Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Putin’s World: Why Russia’s Showdown with the West Will Worsen - John_Mauldin
2. Stocks Bull Market Grinds Bears into Dust, Is Santa Rally Sustainable? - Nadeem_Walayat
3. Gold and Silver 2015 Trend Forecasts, Prices to Go BOOM - Austin_Galt
4.Gold Price Golden Bottom? - Toby_Connor
5.Gold Price and Miners Soar on Huge Volume - P_Radomski_CFA
6.Stock Market and the Jaws of Life or Death? - Rambus_Chartology
7.Gold Price 2015 - EWI
8.Manipulated Stock Market Short Squeezes to Another All Time High - The China Syndrome - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Gold, Silver, Crude and S&P Ending Wedge Patterns - DeviantInvestor
10.Is the Gold And Silver Golden Rule Broken? - Michael_Noonan
Last 5 days
Gold Price Would Soar on Possible Swiss Yes Vote - 27th Nov 14
Crude Oil Asset Bubble Trouble - 27th Nov 14
Thanksgiving and Puritan Geopolitics in the Americas - 27th Nov 14
The Dow Jones Stocks Index - Beautiful Tree in the Desert - 27th Nov 14
The Digital World, The Opiate of The People - 27th Nov 14
Harry Dent's Simple Strategy for Surviving Withdrawals from Markets on Crack - 27th Nov 14
Socialist France Just Cannot Compete Against Google Freedom - 27th Nov 14
A Short Tale About the Grand Manipulation of Crude Oil Prices - 26th Nov 14
China Secret Gold Buying ... How Could It Happen? - 26th Nov 14
Gold Price Spikes to $1,467.50/oz on Computer Glitch? - 26th Nov 14
Gold - So Bad It's Good: Surviving 2014 - 26th Nov 14
TrueShopping.co.uk Real Customer Experience Review - Online Shopping Lessons - 26th Nov 14
Is There A New Global Consensus About Cheating Investors To Reboot Employment? - 26th Nov 14
EUR/USD – Currency Bulls Don’t Give Up - 26th Nov 14
Swiss Gold Referendum A Golden Opportunity for Switzerland - 25th Nov 14
Silver: What COT Analysis Tells Us - 25th Nov 14
Stock Market Big, Bold and Ugly - 25th Nov 14
U.S. Dollar Near Top? Gold and Silver Trading, Platinum Breakout Invalidation - 25th Nov 14
Buy Fear - Easily Pick Up Profits on Stock Market Dips - 25th Nov 14
The Islamic State Reshapes the Middle East - 25th Nov 14
Gold Price Forecast 2015 - 25th Nov 14
The Swiss Referendum On Gold: What’s Missing From The Debate - 25th Nov 14
Clash of Generations - Why Millennials Still Live at Home; Not Jobs, Student Debt, or Housing - 25th Nov 14
Stock Market Reminiscent of Pompeii - 25th Nov 14
Once Upon A Time There Were Philosopher Kings - 24th Nov 14
The 2014 Crude Oil Price Crash Explained - 24th Nov 14
China Stock Investing - Follow the Money! - 24th Nov 14
122 Tonnes of Gold Secretly Repatriated to Netherlands - 24th Nov 14
What Causes the U.S. Dollar to Move? - 24th Nov 14
Stock Market Indexes New Highs - Will Uptrend Extend Even Further? - 24th Nov 14
All Hail the King U.S. Dollar - Trend Forecast - 24th Nov 14
Where Is China Economy On The Map Exactly? - 24th Nov 14
Most of The World Economies Panic - Is The US Next? - 24th Nov 14
Stock Market Exhaustion Gap? - 24th Nov 14
Gold Golden Gains Come After The Pain - 24th Nov 14
Crude Oil and Stock Market Setting The Stage For The Next Recession - 23rd Nov 14
This Publicly-Owned Bank Is Outperforming Wall Street - 23rd Nov 14
Who’s Ready For $30 Crude Oil Price? - 23rd Nov 14
Strategic, Methodological and Developmental Importance of Knowledge Consumption - 23rd Nov 14
Manipulated Stock Market Short Squeezes to Another All Time High - The China Syndrome - 23rd Nov 14
Gold Price 2015 - 22nd Nov 14
Stock Market Medium Term Top? - 22nd Nov 14
Is the Gold And Silver Golden Rule Broken? - 22nd Nov 14
Malaysia's Subsidy and Budget Deficit Conundrum - 22nd Nov 14
Investors Hated Gold at Precisely the Wrong Time: What About Now? - 22nd Nov 14
Gold and GLD ETF Selloff - 22nd Nov 14

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Gold Report 2015

Farm Bill 2014: The Food Insecurity Bill

Politics / Food Crisis Feb 07, 2014 - 08:14 AM GMT

By: Michael_T_Bucci

Politics

As part of a package of agricultural legislation, Congress and the President have passed what should be called "the food insecurity bill" that will cut $8.7 billion in food assistance (SNAP or food stamps) over the next decade. The bill will cause an estimated 850,000 low-income households in sixteen states (including Maine) to lose an average $90 in monthly benefits, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, following an approximately $11 billion cut to SNAP benefits on November 1 of last year. Since 2007 and the beginning of the Great Recession, food stamp enrollment has surged from about 26.3 million people to 47.6 million last year, according to Agriculture Department figures.


Consequently, spending on the program has more than doubled since 2007 and represents about 2.2 percent of some $3.6 trillion in total federal spending in the 2014 fiscal year. Lower incomes and rising food costs have pushed benefits upward, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

One in six Americans receives food stamp benefits. Seventy-six percent of SNAP households enrolled include a child, a senior, or someone who is disabled. Ninety-one percent of benefits go to households with income at or below the poverty line. One in six households, or nearly 18 million people, are considered "food insecure" by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

In the New England state of Maine, Feeding America, the nationwide network of food banks of which Good Samaritan of Auburn is a member, ranks Maine's "food insecurity rate" at 15.7%; and Maine's child food insecurity rate at 22.8% - even before these cuts take effect.

