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Obamanomics: One in Five Struggle to Buy Food

by Keith Koffler on February 29, 2012, 9:35 am

More Americans are having trouble buying food than in any year since the start of the financial crisis, according to a report by the Food Research and Action Center, evidence that while a mild economic recovery is happening on paper, it’s not being substantially felt in the country.

From the report:

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.

President Obama is making the economic recovery a key plank of his reelection campaign, saying that while more needs to be done, the country is on the right track.

But underlying trends may have more to do with how people perceive the recovery. The study suggests that the improving numbers on the economy may generally be telling a different story than that which many Americans are experiencing.

Obama East Room 2

I could always provide another government handout if you need it. Photo by Keith Koffler

If the price of food is going up, people with jobs will feel less secure and those who are getting them less satisfied. And employment increases accompanied by wage declines aren’t going to win the president much love.

The increasing price of gasoline will only hit food prices harder, since food must be transported. And gas prices will further deplete the power of people’s wages, as more money is devoted to filling up the tank.

Recent polling does point to a growing number of people who think the country is on the right track as the unemployment rate moves down. But the percentage is still well short of those who think things are on the wrong track and has only risen to the levels of early last year.

Obama may have to forget the economy altogether and do class warfare full time.

And let’s just say for the record, if growing numbers of people were finding it difficult to afford food under George W. Bush, there would be and endless chorus of harrumphing about how Bush’s policies were oppressing the poor and tearing apart “the fabric of our country.”

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Janice/Granny Jan February 29, 2012 at 9:55 am

I think the White House is feeling the pinch at the supermarket that we are all feeling. Why do you think they served crab mac and cheese instead of the usual lobster mac and cheese at the Governor’s Ball? Times are tough.

It will be interesting to see tonight’s menu in honor the troops is similarly parsimonious. /s

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Mike C February 29, 2012 at 10:36 am

I want to know if they are going to put those little flags on the food to specify food groups and such like I guess they have to do now in mess halls? Like, ok, I can take a bullet, but I don’t know what food I should be eating. MOOCHELLE

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DeniseVB February 29, 2012 at 10:39 am

I’m wondering how Obama can honor the troops with a straight face.

Apologizing to terrorists, cutting their benefits and taking comfort foods out of their mess halls ? Yeah, that’s supporting all right.

The lucky ones attending tonight:

http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=15081

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Just2old February 29, 2012 at 11:36 am

I’m surprised LtCol(ret) Alan West wasn’t on the list….go figure!

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Just2old February 29, 2012 at 11:38 am

Just another empty jesture/campaign stunt/photo-op

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AFVET February 29, 2012 at 3:55 pm

“I’m wondering how Obama can honor the troops with a straight face.”
Easy,… he’s a liar, a con man, a charlatan.
He has no soul.

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sablegsd February 29, 2012 at 10:35 pm

He has a soul. It’s owned and operated by satan.

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nelly February 29, 2012 at 10:15 am

But, of course, the powers that be don’t include the upward climb of cost of food in their estimates of inflation. It is not so much that gasoline/food is more expensive, it is that the dollar is increasingly worth less and less. Soon we will need a wheelbarrow full to pay for a tank of gas or a bag of groceries. Welcome to the Weimer Republic everyone!!

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Jojo February 29, 2012 at 11:00 am

And I believe that is definition of Inflation isn’t it? A dollar that is worth less and less… Gonna be really good if China finally succeeds in removing the dollar as the gold standard, then it will take a truck full to pay for a gallon of gas.

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Car in February 29, 2012 at 10:25 am

The powers-that-be are fooling themselves if they think the economy is getting better. The 1% may be “back”, but down here the absolute rest of us are struggling. Small businesses are still really struggling .

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Lanie February 29, 2012 at 10:35 am

The food banks are having difficulty getting fresh vegetables and other food that has to be trucked in to their locations because of the high gas prices. Yet Steven Chu, Energy Secretary, is very happy gas prices are so high. After all, engineering our movement is just as important as engineering our thoughts, acts, use of tobacco, and food choices to the liberal. And if a few hundred, thousand, or million people die due to their engineering, that’s the price that has to be paid.

