Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.US Paving the Way for Massive First Strike on North Korea Nuclear and Missile Infrastructure - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Trump Reset: US War With China, North Korea Nuclear Flashpoint - Video - Nadeem_Walayat
3.Silver Junior Mining Stocks 2017 Q2 Fundamentals - Zeal_LLC
4.Soaring Inflation Plunges UK Economy Into Stagflation, Triggers Government Pay Cap Panic! - Nadeem_Walayat
5.The Bitcoin Blueprint To Your Financial Freedom - Sean Keyes
6.North Korea 'Begging for War', 'Enough is Enough', is a US Nuclear Strike Imminent? - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Bitcoin Hits All-Time High and Smashes Through $5,000 As Gold Shows Continued Strength - Jeff_Berwick
8.2017 is NOT "Just Another Year" for the Stock Market: Here's Why - EWI
9.Gold : The Anatomy of the Bottoming Process - Rambus_Chartology
10.Bitcoin Falls 20% as Mobius and Chinese Regulators Warn - GoldCore
Last 7 days
Here’s Why Turkey Can’t Stay Out Of Syria - 25th Sep 17
Hidden Gems Shows A Foreboding Stock Market Future - 25th Sep 17
10 Reason You Should Use Ridesharing To Save Money - 25th Sep 17
Commodities King Gartman Says Gold Soon Reach $1,400 As Drums of War Grow Louder - 25th Sep 17
Stock Market Mixed Expectations, Will Stocks Continue Higher? - 25th Sep 17
22 charts and 52 questions that will make you Buy Gold - 25th Sep 17
Speculation Favors Overall Higher Silver Prices - 25th Sep 17
The Advertising Breakthrough Revolutionizing Gaming - 25th Sep 17
Stock Market Forming a Reluctant Top - 25th Sep 17
Grid Forex Strategy - All You Need to Know - 25th Sep 17
Catalonia, Kurdistan, Patriotism, Flags and Referendums - 24th Sep 17
Two Key Indicators Show the S&P 500 Becoming the New ‘Cash’ - 24th Sep 17
The Felling of Sheffield's Big Street Trees 2017 - Dobcroft Road - 24th Sep 17
Advantages of Forex Trading - 24th Sep 17
Stocks, Gold, Dollar, Bitcoin Markets Analysis - 23rd Sep 17
How Will We Be Affected by a Series of Rate Hikes? - 23rd Sep 17
Fed Quantitative Tightening Impact on Stocks and Gold - 22nd Sep 17
Bitcoin & Blockchain: All Hype or Part of a Financial Revolution? - 22nd Sep 17
Pensions and Debt Time Bomb In UK: £1 Trillion Crisis Looms - 22nd Sep 17
Will North Korea Boost Gold Prices? Part I - 22nd Sep 17
USDJPY Leads the way for a Resurgent Greenback - 22nd Sep 17
Day Trading Guide for Dummies - 22nd Sep 17
Short-Term Uncertainty, As Stocks Fluctuate Along Record Highs - 21st Sep 17
4 Reasons Gold is Starting to Look Attractive as Cryptocurrencies Falter - 21st Sep 17
Should Liners Invest in Shipping Software Solutions and Benefits of Using Packaged Shipping Software - 21st Sep 17
The 5 Biggest Bubbles In Markets Today - 20th Sep 17
Infographic: The Everything Bubble Is Ready to Pop - 20th Sep 17
Americans Don’t Grasp The Magnitude Of The Looming Pension Tsunami That May Hit Us Within 10 Years - 20th Sep 17
Stock Market Waiting Game... - 20th Sep 17
Precious Metals Sector is on Major Buy Signal - 20th Sep 17
US Equities Destined For Negative Returns In The Next 7 Years - 3 Assets To Invest In Instead - 20th Sep 17
Looking For the Next Big Stock? Look at Design - 20th Sep 17
Self Employed? Understanding Business Insurance - 19th Sep 17
Stock Market Bubble Fortunes - 19th Sep 17
USD/CHF – Verification of Breakout or Further Declines? - 19th Sep 17
Blockchain Tech: Don't Say You Didn't Know - 19th Sep 17
The Fed’s 2% Inflation Target Is Pointless - 19th Sep 17
How To Resolve the Korean Conundrum  - 19th Sep 17
A World Doomed to a Never Ending War - 19th Sep 17
What is Backtesting? And Why You Need Backtesting System? - 19th Sep 17

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

3 Videos + 8 Charts = Opportunities You Need to See - Free

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.


© 2005-2017 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

Catching a Falling Financial Knife