Archive for October, 2013

Food Stamps and Why It is a Bad Idea to Cut Them

 

UPI reports

  • SNAP enrollment in the last 10 years more than doubled to 47 million but, for the first time, the number of Americans receiving food stamps increased even when the economy was growing.
  • During the 2003-07 expansion, the SNAP case load, — in a break with historic trends — rose 24 percent, the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College reported.
  • CRC economists Matt Rutledge and April Yanyuan Wu said one reason is a change in the longstanding correlation between poverty and the unemployment rate.
  • Poverty used to fall in tandem with the jobless rate, reducing the need for food stamps but the researchers found poverty did not decline as the economy grew in the mid-2000s — and in the recovery following the Great Recession, the number of people receiving food stamps kept rising.
  • The assumption has always been a stronger labor market would reduce the need for food stamps, the economists said, but the new trend suggests rising employment might no longer be enough.

The reality is that the minimum wage has failed to go up significantly since the last minimum wages.  Any gain made to the minimum wage is eaten by inflation and Congress has take any action to adjust the minimum wage as shown in this chart

Year

Minimum Wage

Wage by CPI

2009

$7.25

$5.30

2010

$7.25

$5.22

2011

$7.25

$5.06

2012

$7.25

$4.97

2013

$7.25

$4.87

CNN reports

  • The cuts, totaling $5 billion, will mean less money for groceries for millions of people who rely on food stamps.
  • However, experts say it’s highly unlikely at a time when Republicans are calling for even more drastic cuts to food stamps.
  • Some 47.6 million people, or nearly 15% of the population, get food stamps, according to September federal data.
  • In fact, the discussion among Republicans is to what degree food stamps should be whittled down.
  • In September, the Republican-controlled House passed a bill that tightens eligibility for food stamps.

So, in reality, we have seen no action on food stamps and we see a deterioration in the minimum wage because Congress refuses to raise it to $9 as state by Obama earlier this year

The only way to decrease reliance on food stamps is to see significant increases in wages of low-skilled and members of the working poor.  As the source of the middle wage jobs is increasingly is drying off, low-wage jobs dominate the circumstances.

The Republicans do not have any real plan to find a way to increase the wages of low-skilled and the working poor.  The reality is that the Republicans who are aligned with big business that forcing big business to increase the wages of low-wage workers is going to decrease the quarterly earning per share that Wall Street lives and dies on.

If the Republicans refuse to raise the minimum wages or find ways to force business to raise wage such as loosening of unionization laws,  there will be substantial portion of the population that is required to be on food stamps.

The easiest way in a revenue-neutral sense is threaten big business with cutting corporate tax loopholes to fund expanded food stamps and other social welfare benefits or pay your workers more money.  Until big business is weaned off its obsession with short-term quarterly earnings and realizes that a higher wage is better for its long-term prospects, the government is required to play an interventionist role in the economy when it comes to social welfare programs like food stamps.

 

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October 28, 2013 at 4:18 am Leave a comment

Keith Olbermann is Right, We Should Have Never Voted for the Tea Pary

Keith Olbermann is definitely right. The tea party is about madness and nihilism. The tea party is about unstable and unqualified individuals that wants us to return us to the day in the robber barons of the Gilded Age. Nicolas Kristolf catches up with the madness of the tea party in this piece (http://nyti.ms/19t0CoS)

“ther, it’s that America’s strength and influence derive in part from the success of our political and economic model. When House Republicans shut our government down and leave us teetering on the abyss of default, we are a diminished nation. We have less influence. We have less raw power, as surely as if we had fewer aircraft carriers.

Some Americans think that this crisis reflects typical partisan squabbling. No. Democrats and Republicans have always disagreed, sometimes ferociously, about what economic policy is best, but, in the past, it was not normal for either to sabotage the economy as a negotiating tactic.

In a household, husbands and wives disagree passionately about high-stakes issues like how to raise children. But normal people do not announce that if their spouse does not give in, they will break all the windows in the house.

Hard-line House Republicans seem to think that their ability to inflict pain on 800,000 federal workers by furloughing them without pay gives them bargaining chips. The hard-liners apparently believe that their negotiating position is strengthened when they demonstrate that they can wreck American governance.

The stakes rise as we approach the debt limit and the risk of default — which the Treasury Department notes could have an impact like that of the 2008 financial crisis and “has the potential to be catastrophic.” Astonishingly, Republican hard-liners see that potential catastrophe as a source of bargaining power in a game of extortion: We don’t want anything to happen to this fine American economy as we approach the debt limit, so you’d better meet our demands.

In this situation, it strikes a false note for us as journalists to cover the crisis simply by quoting each side as blaming the other. That’s a false equivalency”

This situation is a dangerous game of extortion that threatens the very democracy that he live in. Eventually, some of these teabaggers needs to be charged with contempt of Congress and hailed off to jail to serve 45 days.

There should be a law that lawmakers cannot hold the government shutdown for two weeks. If they failed to deal with the problem, the Congress people could be threaten with Contempt of Congress and hailed off to jail to serve time on a misdemeanor offense. Maybe, the threat of jail would tell the teabaggers to knock off holding the full faith and credit of government hostage.

In conclusion, we are now living with the consequences of electing these tea party mountbanks. It is time to throw the bums in office and return to Nancy Pelosi back the speakership.

October 7, 2013 at 1:06 am Leave a comment


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