So, at the turn of the century, and drove someone to a food bank at a church where there was nary a line because unemployment was so low. Then, the century changed and the numbers slowly began to creep up often hidden by the high churn of the tech industry until the economy finally tanked in 2008 even though the government and the fed tried to prevent it by manipulating the cash flow.
Flash forward to today and I am with a friend at a food pantry and there appear to be 300 families waiting for service. The unemployment numbers are a lie because they stop counting people who are unable to find a job and exhaust unemployment. Most of the new jobs created since 2008 have been low to minimum wage, no future, dead end positions. The kind of positions that are eliminated first when finances get tight.
Also hidden from the numbers are those people who are underemployed, where employers cut hours when business is slow, leaving the person in limbo and their income reduced to the point where they now require trips to the food bank to continue their slow spiral from the middle class to the subsisting poor while the corporate executives take home record compensation packages even as their companies report record financial shortfalls.
It also ignores the high costs of low prices which is the Walmart economy where they have a strangle hold on the suppliers, forcing the prices they pay down, paying their employees the most minimum amount allowed by law with a majority of Walmart employees being eligible for Federal Government programs for the working poor. All while the heirs to the found earn record amounts of money.
Another friend of mine earns minimum wage working at Taco Bell and his location takes the benefit card for cash benefits. If you are homeless or living in your car, you can apply for a special program that let’s you use food stamps for taco bell. So if my friend were homeless and applied for food stamps, he could pay for his employee meal, sans 10% discount with his food stamps. My friend, was in one of my classes at ARC so he is actively working to better himself except that even after he earns his degree, taco bell may be the only option for a job.