Sen. Angus King (I) and Rep. Mike Michaud (D) voted "yea" for the Farm bill which contains these food cuts; Rep. Chellie Pingree (D) and Sen. Susan Collins (R) voted "nay". The U.S. House passed the measure 251-166 Jan. 29; the U.S. Senate passed the measure 68-32 Feb. 6. The bill was signed into law by President Obama on Feb. 7.

In the view of the Editorial Board of the Washington Post [Feb 4], "In Congress's farm bill, the rich get richer." The bill expands crop insurance subsidies and all but guarantee beneficiaries’ revenues [agribusiness] never fall below 86 percent of their earnings during years of high crop prices. The Post asks: "Why would a president concerned about inequality endorse such welfare for the prosperous?" The New York Times [Jan. 29] felt the bill "clearly worthy of support, particularly because it will prevent austerity fanatics in future Congresses from gutting food stamps for the next five years."  The Times concluded that though the bill's "food-stamp provisions were saved from being much worse, they will still reduce benefits for too many poor people." A cynic might point out that the newspaper is employing the "canard"  used by the Democratic Party and President Obama since 2008, "we're saving you from much worse," and is used here to reinforce the mirage of a two-party system and a sympathetic president. In truth, Mr. Obama verbalizes equality while facilitating inequality. Furthermore, not at the White House, in Congress or on the editorial board of The New York Times sits a poor person or a recipient of these food stamp cuts.

The reflex reactions by both right-wing "small government" groups and left-leaning opponents of "corporate welfare" were aptly summarized in a headline by the conservative Washington Examiner, "The farm bill: Left and Right on one side; special interests and the mainstream media on the other." [Feb 3]

The bottom line of the Farm bill is that agribusiness which can most afford to lose subsidies gains them, and the poorest that can least afford to lose more, losses more. "Charities simply will not be able to make up the difference," said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America.

As the bottom drops deeper for the poor, the wealth sector reaps bonanzas. The Wall Street Journal and FactSet [Feb 3] admitted that any negative market conditions ahead "will sting a little less" for the nation's wealthiest because they had benefited from "stunning windfalls" in 2013. Twenty executives with the largest stake in S&P 500 companies had their wealth grow by a combined $80.9 billion in 2013, according to the Journal. Warren Buffett's wealth in his company increased by $12.7 billion last year bringing his total to $33.9 billion. Mark Zuckerberg's holdings in Facebook more than doubled from $11.3 billion to $23 billion; Larry Page, CEO of Google, gained $9 billion, to $26.9 billion; Sergey Brin (co-founder of Google) gained $8.8 billion, to $26.3 billion; Steve Balmer (Microsoft CEO) gained $3.6 billion, to $12.5 billion; Bill Gates gained $1.6 billion, to $13.4 billion. Gates, the world's richest person, enjoys a total net worth of $78.5 billion, up $15.8 billion from the year before.

A Bloomberg survey published in January found overall, the world’s 300 richest people saw their wealth grow by 13 percent in 2013, to $3.7 trillion, up by $524 billion. Last Fall, a report on income disparity by the Univ. of California, Berkeley, found 95% of income gains from 2009 to 2012 went to the top 1% of the earning population while other studies concluded that America's median household income has dropped by more than $4,000 since 2000, after adjusting for inflation. "Top 1 percent incomes grew by 31.4 percent while bottom 99 percent incomes grew only by 0.4 percent from 2009 to 2012," wrote Berkeley researcher Emmanuel Saez. "Hence, the top 1 percent captured 95 percent of the income gains in the first three years of the recovery [while the] top 10 percent captured 48.2 percent of income in 2012, up from the previous record, 46.6 percent, in 2011." ["Striking it Richer", Emmanuel Saez, UC Berkeley, Sep 3, '13]

"The income gap between the richest 1 percent and the rest of America last year (2012) reached the widest point since the Roaring Twenties," wrote CBS News [Sep 10, '13]. Whistle a happy tune, Gatsby lives! "The rich get richer and the poor poorer." Later, after the crash, people of the 1930's elected a president who conservative Republicans accused of eating millionaires for breakfast. Today, we have billionaires eating Americans for breakfast, lunch and dinner (as sales to them of Lamborghinis, Bentleys and Rolls-Royces soar).

"Workers aren't getting fair share of income, which is strengthening the burgeoning movement of worker protests in fast food, retail and the Occupy Movement," Tamara Draut, vice president of policy and research at public interest advocacy group Demos told CBS [Sep 10, '13]. "If you think about the notions of what Americans believe about their country, like the American dream of a broad middle class, this should be a wake-up call that this is not a good path for our democracy to be on."

Meanwhile, as numbers numb the average mind and alienate statisticians from feeling the human effects of hunger, Maine's child food insecurity rate of 22.8% continues. Tragically, it will grow worse from these cuts.

If the future belongs to the children, why are we letting them go hungry?

By Michael T Bucci

Contact: mbucci@michaelbucci.com

(c) 2013 Michael T Bucci. All Rights reserved.

(Note: responses to emails might be delayed or not met.)

Michael T Bucci is a retired public relations executive from New Jersey presently residing in New England. His essays have appeared at The Market Oracle (UK). He is the author of nine books on practical spirituality including White Book: Cerithous.

© 2014 Copyright Michael T Bucci - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2014 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Free Report - Financial Markets 2014