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Middle Class Death Watch -- 33 Frightening Economic Developments

Downward mobility, homelessness spreading to the middle class, 200,000 public employees laid off? Here are some frightening trends to keep an eye on.

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“Not surprisingly, the subsidies have manufactured a price inequality that helps junk food undersell nutritious-but-unsubsidized foodstuffs like fruits and vegetables. The end result is that recession-battered consumers are increasingly forced by economic circumstance to “choose” the lower-priced junk food that their taxes support. Corn — which is processed into the junk-food staple corn syrup and which feeds the livestock that produce meat — exemplifies the scheme. “Over the past decade, the federal government has poured more than $50 billion into the corn industry, keeping prices for the crop … artificially low,” reports Time magazine. “That’s why McDonald’s can sell you a Big Mac, fries and a Coke for around $5 — a bargain.”"

“Now, restaurants, which typically have not participated in the program, are lobbying for a piece of the action. Louisville-based Yum! Brands, whose restaurants include Taco Bell, KFC, Long John Silver’s and Pizza Hut, is trying to get restaurants more involved, federal lobbying records show. More retailers say yes to food stamps. That’s a prospect that anti-hunger advocates welcome, but one that worries some current food stamp vendors and public health advocates. Federal rules generally prohibit food stamp benefits, which are distributed under the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), from being exchanged for prepared foods.”

“The threat of losing your home is stressful enough to make you ill, it stands to reason. Now two economists have measured just how unhealthy the foreclosure crisis has been in some of the hardest-hit areas of the U.S. New research by Janet Currie of Princeton University and Erdal Tekin of Georgia State University shows a direct correlation between foreclosure rates and the health of residents in Arizona, California, Florida and New Jersey. The economists concluded in a paper published this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research that an increase of 100 foreclosures corresponded to a 7.2% rise in emergency room visits and hospitalizations for hypertension, and an 8.1% increase for diabetes, among people aged 20 to 49.”

Unemployment Is Killing People

“When considering the effects of unemployment, and the desultory, really uncaring response of the current Democratic administration, as well as Republicans in Congress, to the human devastation of joblessness, it is important to consider the terrible emotional and psychological effects of such unemployment. Such effects are well-documented, but rarely mentioned in articles or blog postings. A well-regarded 2010 study by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, “The Anguish of Unemployment,” quantified the tremendous emotional suffering engendered by unemployment. “The lack of income and loss of health benefits hurts greatly, but losing the ability to provide for my wife and myself is killing me emotionally,” wrote one respondent to the survey.”

Senator Sanders: Poverty Is A Death Sentence – Cuts 6.5 Years Off Life Expectancy

“In America today, people in the highest income group level, the top 20 percent, live, on average, at least 6.5 years longer than those in the lowest income group. Let me repeat that. If you are poor in America you will live 6.5 years less than if you are wealthy or upper-middle class.”

Poverty & Inequality

Over 56 Million Americans Live in Poverty – How Census Bureau Propaganda Ignores the Suffering of 10 Million Impoverished Americans

Over 56 Million Americans Live in Poverty“The new Census data reveals that a stunning 46.2 million Americans, 15.1% of the population, lived in poverty in 2010. This is an increase of 2.6 million people since 2009. While these are staggering statistics that represent the highest number of American people to ever live in poverty, and a dramatic year-over-year increase, it significantly undercounts the total. The Census Bureau poverty rate is a highly flawed measurement that uses outdated methodology…. We can estimate that at least 56 million Americans, roughly 18.5% of the population, lived in poverty in 2010 according to NAS methodology, approximately 10 million more than the Census Bureau is reporting.”