The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money. – Alexis de TocquevilleThe monthly Government report for August on food stamp usage was conveniently released, on a delayed basis supposedly because of the storm, after the election. The food stamp usage numbers are beginning to go beyond shocking. August saw close to half a million more people added to the food stamp usage list, the largest increase in a year. 47.1 million people and 22.6 million households in this country are now using food stamps. Zerohedge has compiled some nice charts, which you can see here: LINK
According the latest Census reports, there's 311 million people in this country and 114 million households. As of the August food stamp report, 15.1% of the population and 19.8% of the households are using food stamps. Nearly 1 out of every 6 people and nearly 1 in 5 households are using food stamps. To put this in perspective, next time you are driving thru a standard middle class housing development, know that roughly 1 out of every 5 homes is using food stamps. I don't know about anyone else, but this fact blows my mind.
Even more staggering is that food stamp usage is becoming more common among college students: LINK Please note that the linked article is from the Washington Post, so know that any possible positive "spin" has put on the facts. What the article does not talk about is the fact that student loan usage hits a new record every month - with $1 trillion in outstanding student loans guaranteed by the Government now. In essence, it's becoming more common that the taxpayer is now financing 100% of the entire college experience for a growing number of students.
I guess in an ideal world, it's great that someone who can't put food on the table is able to get assistance from the Government for this purpose. Please note: "an ideal world." Unfortunately, not only do we not live in an ideal world, but the financial condition of the country we do live in is approaching catastrophic conditions. Not only can we not afford to pay for food stamps and finance college tuition, but even if the Government stopped all spending except that which is "mandatory" it would still be operating at a deficit.
Blogger Simon Black has written an excellent piece which puts the raw numbers into black and white. Mandatory Govt spending encompasses anything required by law and everything else is "discretionary." Surprisingly, "discretionary" expenditures include: "nearly everything we think of related to government– the US military, Air Force One, the Department of Homeland Security, TSA agents who sexually assault passengers, etc."
He goes on to run the math on the mandatory vs. discretionary spending, and if we cut out all spending except for things like social security, medicare and Treasury debt interest we are still left with a $250 billion spending deficit. Just think about that for a minute and understand that military spending is not part of the "mandatory" category.
I recommend that everyone read Mr. Black's brief essay: LINK He's an ex-pat living in South America. I've been reading his work for quite some time and it's excellent analysis usually devoid of any hyperbole or political spin. After you read it, you'll understand why neither Romney or Obama could articulate some kind of gameplan to address this country's catastrophic fiscal condition. I honestly believe that voters voted Obama back into office because they figured his puppeteers wouldn't loot the system quite as quickly as would Romney his handlers.
The bottom line with all of this is that either the Government is going to have to print a whole helluva lot more paper money over the next four years or our economic and financial system will collapse. Moreover, and probably an even stronger argument for the "more printing" view, unless the Government keeps printing there's 47.1 million food stamp recipients who will start rioting in the streets. That's why Mr. de Tocqueville, the quote at the top, said what he said about the United States and that's why gold and silver are going a lot higher in price...