A New Gilded Age Shines On America


A new gilded age shines on America – 50 million Americans roam the countryside uninsured.  45 million Americans receiving food stamps up by 18 million since the Great Recession began in late 2007.

Much of the country is in psychological denial to the damage being created by the current recession.  Some even believe that we are fully in a recovery.  Part of this has to do with the way the safety net is designed but also the lack of coverage presented in the media.  We have over 45,000,000 Americans on food stamps. It is likely someone you know may be on the food assistance program but you wouldn’t know it because they are issued a debit card that looks like any other credit card.  You also have this stubborn notion that any problems that befall a family are completely their fault while big bankers make egregious errors and somehow it is the market that caused their ill fortune.  This twisted logic has become more apparent with the economic disaster data released in the recent Census report.  46,200,000 Americans are now considered to be in poverty, over 15 percent of the population.  It is no coincidence that this figure aligns with the food stamp data.  In essence we have close to 50 million Americans who are one debit card payment away from being in complete financial trauma.  What is happening to our country?


Destruction of the middle class

We should first look at the food stamp data:

food stamp participation

Source:  SNAP

I went ahead and plotted the number of Americans receiving food assistance since the Great Recession started.  According to official data the recession ended in the summer of 2009.  The above chart clearly shows that many Americans haven’t received this notification.  Many of those added to the food stamp program have fallen out of the middle class and straight into the poverty ranks.  A stunning 18,000,000 Americans have been added to the food stamp program just since the recession began in late 2007.  This data does not signify progress.

If you think these people are splurging we need only look at the rise of the dollar stores in the country.  Dollar stores have taken a large piece of sales from low cost stores like Wal-Mart and have catered to this large crowd of consumers that are simply seeking basic goods to get by per month.  Don’t think the money is large here.  The average food stamp payment per person for a month is $133.

The food stamp growth goes hand and hand with the number of Americans living in poverty:

census poverty

The poverty rate is now back to that of the early 1980s.  The big difference this time is that we have trillions of dollars being funneled to a largely crony banking system that is preaching a free market for the poor and middle class and a form of plutocratic protection for the top one percent.  So far they are getting their wish since bought out politicians are adhering to their wishes.

A workless America in the new gilded era

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