by Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse Blog:
We haven’t seen anything like this in a long time. A couple of factors are combining to push millions of Americans into a state of food insecurity. First of all, food prices have been rising aggressively throughout the past year, and so our money does not go nearly as far as it once did. Meanwhile, food stamp benefits are being slashed. The federal government had greatly enhanced food stamp benefits for many Americans during the pandemic, but now that emergency program is coming to an end. So what this means is that many Americans are going to have very little money to spend on food at a time when economic conditions are starting to get really rough.
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The Washington Post recently sent a reporter named Tim Craig to Kentucky, and he discovered that poor people are waiting in “a mile-long line” just to get some free food…
As he claimed the first spot in a mile-long line for free food in the Appalachian foothills, Danny Blair vividly recalled receiving the letter announcing that his pandemic-era benefit to help buy groceries was about to be slashed.
Kentucky lawmakers had voted to end the state’s health emergency last spring, by default cutting food stamp benefits created to help vulnerable Americans like Blair weather the worst of covid-19. Instead of $200 a month, he would get just $30.
Blair actually gets up at 4 AM in the morning so that he can be first in line for these handouts.
On the Friday that the reporter from the Washington Post interviewed him, he ended up staying in that line for nine hours.
I couldn’t imagine waiting in line for that long, but Blair feels like this is what he and his wife must do in order to survive…
He crumpled up the letter and threw it on the floor of his camper.
“I thought, ‘Wow, the government is trying to kill us now,’” said Blair, 63, who survives on his Social Security disability check and lives in a mobile home with his wife after their house burned down five years ago. “They are going to starve us out.”
Blair and his wife hop into their truck twice a month at 4 a.m. to ensure they get a few staples at the Hazel Green Food Project’s giveaway. On a recent Friday, they waited nine hours until local prisoners on work duty started loading bags of meat and vegetables, potato chips and cookies into vehicles in one of the nation’s most impoverished communities.
Sadly, there are countless others out there that are in the same position.
The Post also interviewed another man named Henry Tolsen that openly admitted that he is so poor that the day before he “only ate a bowl of cereal and a can of peaches”…
“Yesterday, I only ate a bowl of cereal and a can of peaches,” said Tolsen, as he turned off his truck to save gas until the line started moving again. “I would like to be able to eat bacon and eggs, biscuits and gravy for breakfast, a decent lunch, and a homegrown supper like I used to.”
This is the country that we live in now.
Once upon a time, we had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world, but now the middle class is being systematically destroyed.
The cost of living is increasing faster than our paychecks are, and that means that our standard of living is going down.
For example, it is being reported that housing is more unaffordable right now than it was at any time during the last housing crash…
The Atlanta Fed’s Housing Affordability Monitor, which compares median home prices and other housing costs with median household income, shows that housing affordability is worse today than during the peak of the 2008 housing bubble. As of December, the median American household would have to spend about 42.9% of their income to afford the median-priced house, according to the index.
Auto loans have become extremely oppressive as well, and now that the economy is going downhill the number of Americans getting behind on their payments is rapidly increasing…
Borrowers with low credit scores are falling behind on their car loan payments as inflation eats away at consumer spending power.
A report from Cox Automotive found 1.89% of auto loans in January were “severely delinquent” and at least 60 days behind payment, the highest rate since 2006.
Unfortunately, this is just the beginning.
We are in the early chapters of a major economic downturn, and the tsunami of layoffs that we have been witnessing is going to get a lot worse.
In fact, we just learned that Salesforce will be giving the axe to approximately 8,000 highly valued workers…
Salesforce, the cloud-based “customer relationship management” software colossus co-helmed by the definitely-not-Hawaiian Marc Benioff, is the latest in a slew of tech giants to lay off thousands of employees, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Per the WSJ, the company will be letting go of 8,000 members from its massive workforce, formerly referred to by Benioff — who, again, is definitely not Hawaiian — as the “Salesforce ohana,” ohana being the Hawaiian name for “family.” (Salesforce stepped away from using that and other Hawaiian terminology and practices back in 2019 due to cultural appropriation concerns.)
The economic despair that we are already witnessing should break all of our hearts, but it is just the tip of the iceberg.
As economic conditions continue to deteriorate, the suffering that we will eventually see will be off the charts.