Is the mainstream media overhyping the economic impact of the government shutdown for political purposes? Of course they are. Once upon a time the mainstream media in the United States at least attempted to maintain a facade of objectivity, but those days are long gone. In this case, they want to stir up as much public resentment against President Trump as possible in order to try to force him to end the government shutdown. And when NBC News breathlessly declared that the U.S. “would face an economic hellscape” if this shutdown stretches on for an extended period of time, their article quickly went viral all over the Internet.
In just a few days, this will officially be the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, and there is no end in sight. President Trump is pledging that he will not sign any spending bill unless it includes funding for a border wall, and the Democrats are promising their supporters that they will never agree to a single penny for a wall. This could be the confrontation that ends up defining Trump’s presidency, and whoever backs down now is going to look incredibly weak. But the longer this shutdown lasts, the more painful things are going to become for the hundreds of thousands of federal workers that are going without pay, and for the hundreds of thousands of workers that are employed by government contractors that rely on business from the federal government.
According to the Department of Agriculture, if this government shutdown stretches into February there won’t be money for food stamps. And it certainly looks like this shutdown could last for quite a while, because President Trump is not backing down on his demand for border wall funding, and the Democrats have pledged not to give him a single penny. So a few weeks from now, approximately 38 million people could be suddenly cut off from the food stamp program. If that scenario were to unfold, there is no telling what could happen. After just a few days, government workers are already freaking out about having their paychecks delayed. If people are getting this restless already, what will things look like when tens of millions of Americans are suddenly cut off from their primary source of food money?
If the U.S. economy is “doing well”, then why are almost 40 million Americans still on food stamps? That number is almost exactly where it was at the end of the last recession, and supposedly we have made so much progress since that time. Of course any progress that has been made has been extremely uneven. Earlier today, I wrote about how the gap between the rich and the poor in this country is the biggest that it has been since the 1920s. For years, the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program pumped “hot money” into the financial markets, and that was an enormous blessing to the top 1 percent. But meanwhile tens of millions of average families have continued to struggle and the middle class has continued to decline. In the U.S. today, 66 percent of all of our jobs pay less than 20 dollars an hour, and close to 40 million Americans rely on the federal government to feed them every month. The following comes from Bloomberg…
Margaret Thatcher once said that the problem with socialism “is that eventually you run out of other people’s money”. As you will see below, the combined enrollment in America’s four largest safety net programs has reached a staggering 236 million. Of course that doesn’t mean that 236 million people are getting benefits from the government each month because there is overlap between the various programs. For example, many Americans that are on Medicaid are also on food stamps, and many Americans that are on Medicare are also on Social Security. But even accounting for that, most experts estimate that the number of Americans that are dependent on the federal government month after month is well over 100 million. And now that so many people are addicted to government handouts, can we ever return to a culture of independence and self-sufficiency?
In 2016, the number of individuals receiving SNAP benefits increased to more than 44 million people. This is a 32 percent increase over 2009. With the unemployment rate showing a drop from nearly 10 percent in 2009 to under 5 percent at the close of 2016, we have to wonder why so many are in need of assistance. If the job market is booming as Obama claims it is, why are more and more people needing to access government assistance benefits? With an exponential rise in the cost of living and a stagnant minimum wage, even those working multiple jobs cannot afford to eat.
Widespread reports continue to pour in from all over the nation of “glitches” with the food stamp system. It is eight days into the month and large numbers of people still have not received their benefits, and in other instances it is being reported that EBT cards are simply not working correctly. So what in the world is going on here? On downdetector.com there are scores of reports of problems with the EBT system from people all over the nation. Could this simply be another example of government incompetence, or is something else at work here?
The number of beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps, has exceeded 45 million for 48 straight months, according to data released by the Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Could you imagine being a single parent and trying to survive in America today on $10.50 an hour? For a moment, I want you to imagine that you are living in a moldy apartment that is so badly maintained that rain seeps in whenever it rains. You are employed, but you are completely dependent on government programs such as food stamps and Medicaid in order to make ends meet. Sometimes you would really like to take your small child somewhere fun, like a movie theater, but you can’t really afford the gas money. You are working as hard as you can, but you never seem to get anywhere, and you feel trapped because nobody seems to want to hire you for a better job. What I have just described for you is real life for a 22-year-old single mother from Chicago named Adriana Alvarez, but there are tens of millions of other Americans that have similar stories. If every day seems like it is a soul-crushing struggle for you, I want you to know that you are not alone. The long-term economic collapse that I chronicle on my website is not just about facts and figures. It is about real people that are quietly leading lives of silent desperation, and by now it has becoming exceedingly apparent that our politicians, the mainstream media and the gigantic corporations that dominate our economy do not really care much about the rest of us at all.