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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/12540/leading-economic-indicators-and-food-stamp-use-rising/

Leading Economic Indicators (and food stamp use) rising

April 22, 2010 by

According to government numbers the index of leading economic indicators rose for the 12th month in a row, increasing 1.4%. That’s right, the economy has been on the mend for a year now. Who knew?

“In March, seven of the 10 leading indicators were positive: the interest rate spread; average weekly manufacturing hours; index of supplier deliveries; stock prices; building permits; average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance and manufacturers’ new orders for consumer goods and materials.”

Food Stamp usage has it’s own streak going: 14 consecutive monthly increases to an all-time high of 39 million folks on food stamps. That’s a 22.4% increase from a year ago. The food stamp program has a snappy new name-SNAP-which stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. As Mish points out in his post, the cost of SNAP has increased from $31 billion in 2005 to over $53.6 billion in 2009.

{ 18 comments }

S Andrews April 22, 2010 at 1:10 pm

I can’t say anything about the sustainability of the current economic “turn around”. But I can tell you this – hiring in high tech sector has picked up steam. I get at least 3-4 solicitations through linked in. My wife is changing her job next week with a higher pay. she works in hightech too.

matskralc April 22, 2010 at 1:19 pm

They’ve also made it a lot easier to receive FS/SNAP, at least in my state (Pennsylvania). Resource limits hardly apply to anybody anymore, and the income limits have been raised significantly.

gordy three horses April 22, 2010 at 1:30 pm

get everyone hooked on the freebys but free dose not mean 0 cost, there is no recovery, only a cover up with cheep money when the fed prints more money, our dollars by less and less.

Nate April 22, 2010 at 2:26 pm

“As Mish points out in his post, the cost of SNAP has increased from $31 billion in 2005 to over $53.6 billion in 2009.”

Anyone know how much the government pays for farmers to allow their fields to go fallow?

Eric M. Staib April 23, 2010 at 8:44 pm

“Anyone know how much the government pays for farmers to allow their fields to go fallow?”

Or how much the state spends exporting U.S. grains to impoverished countries to ensure they’ll continue starving and U.S. prices will stay high?

“Impoverished” is a perfect word because it suggest that nations/peoples/areas have been acted on to be pushed into an unnatural state of poverty. For example, by socialist governments or “beneficent” foreign aid.

There is, of course, no such thing as an impoverished nation in the AnCap society, save perhaps eskimos and other groups that settle in godforsaken areas.

Byzantine April 26, 2010 at 1:22 pm

“Impoverished” is a perfect word because it suggest that nations/peoples/areas have been acted on to be pushed into an unnatural state of poverty.

I don’t disagree with your point that socialism produces poverty, but the above statement is not correct. The natural state of mankind is poverty. It is only through the intelligent refinement of materials and processes that Man is able to rise above the state of nature and produce sufficient wealth to satisfy more than his daily requirements for food, water and shelter.

Anthony Clair April 22, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Nate – are you thinking of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_Reserve_Program

Vanmind April 22, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Sure, and once everyone has government as their employer, producing “according to his/her abilities” and taking from the commons “according to his/her need,” America finally will be perfect.

Ohhh Henry April 22, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Reminds me of the constantly expanding rolls of recipients of free bread back in ancient Rome. Constantly expanding that is, until there was no more money to buy them bread and nobody could be found willing to pay the special taxes required to bribe barbarians not to sack the city.

About 5 years ago there were constant radio ads from the government on the NY state radio stations I was listening to that practically begged people to apply for food stamps. There were also ads encouraging the public to apply to FEMA for free money for practically any problem that might crop up from alien invasion to hangnails. Evidently once the printing presses are cranked up the really hard problem is how to shove the money into the funnel fast enough.

BTW, I was reading some anecdotes the other day in which people complained that in their local store they see people buying beer and cigs with their food stamps – er, SNAP benefits – all the time. You’re not just subsidizing sloth and obesity, you’re subsidizing addiction and cancer too. Bonus!

matskralc April 22, 2010 at 6:58 pm

You can’t buy alcohol or tobacco products with food stamps. However some (most?) states deposit cash assistance (i.e. welfare) benefits as a separate balance on the same debit card, and cash assistance can be used just like, well, cash. For whatever you want.

Pennsylvania has run commercials for food stamps, too. Some n00b would say something (“I heard if you have a job, you can’t get food stamps” or “I have a savings account. Could I be eligible?”) and some helpful spokesperson would tell them “of course you can have a job” or “of course you can have a savings account.” Free food for everybody!!

