From Volume 38, Issue 24 of EIR Online, Published June 17, 2011

U.S. Economic/Financial News

Food Stamps, the Last Defense Against Hunger for 45 Million Americans

June 8 (EIRNS)—During President Obama's watch, the number of Americans receiving food stamps has risen by a stunning 60%, from 28 million (9.2% of the population) in March 2008, to 44.6 million today (14.4% of the population). Those nearly 45 million people on average get a paltry $134 per month in food stamps.

What will happen if the proposed drastic cuts in the food stamp program, known as SNAP, also go through? The Republican plan of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) would cut the SNAP budget by 20%. And that Obama's proposal is to fund his wife Michele's anti-obesity campaign by taking money from the food stamp program!

It's not just the elderly and incapacitated who need food stamps these days. The percentage of total recipients who have jobs—i.e., the working poor—has leapt from 25 to 40% in the last two years.

Public Sector Job Loss Is Heart of Middle-Class Employment

June 7 (EIRNS)—Since the days of the New Deal, public sector jobs have been the instrument for elevation of the very poor—especially women and minorities—out of poverty. After a "normal" recession, it has been public hiring which has led the way in the "recovery." One analyst estimates that every public sector job generates 1.3 in the private sector. Under Obama, that trend has been reversed. Without Glass-Steagall, and food price controls, it may be permanent.

In the wake of the disastrous May unemployment figures, various sources are facing up to the significance of this loss.

"Public schools alone accounted for nearly 40% of the nation's total public sector job losses in the last year," said Robert Reich today, bemoaning the lack of Federal action on this front. A report from the California Budget Project indicates that the recession erased more than half the jobs that single mothers had gained in the state in the last 10 years. Nearly 21% of the nation's working black adults hold (or held) government jobs, with public agencies being the single largest employer for black men, and the second largest for black women.

CBO Says Fannie/Freddie Bailout Is Double Administration Figure

June 6 (EIRNS)—In a stinging rebuke to President Obama, the Congressional Budget Office filed a report on June 2, saying that the government's bailout of Barney Frank's "housing" pets, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is $317 billion, more than twice the Administration's oft-repeated figure of $130 billion. In testimony before Paul Ryan's House Budget Committee, CBO financial analyst Deborah Lucas confirmed what EIR has claimed all along, that the Office of Management and Budget was accounting for only the immediate payments that the Treasury made to the GSEs, and conveniently overlooking the reality that they still had more loan subsidies to which they (the taxpayer) could be held accountable for.

In an acknowledgment of the continuing collapse, the CBO's report noted that, in August 1999, it had found that this "fair market value" figure was only $291 billion, increasing $26 billion in a mere 18 months. Within the next ten years, CBO expects these costs to increase another $42 billion. The reality is, that even this $359 billion projection is vastly understated, since there is currently no "bottom" to the housing market.

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