Epidemic Of Hunger: New Report Says 49 Million Americans Are Dealing With Food Insecurity

Crying Girl - Photo by D Sharon PruittIf the economy really is “getting better”, then why are nearly 50 million Americans dealing with food insecurity?  In 1854, Henry David Thoreau observed that “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”.  The same could be said of our time.  In America today, most people are quietly scratching and clawing their way from month to month.  Nine of the top ten occupations in the U.S. pay an average wage of less than $35,000 a year, but those that actually are working are better off than the millions upon millions of Americans that can’t find jobs.  The level of employment in this nation has remained fairly level since the end of the last recession, and median household income has gone down for five years in a row.  Meanwhile, our bills just keep going up and the cost of food is starting to rise at a very frightening pace.  Family budgets are being squeezed tighter and tighter, and more families are falling out of the middle class every single day.  In fact, a new report by Feeding America (which operates the largest network of food banks in the country) says that 49 million Americans are “food insecure” at this point.  Approximately 16 million of them are children.  It is a silent epidemic of hunger that those living in the wealthy areas of the country don’t hear much about.  But it is very real.

The mainstream media and our politicians continue to insist that “things are getting better”, and that may be true for Wall Street, but the man who was in charge of the new Feeding America report says that the level of suffering for the tens of millions of Americans that are food insecure has not changed

Nothing is getting better,” said Craig Gundersen, lead researcher of the report, “Map the Meal Gap 2014,” and an expert in food insecurity and food aid programs.

Let’s stop talking about the end of the Great Recession until we can make sure that we get food insecurity rates down to a more reasonable level,” he added. “We’re still in the throes of the Great Recession, from my perspective.”

In fact, a different report seems to indicate that hunger in America is actually getting worse

Children’s HealthWatch, a network of doctors and public health researchers who collect data on children up to 4 years old, says 29% of the households they track were at risk of hunger last year, compared with 25% the year before.

If someone tries to tell you that “the economy is getting better”, that person is probably living in a wealthy neighborhood.  Because those that live in poor neighborhoods would not describe what is going around them as an “improvement”.

In particular, many minority neighborhoods are really dealing with extremely high levels of food insecurity right now.  The following comes from a recent NBC News article

“Minorities are facing serious hunger issues. Ninety-three percent of counties with a majority African-American population fall within the top 10 percent of food-insecure counties, while 60 percent of majority American Indian counties fall in that category”

But if you don’t live in one of those areas and you don’t know anyone that is facing food insecurity, it can be difficult to grasp just how much people are actually suffering out there right now.

For example, consider the story of a young mother named Tianna Gaines Turner

Tianna Gaines Turner can’t remember the last time she went to bed without worrying about how she was going to feed her three children.

She can’t remember the last time she woke up and wasn’t worried about how she and her husband would make enough in their part-time jobs to buy groceries and pay utilities on their apartment in a working-class section of Philadelphia.

And she can’t remember the last time she felt confident she and her husband wouldn’t have to skip meals so their children could eat.

Have you ever been in a position where you had to skip meals just so that other family members could have something to eat?

I haven’t, so it is hard for me to imagine having to do such a thing.  But there are millions of parents that are faced with these kinds of hard choices every day.

Things can be particularly hard if you are a single parent.  Just consider the story of Jamie Grimes

After Jaime Grimes found out in January that her monthly food stamps would be cut again, this time by $40, the single mother of four broke down into sobs — then she took action.

The former high school teacher made a plan to stretch her family’s meager food stores even further. She used oatmeal and ground beans as filler in meatloaf and tacos. She watered down juice and low-fat milk to make it last longer. And she limited herself to one meal a day so her kids — ages 3, 4, 13, and 16 — would have enough to eat.

I have such admiration for working single mothers.  Many of them work more than one job just so that they can provide for their children.  It can be absolutely frustrating to work as hard as you possibly can and still not have enough money to pay the bills at the end of the month.

Those that believe that the economy has gotten “back to normal” just need to look at the number of women that have been forced to turn to government assistance.  As I mentioned the other day, a decade ago the number of American women that had jobs outnumbered the number of American women on food stamps by more than a 2 to 1 margin. But now the number of American women on food stamps actually exceeds the number of American women that have jobs.

The truth is that we are nowhere close to where we used to be.  The last major economic downturn permanently damaged the middle class, and now the next major economic downturn is rapidly approaching.

Right now, there are nearly 50 million Americans that are facing food insecurity.  When the next economic crisis strikes, that number is going to go much higher.

There is going to be a great need for love and compassion in this country during the hard times that are coming.  Instead of just cursing the darkness, I hope that you will choose to be a light to those that desperately need it.

