The difference between investing in the dollar store economy and living in it: 20 percent of Americans now receiving food stamps. Dollar stores become a growth industry and top one percent gobble up all income gains after recession.
Lost in the tireless cheerleading for the stock market which in reality, is largely a sophisticated sham for most Americans, we had a report from the Department of Agriculture that should put things into perspective.
In the latest release of data for November 2012 (released in February 2013), the report noted that 141,067 Americans were added to the food stamp program known as SNAP. This is a massive increase at a time when the stock market is soaring to near record highs. For the record, the S&P 500 went up 0.28% for the month of November while we added a stunning 141,067 Americans in the same month to the food stamp program. This brings our current total to 47.69 million Americans that now rely on food stamps. To highlight our growing structural issues we now have a mind jarring 20 percent of our civilian non-institutional population on food stamps. What does this truly say about our economy?
The rapid rise in food stamp usage
While the overall unemployment rate has fallen, helped by many hiding from the recession in college
and others entering into retirement, the usage of food stamps has remained incredibly high and has increased dramatically even when the official recession ended in the middle of 2009:
This is a troubling trend. In 2007 the number of Americans on food stamps was roughly 11 percent. We have nearly doubled that amount while the stock market inches back to near record levels. Something tells me that these Americans on food stamps are not necessarily partaking in the speculative fervor that is currently unfolding.