Recovery: One In Five Americans Report Struggling To Buy Food
There are problems with surveys like this, mostly in that the “struggles” in question are often pretty subjective. For instance, a household that spends mightily on smart phone plans and satellite television might report “struggling” to buy food because they’ve got all the wrong priorities.
But that said, this Gallup survey does seem to indicate a disconnect between the government’s economic measures and the economic realities Americans are dealing with.
When asked by the Gallup organization, “Have there been times in the last twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?” more people answered “Yes” in the third and fourth quarters of 2011 (19.2% and 19.4%) than in any period since the fourth quarter of 2008.
While the fourth quarter of 2011 saw more robust employment growth, a positive development which has continued in early 2012, economic progress in 2011 was painfully slow for tens of millions. Unemployment and underemployment rates stayed high. Median weekly earnings for wage and salary workers (adjusted for inflation) were lower in the fourth quarter of 2011 than in 2010.
And particularly damaging to any recovery in food security was the rate of food inflation. While the overall inflation rate remained subdued, food inflation, especially for the types of cooking-from-scratch foods the government uses to construct its cheapest hypothetical diet, the Thrifty Food Plan, rose fairly rapidly.
Again, these surveys have their problems, but it’s hard not to see some validity in these results when it’s clear that unemployment rates are only declining in so far as participation in the labor force is hitting near-record lows.
The unemployment rate is “improving” only in so far as millions of Americans have given up looking for work.
But remember, food stamps create jobs according to Obama’s current Secretary of Agriculture. And Obama should be proud of being the food stamps president, according to Jesse Jackson.Tags: Barack Obama, Economy, food stamps, jesse jackson, jobs, tom vilsack