Ohhh Henry April 22, 2010 at 7:39 pm

The person who told this anecdote said that when he observed the people buying beer and cigs with their food stamps he asked the store owner WTF, and was told that yes was illegal but regrettably he had to do it or else they would simply go to the other stores who would be happy to oblige them.

I don’t know if this is true or exactly how it would work, but I imagine that the cashier will ring in purchases of beer/cigs as “food” or something else generic (you can tell that this probably only works at smaller stores without sophisticated bar coding). The overall amount of product sold without stamps is more than enough to cover the amount of stamps used for beer/cigs in any given month and make the books balance.

When the percentage of food stamp recipients becomes too great then I guess that scams like this will be harder to run, or else will become so thoroughly corrupt that government will take over the stores like in Venezuela, and ultimately will distribute food from the back of army trucks like in Somalia.

Which reminds me of something I just heard on the lewrockwell.com podcast. Schiff or someone mentioned that government is starting to make student loads directly instead of going through banks. The selling point is that they will be able to forgive more of the debt. But why (I asked myself) would the government forgive all this debt, and what would they demand in return? That’s where ‘Bammy’s “national service” comes in. You drank the educational kool-aid which had the king’s coin in the bottom of the tankard, now march or die. Somebody’s gotta distribute the food.

Walt D. April 23, 2010 at 10:11 am

A few years observed an easy workaround. I was in a Chinatown grocery store buying lobster for Valentine’s day. There were two women together ahead of me. The first one had had lobster and a bottle of champagne. When she tried to pay with food stamps, she was informed by the cashier that she could not buy alcohol with food stamps. The second woman said -”why don’t you pay for some of my groceries – I’ll pay cash form the champagne! “

matskralc April 22, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Yeah, I thought about it a little afterwards and that’s the only other way I can conceive of that it would be done. By just ringing up the product fraudulently (or just selling the physical card for somebody…food stamps go on the black market for about 50 cents per food stamp dollar). My understanding was always that it’s the tax-free status that at least PA has on food that plays a role. You can’t buy the prepared chickens at the hot foods section of the deli at the grocery store, for example, but you can head to the meat section and buy your own chicken to prepare. But I guess there might be states that do tax food. Also, I think you have to get some sort of “approval” to accept food stamps, and I would have thought that would entail a barcoding system or such to try and make sure they’re only spent on eligible items. WIC still gives out coupons that can only be redeemed on specific items (milk, peanut butter, baby formula, whatever).

Another interesting factoid: the maximum food stamp benefit for one person is $200/month. Keep in mind you can only spend that on food (well, theoretically!)…the missus and I spend about $400/mo at grocery stores, and that includes all the (expensive) non-food stuff like shampoo (hers…the cheap stuff is good enough for me!) or paper towels. You can eat fairly well on food stamps.

billwald April 26, 2010 at 1:38 pm

There are two parallel economies. One for the working class and one for the owners and lenders. It is foolish to plot them on the same curve. The statistics for those who live off wages should be separately plotted from those who live on capital gains.

Jessica Ekengren July 30, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Interesting article and nutrition is grossly undervalued in this country. Dr Ekengren

Joe Lobster August 18, 2010 at 10:42 pm

Eating lobster is a poor way of getting nutrition. If you’ve got limited resources, then you should go for food with high energy content. And using food stamps to eat lobster & champagne is kinda senseless & speaks to abuse of the system…

Ido September 2, 2010 at 10:28 am

Hi Douglas.
I don’t remember who said it now (the young king of some asian country..), but what he said was that the rates we need to check is not the income per capita, but the Happiness per capita. This is the way to see if a country is succesfull.
Anyway, i think if people use their stamps to get the right nutrition, with in a matter of one generation, the entire system will change itself, as a sick system is made and fed by sick people. I mean sick as in disease, not sick in the head :).
I suggest all of you concerned people out there read this blog – vegetables nutrition, and see what it can give you.
as for the quote i semi-gave here, check out the TED website (incredible!!) where you could get some real info about brilliant people and SOLUTIONS they come up with.
Success and keep us informed
Ido

digital marketing May 12, 2011 at 7:53 pm

It would be a good way for everyone to know that there will be coupons that can be used to purchased such basic needs. This is very helpful. Instead of shelling out a big amount, you can shell out at a lesser amount. Thanks.

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