The Number Of Private Sector Jobs Fell By 278,000 Last Month But The Economy Is Getting Better?

Barack Obama Oval OfficeHave you heard about the “wonderful” employment numbers that were just released?  Last month, the unemployment rate declined to 7.3 percent.  Somehow this happened even though the percentage of working age Americans with a job actually declined and the number of private sector workers fell by 278,000.  So how did the federal government magically produce a drop in the unemployment rate even though less people have jobs?  Well, they did it by pretending that more than half a million Americans “dropped out of the labor force” last month.  If the government is to be believed, the number of Americans that want to work dropped by an astounding 516,000 in a single month even though the population of our country is constantly increasing.  The federal government continues to feed us absolutely absurd numbers month after month, and at this point “the official unemployment rate” is essentially meaningless.

But that doesn’t mean that Barack Obama is about to drop the charade.  In fact, he continues to insist that the economy is getting better.  The following is an excerpt from one of Obama’s recent weekly radio addresses

Over the past four and a half years, we’ve fought our way back from the worst recession of our lifetimes. And thanks to the grit and resilience of the American people, we’ve begun to lay a foundation for stronger, more durable economic growth.

Oh really?

Does he actually believe that anyone is still buying what he is saying?

The cold, hard truth is that the U.S. economy has not recovered while Obama has been in the White House.  If you doubt this, please see my previous article entitled “33 Shocking Facts Which Show How Badly The Economy Has Tanked Since Obama Became President“.

Since World War II, the percentage of working age Americans that is employed had always bounced back dramatically after a recession ended.

Unfortunately, that has not happened this time.

As you can see from the chart posted below, the percentage of working age Americans with a job has stayed below 59 percent since late 2009.  This chart reflects the most recent employment numbers…

Employment-Population Ratio 2013

So where is the recovery Obama?

Can he possibly put a positive spin on the chart above?

Of course not.

The truth is that the official unemployment rate should still be up around 10 percent like it was a few years ago.

But that wouldn’t make Obama look very good, would it?  So the U.S. government has been pretending that millions upon millions of Americans have been “leaving the labor force”.  This has pushed the labor force participation rate to a 35-year-low

Labor Force Participation Rate

At this point, we have more than 90 million Americans that are considered to be “not in the labor force”…

On Friday, the BLS reported that the 90,473,000 Americans not currently in the labor force marked the first time the figure exceeded the 90 million threshold.

In January 2009, when President Obama first took office, there were 80.5 million Americans 16 years and older not in the labor force, meaning the number of Americans not in the labor force has increased 10 million during his presidency.

For men, the BLS reported the labor force participation rate, the percentage of the population working or considered looking for work, was 63.2 percent in August, basically unchanged from 63.5 percent in July. It’s also a record low.

How low can that number possibly go?

Meanwhile, the quality of our jobs continues to decline rapidly as well.  If you can believe it, at this point more than 40 percent of all U.S. workers actually make less than what a full-time minimum wage worker made back in 1968.

As a result, the U.S. middle class is steadily dying.  The following is from a recent Yahoo article

It’s the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about…

The middle class in the U.S. economy is on the verge of collapse. Yes, I said collapse. That social class that once helped the U.S. economy grow and prosper is coming apart. Will the U.S. economy ever be the same without it or is this the new norm?

For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “44 Facts About The Death Of The Middle Class That Every American Should Know“.

And unfortunately, things look like they may start getting a lot worse for ordinary Americans.

There are a couple of major events which could potentially cause our economic decline to accelerate greatly in September…

#1 Fed Tapering

Right now, there is not much demand for U.S. Treasury bonds.  Foreigners have become net sellers of U.S. Treasuries and domestic demand has become quite weak.  Without the Federal Reserve buying up tens of billions of dollars worth of U.S. Treasuries each month, where will the demand come from?

That is a very good question.  If the Fed starts to taper quantitative easing in September, that is almost certainly going to send bond yields soaring.  Already, bond yields have been rising steadily, and if they get too high it is going to be absolutely disastrous for the U.S. economy.

#2 War With Syria

If the U.S. attacks Syria, it will likely cause financial markets all over the planet to descend into chaos and send the price of oil skyrocketing.

And that assumes that the conflict is limited to only the United States and Syria.  If Syria decides to retaliate by launching missiles at Israeli cities, that will set off a major regional war in the Middle East and the consequences for the global economy will be off the charts.

So as bad as the U.S. economy is right now, the truth is that things could easily get much, much worse.

Let us hope for the best, but let us also prepare for the worst.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!