Rising food prices and soft job market equals bad combination

farm bill

President Barack Obama signed the Farm Bill in February 2014, offering subsidies to farmers but drastically slashing food stamps for struggling families who are hurt by rising food prices.

By Carmen Glover

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the prices of food in all categories have been increasing steadily, as much as 0.4 percent in February alone, which is a source of concern for families across the country. The consistent increase in food prices place an undue burden on struggling families because this new development means that it will be more difficult for families to feed their households. But the added impact of a soft job market which has seen jobs added at a slower pace than expected makes the impact even stronger, since the stagnant job numbers show the difficulties involved in moving from poverty and low-paying jobs despite diligent efforts by potential employees.

impact on the poor

The new Farm Bill signed by the President a month ago preserves subsidies for farmers at the expense of the poor who rely on food stamps.

The toll on low-income and poor households in which families rely on governmental food subsidies such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP), formerly described as the food stamp program, is especially egregious. This new reality causes the most vulnerable in society, including children and the elderly, to be placed at risk of going hungry in a country that prides itself on being described as the richest country in the world.

SNAP funds were drastically reduced by $8 billion earlier this year after a lengthy political fight in Congress during which the poor were constantly demonized by legislatures who appear to be incapable of understanding the plight of the poor. As a result of the political discord, the farm bill’s passage was delayed for months before its eventually passage a month ago. However, the bill, which includes cuts to SNAP, increased subsidies for farmers at the expense of SNAP recipients. President Obama signed the bill into law a month ago.

food stamps cut

Marguerite Purvis, an advocate for the poor, has consistently expressed concerns about the drastic cuts in food stamps under the Farm Bill.

The results have been devastating for families, many of whom have been forced to troll pantries and soup kitchens for hot meals. With the paucity of jobs available, combined with the rising prices for food, even the employed are finding it difficult to meet all household expenses, adding strain to the family budget. The uncertain weather conditions have negatively affected food crops as well, which in turn weakens the produce that is available for harvesting and that, in turn, causes the prices of the available food to increase.

It is unclear how families will survive as difficult choices are made regarding paying bills including rent/mortgage versus purchasing food but it is clear that families are hurting. Unless a feasible measure is implemented to correct this situation by expanding food subsidies and broadening the scope of food produce so that the prices can be lowered, many families will be forced to continue going hungry.

farm bill

The recent Farm Bill has seriously affected low-income households.

The situation needs ongoing monitoring to see which solutions are offered and put in place to address food insecurity. Caveats are needed before the circumstances for families become so eroded and strained that more people find it impossible to support themselves and provide the basic needs for their family, even if they are working outside the home in jobs each day.  -OnPointPress.net.

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