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brstevens February 29, 2012 at 10:38 am

You know people of Steven Chu’s ilk also believe the world is far too populated, so don’t be so sure that loss of life isn’t part of their engineering…

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Mike C February 29, 2012 at 10:39 am

Historically, when a dictator such as Mao takes over, millions die of starvation. sort of a cleansing mechanism, no?

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Susan February 29, 2012 at 10:48 am

So true. Those who do not conform to the rules of the state are always the first to go…

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ol gator February 29, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Well said my comrades… better stock up on walmart pork & beans while we can ! thought about starting up a Victory garden but dont have the recourses to protect from veggie looters.

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ol gator February 29, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I meant resources …

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Susan February 29, 2012 at 5:55 pm

The squirrels and deer are the only veggie looters I’ve had in my garden ;-)

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Shofar February 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Lanie – I can add one more thing to the pile of BS the liberals are spewing. An article from the Blaze – http://www.theblaze.com/stories/journal-of-medical-ethics-stands-by-publication-of-after-birth-abortions-article/

Quoting from the article: “Yesterday, The Blaze reported the logic of two ethicists who suggested that termination of a newborn — a practice they called “after-birth abortion” — should be allowable on the basis of newborns having the same status of that of fetuses.”

Is this where we are really heading? The enviro-whack jobs condemn cutting down an old tree, but the left will sanction the murder of a new born because it really isn’t a “person”?

GOD HELP US!

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Susan February 29, 2012 at 2:06 pm

These so-called “ethicists” are more disgusting than Mengele.

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Star February 29, 2012 at 10:46 am

I cringed when I read this thinking the comments would be how people are living high on food stamps but I see it took a different direction. Whew.Many people have “food issues” who never had them before–my family is one group. I get food anxiety–sort of can’t breathe in all the way–my business of freelance writing has gone in the tank (3 yrs ago) and is horrible. Even Costco’s magazine just CUT rates. I am disabled and can’t get another job…so…here we are. Thanks for going into this, Keith. This is one reason I come to this site. I fyou are doing OK, please contribute to your local food bank.

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Car in February 29, 2012 at 10:58 am

I do think the problem is more complicated than that Star. Many, many people are struggling. There is a moocher culture out there too. WHen I see people using foodstamps to buy foods I don’t buy -because it’s too expensive … I simply know that no every body “really” needs that aid. If they did, they’d be a lot smarter with how they spent it.

We’re going to turn into Greece if we don’t get people working again – and working in the PRIVATE sector. Otherwise – Greece.

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Car in February 29, 2012 at 10:59 am

God, I’m barely making sense. COld/flu here is bad.

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Jojo February 29, 2012 at 11:03 am

You make perfect sense… I do wonder what will happen in the world when the US is nearing default…

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Susan February 29, 2012 at 11:22 am

You make perfect sense Car in. What troubles me the most are the poverty pimps like Jesse Jackson saying Obama should be honored to be a food stamp president…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4hSlkgnabM

Just like Greece, there will be violence in the streets of America when the money runs out.

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Star February 29, 2012 at 11:12 am

Yes–millions of people ARE struggling, day to day, hour to hour. The abuse is under 10%–the govt says under 4% if you believe them. I have been over and over this. It’s tiring to keep saying it. Yes–people need to work again–th rates of unemployment are much higher than posted.

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Car in February 29, 2012 at 11:35 am

Food stamp fraud still costs us $750 million each year – a rate that’s doubled (from $330 million in 2006-2208). The percentage may be down because more people are on ‘em. link http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-02-06/news/31028844_1_food-stamp-food-assistance-supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program

I’d say 10% abuse is pretty bad.

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Janice/Granny Jan February 29, 2012 at 11:44 am

Star, no one mentioned it except you. Now you did elicit the responses you object to. That’s unfair.

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Star February 29, 2012 at 12:06 pm

People can give any response they like.

