Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What Do Food Stamps and Luxuries Have in Common?

Due to the concentration on Wall Street while Main Street suffers, food stamp spending and luxury spending are both increasing.

From the New York Times, we find out just how many Americans now qualify for food assistance:

Food-Stamp_3d24a MARTINSVILLE, Ohio — With food stamp use at record highs and climbing every month, a program once scorned as a failed welfare scheme now helps feed one in eight Americans and one in four children.

With millions of jobs lost and major industries on the ropes, America’s array of government aid — including unemployment insurance, food stamps and cash welfare — is being tested as never before. This series examines how the safety net is holding up under the worst economic crisis in decades.

It has grown so rapidly in places so diverse that it is becoming nearly as ordinary as the groceries it buys. More than 36 million people use inconspicuous plastic cards for staples like milk, bread and cheese, swiping them at counters in blighted cities and in suburbs pocked with foreclosure signs.

Virtually all have incomes near or below the federal poverty line, but their eclectic ranks testify to the range of people struggling with basic needs. They include single mothers and married couples, the newly jobless and the chronically poor, longtime recipients of welfare checks and workers whose reduced hours or slender wages leave pantries bare.

But look, not everyone's doing poorly. In fact, the Masters of the Universe are back to their old free-spending ways, thanks to the massive government bailout funded by our tax dollars:

blingbling_f4d2d Conspicuous consumption is making a comeback on Wall Street. But no one wants to admit they're doing it.As traders and investment bankers near the finish line of what looks like a boom year for pay, some are spending money like the financial crisis never happened. From $15,000-a-week Caribbean getaways to art auctions to $200,000 platinum wristwatches that automatically adjust for leap years, signs of the good life are returning.

"What we're seeing in the last four to eight weeks is a fairly substantial uptick" in demand for extravagant purchases as Wall Street employees grow more confident that the market's steep rebound so far in 2009 will soon bring them fat bonuses, says David Arnold, senior vice president at Robb Report, a magazine targeted at the super-wealthy… [emphasis original]

Inserted from <Crooks and Liars>

There is no excuse for these crony capitalists to practice such obscene conspicuous consumption.  Financially (we’re not talking physical violence here, folks), we need to give them what Larry Craig gets in a public restroom.


the walking man said...

sorry Tom I am not giving them a blow job or a hand job, though if I had a condom I may stick it up their ass.

What bothers me about the plastic card system is it becomes even easier to commit fraud. We just had 4 store owners buying the "money" on the cards for 20 cents on the dollar.

Granted it isn't them new to the system selling their benefit for cash but it does happen often enough to be a problem. Usually sold for drug money.

TomCat said...

Mark, I see it too. In my neighborhood, I seldom go to the store without being asked to met people buy food items for me in exchange for 1/3 to 1/2 the cash. Poor as I have been, it's been tempting, but I refuse. I'd like to see federal food distribution centers, but I know that would be cost prohibitive.