Saturday, November 2, 2013
Robert Reich: Today, more than 47 million Americans lose some or all of their food stamp benefits
Today, more than 47 million Americans lose some or all of their food stamp benefits because Congress can’t agree on a new farm bill. Most are in families whose breadwinners have a job but the job doesn’t pay enough to lift them out of poverty. Almost 22 percent of America’s children are now poor, and the typical family continues to lose ground. In fact, most Americans are still hurting: In the most recent Washington Post-ABC poll, 75 percent rated the state of the economy as “negative” or “poor.” So why does Congress continue to whack away at services so many Americans desperately need? Why is all the discussion in Washington about deficits instead of about jobs and inequality? I blame Republicans but Democrats in Washington bear some of the responsibility. In last year’s fiscal cliff debate neither party pushed to extend the payroll tax holiday or find other ways to help the working middle class and working poor. Here’s a clue: A new survey of families in the top 10 percent of net worth (done by the American Affluence Research Center) shows they’re feeling better than they’ve felt since 2007, before the Great Recession -- largely because they own 80 percent of the stock market, and the stock market is up 24 percent this year. The top 10 percent provide almost all campaign contributions. And almost all members of Congress are drawn from their ranks. The bottom 90 percent of Americans -- most of whom are still suffering from the Great Recession -- are less and less visible.