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Shofar February 29, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Star, I’m in the same boat you are to an extent. I have been sick for over three years, and made the mistake of telling my former employer I was sick. My reward for honesty was termination. Left adrift without insurance, I ended up having to use the local public hospital – that is a nightmare for another time. I was collecting unemployment, but that is gone. But since I am single, and my unemployment was “too high an income” I did not qualify for food stamps. Never mind that my income was slashed over 50%, and I still have bills to pay, I didn’t qualify for assistance. I have cut back on virtually everything I can. No cable TV, no fancy car – a 1995 Dodge with 236K mile, putting off buying anything but the necessities to survive. My medications alone cost me over $400 per month, nearly half of what my unemployment was.

I have applied to literally hundreds of jobs, but even with my qualifications and education, I run into a brick wall due to my illness. Now I am waiting to see if I can qualify for disability, and that is another nightmare.

I have ended up using the local food pantries to provide the basic staples. My biggest pet-peeve though is seeing people pull up in newer (model year 2010 or newer) cars, dressed in designer wear, and talking about how if it wasn’t for the food pantry, they wouldn’t be able to take a vacation this year.

Yes, there are plenty of “folks” suffering, losing homes, losing families, and losing “Hope.” But, there are also those that are scamming the system, and taking advantage of the generosity of others.

In 52 years, I cannot remember this level of despair that I hear from family and friends. Most of the people that I know and care about have cut things so close to the bone that there is no meat left. The area I live in, most of the small businesses have closed, and many of the larger chain stores are reducing hours or moving out.

And yet this administration keeps on touting how wonderful things are starting to go, and how we have turned the corner. With the way things are really going, I don’t think we have turned a corner, but may well be turned over to the coroner.

Sorry for the rant everyone – it’s been a really rough couple of days.

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Car in February 29, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Yea, it’s been a rough couple of days, weeks, years …

It’s just infuriating that “we the people” are struggling so hard, meanwhile we watch our elected officials partying with the 1% and rich and famous. Tone deaf. This usually doesn’t end well.

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MaryOhSoContrary February 29, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Shofar–over $400 per month is where we are w/Mr. Contrary’s heart/diabetes meds. I know what you are going thru…I can remember when we bought groceries for a week–now its “when my paycheck clears.”

Anyone who believes things are getting better is delusional. Does anyone fill up their tank anymore? More like how many days can I get to work on $15?

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Car in February 29, 2012 at 11:11 am

OH! 11 o’clock. Obama’s finally up and getting his briefing.

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Star February 29, 2012 at 11:14 am

Almost the crack of noon.

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Girly1 February 29, 2012 at 11:11 am

Outside of unemployment, the greatest threat to this country is inflation in food and energy prices! Spiking infklatiion at the grocery store is directly related to Obama’s draconian energy prices – we are an OIL-BASED economy! The CPI conveniently excludes the horrendous inflation in food and oil prices – thereby giving the false impression of a recovering economy! Combined with the sinking dollar – we are heading for a Weimar-style hyperinflation! Purchase your wheeobarrows now – before the prices go through the roof!

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Girly1 February 29, 2012 at 11:57 am

…..sorry, meant to say ‘Obama’s draconian energy POLICIES – not ‘prices’.

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Girly1 February 29, 2012 at 12:02 pm

“I think the White House is feeling the pinch at the supermarket that we are all feeling. Why do you think they served crab mac and cheese instead of the usual lobster mac and cheese at the Governor’s Ball? Times are tough.”

Granny Jan – I bet it was imitation crabmeat to boot! Also, it could have been due to the fact that there are more Republican governors than Dems, lol…

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Car in February 29, 2012 at 12:24 pm

OH the INHUMANITY.

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foggytoo February 29, 2012 at 5:14 pm

We are able to pay for food but certainly not of the healthy sort Junk food I see has taking up space in our kitchen that never was here before but the price of fruits and vegetables never mind fish, chicken or even meat are so out of line that the days we eat that way are rarer and rarer. I will grow some vegebables this summer but don’t have the Parks Department to do the heavy work that that entails. So I think the numbers are higher than you realize and just think if you don’t know about heriitage seeds you could end up putting genetically engineered seeds on your spot of land. No one is home in the government where they all seem to eat very well and all of the time.

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Robin H February 29, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Foggytoo, the only thing genetically altered seeds do is speed up the cross pollination process. I’m not sure what all the fuss is about them. If they are more bug resistant and can yield more per acre why is that harmful?

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