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One response to “The New Normal? Over 1 Million Americans Enter Poverty In Last Two Months”

  1. MulroyBay

    The underlying argument here is that if the economy improves, food stamp eligibility will decrease. That is not necessarily true. The economy can improve though Increased productivity without increasing employment, Increased employment does not mean a decrease in the number of working Americans who qualify for food stamps. (Note: Food stamp eligibility does not mean poverty. That is a false equivalency for partisan effect- a standard tactic on both left and right.)

    In almost half of all cases (47.9%) food stamps are a subsidy to low wage employers, providing supplemental income to those who only work part time or full-time supporting families. Perhaps if we cut back, it would force the WalMarts and PapaJohns of the world to pay more. Unfortunately the US has never been high on depriving food for children and the disabled (86% of cases) as a form of economic experiment.

    There is a very real problem in the disconnect between productivity and employment. Automation, interconnection and globalization are driving huge displacements. High school graduates who once could make a middle class wage in manufacturing have been made redundant. Even some of the 25% of the US who have degrees- engineers and programmers- have seen their US work outsourced to lower cost, equally skilled international competitors. (The lack of process maturity of corporate management has been the biggest check on this trend. No sense dealing with a Level 5 outsourcer if your executives are Level 0.)

    This is not Obama’s problem, even if it is his challenge. These trends were haunting the Bush administration before the 2008 economic collapse. That catastrophe forced a huge retrenchment that functioned as a sort of reengineering. Jobs that existed as a result of organizational inertia were wiped out and are not coming back, no matter who is President.

    Romney lost, in part, because it looked like he didn’t care. He made his living making hard, cost-cutting decisions that either killed or cured the companies he invested in. Obama won, in part, because he cared.

    Caring about something doesn’t mean you magically have the capability to address it.

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