I just discovered that one of my favorite data dumps, the St. Louis Fed, has a blog. It is now linked to the left as ‘FRED Blog‘.
FRED recently added SNAP data. SNAP stands for “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program”—more commonly referred to as food stamps. FRED has data at the state and county level on the number of benefit recipients for the past 30 years or so. In the graph here, we chose five states with similar population size. A few points stand out: 1) It’s remarkable how little the state rankings have changed over the years. The rise of Arizona is likely due to a relative population increase. 2) Apparent seasonal fluctuations in some states disappear after a few years. 3) Since 2000, the numbers of recipients has more than doubled; in Massachusetts, it quadrupled. This rise has occurred through both booms and recessions and cannot be explained by population increases.
I don’t think it is too hard to explain. Inequitable monetary policy, which rewards investors (the more privileged of whom are in a ‘can’t lose’ position at the Fed’s discount window) both private and corporate, has in essence continued to impoverish the poor and the newly poor while the privileged classes continue to feast.
I don’t want to sound like Robin Hood… or a socialist, but this is fact. If you are not in the asset ownership class you have become ever more dependent on government assistance or are drawing closer to it, since the Age of Inflation onDemand © began in 2000.
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