Yesterday BenSwann.com writer Kristen Tate reported that more Americans are enrolling for food stamps despite “growth in the economy”.
“…enrollment in the (food stamps) program jumped up by 211,708 people in the second-quarter, despite household wealth increasing $1.3 trillion within the same time period.”
The numbers in the report are strange as Brietbart News explains:
“Roughly half of the $1.3 trillion increase ($525 billion) was due to residential real estate values improving, and roughly $300 billion of the gains were attributable to corporate equities and mutual funds.”
Why are more people moving on to food stamps if the economy is doing better? Shouldn’t the opposite be true?
One of the major challenges in media today is breaking the left/right paradigm. As you know this is a major theme of my work. Food stamp enrollment is a great example of this paradigm at work and it is the left/right paradigm that is much of the reason Americans remain pitted against each other over this issue.
Food Stamps from the Left. The Left deals with the issue of food stamps in an interesting way. Regularly, the Left wants to approach the issue for a belief that many Americans are hurting and that more people need this help from the government. The left side of this argument is not all wrong. It is true that millions of Americans are hurting and the belief that the “system” is broken is also true. But the Left paradigm of why the system is broken is often not correct. The left seems to believe that if only more companies would share money with employees and we could share the wealth of the 1% with the 99%, these problems would improve.
Food Stamps from the Right. The Right deals with the issue of food stamps in an equally interesting way. Regularly, the Right wants to approach the issue from the paradigm that more and more Americans are freeloaders, and too many people are in the cart and not enough are pulling. The right side of the argument is not all wrong. It is true that the welfare system is riddled with waste, fraud and abuse. For those of us who grew up and lived in communities where food stamps were a way of life for most people, we know that generations of Americans have learned how to play the system. There is a great deal of abuse and misuse of this government “help”. The right seems to believe that if only we would force people to get back to work and stop sitting around doing nothing, these problems would improve.
Both sides are correct that our system is broken. Where they are wrong is in their talking points is how. The real problem that neither side addresses is the plummeting value of the U.S. dollar. Over the past 100 years, the American dollar has lost a staggering 97% of its value. Because the dollar has lost its value so rapidly as a result of the Federal Reserve Bank and the U.S. Treasury continually flooding the market with currency, Americans have no value in their savings and no value in their money. The stunning devalue of the U.S. dollar means that Americans increasingly cannot afford home and car payments, groceries, etc. When we claim that “residential home values are on the rise” or that “corporate equities and mutual funds are improving”, that means nothing for the couple or single parent attempting to feed their family today.
How does government deal with the loss of value to currency? The answer from really both the left and the right political powers are to continue growing federal, state and local government. The answer to the loss of value in currency is to “give” more currency away. That of course does not resolve the issue but instead actually creates greater need. When government subsidizes any product or service, the cost of that product or service automatically rises. Why is the war on poverty an abject failure? Because the same President Lyndon Johnson, who declared war on poverty also officially moved the United States away from the gold standard so that the U.S. could print as much money as we like. How is that working out for us?
So what does this mean for a single mom in 2013? Consider this. For a single mother who makes $29,000 per year, when coupled with government assistance (CHIP, Medicare, Food, Energy, Negative Income Tax, etc.) receives over $57,327 in “income” from her employer and government help. If that same mother has a salaried job of $69,000 a year, she actually makes less “income”. Because of the tax system and drop off in benefits, that mother makes only $57,045 dollars in net income and benefits.
Is the left correct that the mom who makes $29,000 is a victim of society and needs help to make $57,000+ in income just to get by? What the left doesn’t address is this, “When in American history has a family needed $57,000 in income to get by?” Why do we assume that over time money loses its value? It shouldn’t.
Is the right correct when they say that this mom really only makes $29,000 and therefore is victimizing all the other families from whom she is taking $28,000 in benefits and needs to move up in her career if she wants to make more money? Do they not consider that under our current system this mother will NEVER be able to jump in income from $29,000 to $70,000 dollars? Therefore, through government “assistance” that mother has been financially blocked from being able to advance in her career. With the devaluation of our currency, how do we expect that this mother can raise her children on $29,000 per year? Especially when you consider all the “user” taxes built into just about every product and service.
The Left and the Right, especially in Washington, will use the circumstances of a single mother to push their agendas but who is actually working to resolve her (our) real issues? As long as politicians keep us fighting with each other over who is getting the most tax breaks, the most help and the most advantage, they can keep us from recognizing how they are destroying the ability for any American to live without THEIR help.