April 02, 2009

1 in 10 Americans on Food Stamps

What's going on when taxpayers have bought companies that are paying their top employees millions and one in ten Americans are on food stamps.

I understand that the economy is in the toilet, but the country is bringing in enough money that everyone should at least be have enough income to eat.

I've been reading up on a few interesting ways local companies have tried to avoid layoffs like this one and this one. It seems like lots of employees have sharing spirits during this economy. Do you think the sharing will spread and help redistribute wealth and work more fairly?

Seeing the 1 in 10 number is a shock to me, not just because it is so high, but because it is a real wack on the head for me to realize that my friends are either not representative of the population, or are not comfortable being honest about what's going on with them. How do you think the fact that people are divided into different social groups in part based on income/class ties into all this? I imagine that if someone in my circle of friends lost a job they would be more likely to know someone who knows of a job opening (and doesn't have ten million other unemployed friends who she/he also wants to recommend for the job). To me, this makes the social aspects of class that are often ignored in favor of focusing on the economic aspects all the more obvious. And maybe exascerbates the problems that social class causes?


Anonymous said...

Part of what's going on is that people who DON'T NEED FOOD STAMPS are on them anyway. I'm not sure what to be angrier about--that there are so many people in this country with so much money while so many others depend on the government for assistance, or the fact that people I know are using government assistance meant for people who can't live without it even though they still get money for food and rent from their parents.

icarus said...

This is sad, but I guess I'm not shocked. After working with low-income people for a while, I've seen more families needing help with food. The problem is that food banks are really struggling to feed the amount of people who need their services. Whitman Walker Food Bank in D.C. closed this year because they didn't have enough funding. All their clients were people living with AIDS who were too sick to work and had been referred by their doctors. I honestly don't know what some of them are going to do. It's an embarrassment and an outrage that we can't feed our own people.

Imee said...

Same here. It's even worse in specific states, actually. I really think this statistic is scary, but I'm not surprised. It's not like it happened overnight, right? But still, I don't think anyone can help but sympathize with all those people.

Ily said...

I'm on food stamps-- getting them is so difficult and confusing, at least where I am, that if you can somehow milk the system, more power to you. 2 things that make me most mad: The system is intentionally confusing, and if we had a living wage, food stamps would be unnecessary for most of the people now using them.

Anonymous said...

So true, Ily, so true.

On top of a million hoops to jump through just to get them, it is nearly impossible to figure out if you are getting the right amount.