By now I'm sure many of you have seen the April 1 headline/cover from The Independent newspaper in the UK heralding the pending "Great Depression" in the United States. They base their story on the number of American filing for Food Stamps. And of course, several major media outlets in the US jumped on the story with glee.
But there's a little something they failed to mention.
NYT, CBS & The Independent All Mislead on Record Food Stamp Use
Many media outlets have hyped projected 2008 food stamp usage as a “record high,” but as FNC's Brit Hume pointed out Wednesday night in showcasing a particularly misleading take in The Independent in London, a higher percent of Americans were on food stamps “back in the Clinton years.” Hume showcased the London paper's Tuesday front page headline, “United States of America 2008: The Great Depression,” which asserted that 28 million on food stamps in the U.S. represents “the highest level since the program was introduced in the 1960's.” Hume noted:
But critics suggest, however, that that number is misleading since 28 million people would be just 9.2 percent of all Americans. Back in the Clinton years, food stamp distribution reached at an all-time high of almost 10 and a half percent in 1993 and 1994 and 10 percent in 1995.
The Independent matched Monday's front page New York Times article, “As Jobs Vanish and Prices Rise, Food Stamp Use Nears Record,” in which Erik Eckholm asserted “the number of Americans receiving food stamps is projected to reach 28 million in the coming year, the highest level since the aid program began in the 1960s...” Lifting that story, on Monday's CBS Evening News reporter Bill Whitaker ominously intoned: “With jobs declining and prices for basics -- food, fuel, medicine -- on the rise, more Americans are expected to turn to food stamps in the next year than at any time since the program began in the 1960s.”
The April 1 story in The Independent, by David Usborne in New York, began: “Food stamps are the symbol of poverty in the US. In the era of the credit crunch, a record 28 million Americans are now relying on them to survive -- a sure sign the world's richest country faces economic crisis.”
Story continues at above link.
It's also important to point out that despite the ascertain in the story that "jobs are declining", unemployment has held steady in the US and is still well below unemployment rates in many European countries. In addition, food stamp eligibility has been expanded (under a Republican administration no less) and significantly more marketing of the program has taken place in recent years.
Big shock. BTW, is that a legit newspaper over there? Always seemed a bit tabloidish...
America is in a tough place right now regardless if that is true or not. It was afterall posted on April 1st. It is believed that we are close to a recession. I believe we will eventually, in my eyes, people are buying more than they earn, using credit cards, and taking out massive home loans they will never be able to pay back. And im pretty sure people in the goverment have their hand in some of these pockets, so I dont see this "crisis" going in a good direction for a long time.
IMO these ops should be allowed to fail, except maybe that bear-stearns one... but to bail thes douchebag companies out after all of their failings is not such a great thing... How can you hold someone accountable and then bail them out when they do bad things... Airline industry after 9/11... financials now... All based on what could be argued as their failings. With the sub-prime thing... Blame is on both parties. A lot of lying on their parts... "Suuuuuure you can afford it..." and alot of ignorance on the borrower... "I can? Where do I sign?" Without thinking it through. Also, being as Im searching for a home as we speak, Im getting some pretty bad feelings regarding realtors and their zeal for driving up costs...
Good comments all and nice lead Rafter. The thing is if one part of the world suffers economic depression, it does have a domino affect on the other parts of the world, particularly if the US is involved. When Japan's stock market is squirrelly, the NY Stock Exchange usually follows suit.
The media has been trumping-up American Economic malaise since 2001. All I know, is I've been able to get a job when I've wanted to. But since we're apparently in a depression:
"That dern gov'ment dun tuk my jerb! Now I'll haveta gunna git back inta drivin da white lightning frum Giles counti to dem dern citi slickers in Roanoke 'n Richman! Damn dem fuggin gov'ment types! Curse that Huver-Bush devil!"
One thing people don't get is that economies outgrow themselves.... Every time we have had a period of rapid growth (1980s, 2003-2007, 1960s, etc...) we suffer from the syndrome of 2 steps forward, one step back. Recessions have hit this country about once ever 10 years, last for a year or so, then the country continues to grow. Its a normal part of the economic process. Certain sectors (dot com for instance) outgrow themselves in a bull economy, and because of this, their bubbles eventually burst, resulting in a bear economy. However, the recession never goes back to the original starting point of the growth. Instead, it only creeps back to about where the economy should be at the time, then once reset there, the economy goes back to growing. Its just how it works. Yes, we're in a recession right now, but that's NORMAL. Thing is, as usual, the media never understands history, they ignore it. The old adage that history repeats itself is NEVER wrong.
stylie;4287845Big shock. BTW, is that a legit newspaper over there? Always seemed a bit tabloidish...
Well it's not the Sun if that's what you're asking. I don't know where it falls in the media hierarchy, but it was deemed important enough to be picked up by the NYT and CBS.
And I agree that the economy certainly isn't as robust as it has been in the past few years, but it's not as bad as it's being portrayed in the media. The point that there only seems to be a homeless problem when a Republican is in the White House certainly seems to hold true.
Some sectors of the economy are struggling, while others are still holding strong and in some cases booming. But this desire to essentially "talk ourselves" into a recession is just mind boggling. Frankly I think a lot of it is political. I saw a CNN poll last week where something like 75% of the respondents said the economy would be better "next year" - i.e. when someone else is in the White House.
Is 232 years too soon for social upheaval and complete destruction and then rebuilding of the American Nation? Seriously, we need every single politician to get AIDS (we've have 100 cures within the month) and die. Then we can start over. No way in hell is America going to come back from the all lobbyists and over corporate fatcats who rule this country unless something huge happens. Elect only qualified people to government offices, imprison anyone trying to buy or sell votes/bills/etc, and impart strict laws on corporations limiting their income. The rich should be paying much more money to the government (percentage wise) than anyone else. If anyone person starts to make too much money/become too powerful, take all their money away and use it for the good of mankind. This includes the president.
You know, that or have the Apocalypse right now. We need to really start over. I'm really hoping a meteor, gamma radiation, incurable disease or other calamity wipes out most, if not all of human existence within my lifetime. I would be eternally happy.
Oh man I hope your being sarcastic....