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USA – OBAMANATION = WELFARENATION / Another 1st, Record levels: 46 Million on Food Stamps for 36 Months in a Row / Plus, What recovery? More than ever feel American Dream Is Out of Reach!

46 Million on Food Stamps for 36 Months in a Row

by Wynton Hall 9 Dec 2014

For the first time in U.S. history, food stamp enrollments have been above 46 million for 36 months in a row.

According to newly released numbers from the United States Department of Agriculture (which oversees the food stamp program), food stamp enrollments in September 2011 were 46,268,250 and never fell below 46 million up and through September 2014 (the most recent month for which numbers are available), when 46,459,998 individuals received food stamps.

The 36 unbroken months of food stamps enrollments above 46 million paints an economic portrait of a citizenry frozen in place.

President Barack Obama, however, sees it otherwise.

“By every economic measure, we are better off now than when I took office,” said Obama in October.

Indeed, under Obama, food stamp enrollments have skyrocketed. Since January 2009, the number of individuals on food stamps has skyrocketed from 31.9 million to the 46,459,998 who receive them today.

Many Feel the American Dream Is Out of Reach, Poll Shows
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Despite an improving economy and jobs picture, the public is more pessimistic than it was after the 2008 financial crisis that it is possible to work hard and become rich, according to a New York Times poll.

The poll, which explored Americans’ opinions on a wide range of economic and financial issues, found that only 64 percent of respondents said they still believed in the American dream, the lowest result in roughly two decades. Even near the depth of the financial crisis in early 2009, 72 percent of Americans still believed that hard work could result in riches.

“Things have changed a lot,” Michael Herdmann, a 54-year-old retired public works employee from Fairview Park, Ohio, said in a follow-up interview. “The decks have been stacked against not only the lower class but also the lower middle class.”

“The modern-day politician has lost track of why the welfare programs were put in place,” he added. “They don’t understand that part of the reason we help the poor to buy food was also to help fund the farmers. They have systemically reduced most of what was there to help the poor.”

The significant drop in faith comes as the nation added 321,000 jobs last month and average hourly earnings for ordinary workers increased much more than expected. The economy is also being buoyed by a drop in oil prices, putting more money in the pockets of average Americans as the holiday season approaches.

Notwithstanding the bleaker view of upward mobility, the majority of those polled said they were more concerned about the possibility that too much regulation in Washington could stymie the economy than they were about the prospect of inequality. Fifty-four percent of respondents said that “over-regulation that may interfere with economic growth” was a bigger problem than “too little regulation that may create an unequal distribution of wealth.” Only 38 percent said that too little regulation posed a bigger problem.

That answer was particularly noteworthy given the persistent concerns among economists and politicians from both parties about a growing gap between the wealthiest Americans and the middle class.

“I don’t know what you mean by an unequal distribution of wealth,” said Robert Monti, a 74-year-old retired social studies teacher from Niagara Falls, N.Y., who identified himself as “a registered Democrat but haven’t voted Democrat in years.” “It’s a proven fact that everybody can’t make the same amount of money, and it’s a ridiculous assumption that they can. You’ll never have economic equality. Ever.”

Still, the poll showed that a slim 52 percent majority of Americans think the country’s economic system is fair, giving everyone an equal opportunity to succeed; 45 percent think it is unfair. Those with higher household incomes were more likely to believe the system is fair.
The definition of “rich” appears to vary greatly. Twenty-six percent of respondents in the Northeast said that an annual income of $100,000 to $199,000 constituted a “rich” family. In the Midwest, 22 percent of respondents said a family earning less than $100,000 could be considered “rich.” Only 7 percent of Americans think a family of four needs a seven-figure annual household income to be considered rich.

Almost half of Americans polled rated the nation’s economy as good — a 9 percentage-point improvement since a year ago. But a plurality think the economy is stagnating rather than improving or worsening, perhaps because most — nearly six in 10 — report their own household financial situation as staying the same. More than three-quarters say they are concerned about having enough money for retirement, with those between the ages of 30 and 64 most concerned.

Despite widespread gains by Republicans in the midterm elections, neither party appears to hold a significant edge on its handling of the economy or job creation. Americans are divided along party lines, while independents think Republicans are more likely to do a better job on both, the poll showed.

As the economy has improved, so too has Americans’ view of the stock market. Some 70 percent of Americans view the stock market as “risky,” but that was down from 2008, when 79 percent said it was “risky.” Only a slim majority — 52 percent — thinks the stock market unfairly benefits rich investors at the expense of average Americans.

Still, almost six years after the height of the financial crisis, Americans’ wariness about the banking industry that was at its center remains. Only 4 percent of respondents said they had “a lot” of confidence “in Wall Street bankers and brokers,” though 31 percent said they had “some” confidence in Wall Street. Nonetheless, 44 percent said they trusted their own bank “a lot,” and 37 percent said they trusted their banks “some.”
“We are in a period of general distrust of institutions, and banks are in particularly weak position after the economic meltdown in 2008-2009, including congressional investigations and legislative actions,” said Michael Traugott, a professor of political science at the University of Michigan. In explaining how Americans could distrust Wall Street yet trust their own bank, Professor Traugott said: “Virtually everyone operates with a local bank (no one is keeping money under their mattress anymore), so they have to have greater faith in place where they have checking, savings and credit cards. And the system works for them in their daily lives.”

That may be the case, but Americans are worried about the security of their accounts, especially online. Nearly nine in 10 Americans polled say they are concerned that their personal information — Social Security number, cellphone number or bank account numbers — might be stolen. Four in five are apprehensive about retailers’ ability to keep their personal information secure when making purchases. That comes as huge retailers like Home Depot and Target have suffered hacking attacks. Two in five respondents said they had aborted an online purchase because of security concerns.

The nationwide telephone poll was conducted Dec. 4 to 7 with 1,006 adults on landline and cellphones and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

Marina Stefan contributed reporting.

Poll Finds a More Bleak View of American Dream
Despite an improving economy and jobs picture, the public is more pessimistic than it was after the 2008 financial crisis that it is possible to work hard and become rich, according to a New York Times poll.

Many Feel the American Dream Is Out of Reach, Poll Shows. http://tiny.iavian.net/3lrh

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This entry was posted on December 21, 2014 by .

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