 02:39 PM.
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great thread,.....


((my thoughts on the subject)))

This system is by design. Nothing is by an accident.

This planet that we are living on,...is a house with all these rooms

One room is called USA, the other one is called UK, or TURKEY, or SINGAPORE, ARGENTINA,.......


ALSO in this house, in the hallways there are these dogs that are not allowing you to go to another room.

((unless you are persistent enough and find a way to do so))

Since that and/or anything else different would disturb the owner of the house in it's own agenda.

I hope that you are understanding what I'm hoping to say here!?

It's all a joke, it truly is.

We are so distracted with the crap that is going around inside the rooms that we are in,

that we are not aware to even think about anything else,

.....how about going outside the house for once,....or twice?


I'm hopeful though. Since we all are a truly good hearted people. We truly are.

And yes, some of us get nasty when the question of the survival comes to pass.
Then we are designed to kill each other since we have not the knowledge of anything else.

Even though we feel it in our gut that something is seriously wrong with this picture, we still keep painting it!!


Anyhow, that is my 5 cents on the subject.

I'm being mostly in general about this,
....since I feel that these issues run deeper then just the fact that we are about to experience another economic meltdown.

We are unknowingly, voluntarily contributing to all this that is going around us!!

Yes, the government is running us like the commodities that we allow ourselves to be.

However, we are the shakers and the movers.
But unfortunately for us, someone else is telling us how to shake and move ,....
AND we keep listening to that beat!!

DISCOVER up things like:

Being a sovereign and what it truly means to be a sovereign??

What is money, what it truly represents?
Who creates money? Who controls the money?
Why do we need it? Can we imagine our life without it?

Why is our technological progress supressed?

Why are we entertained with things that keep our creativity in the sleping mode?

Why America has become such an empire so fast??

Why the symbol of every empire in the history that we are conditioned to believe in, is an EAGLE?

What/Who does an Eagle represent?

(for example, the Roman Empire=an Eagle, the Nazi Germany=an Eagle,
or a two headed eagle....etc!)

.....and it just goes on and on!!



Last edited by Gabriyele; August 7th, 2011 at 06:10 PM.
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