When people think of the average EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card user, they envision a career welfare recipient who has 12 kids by 11 different prison-residing fathers. Because of this notion, when the story broke this weekend about the EBT system failure, many of the responses were quite cold, callous, and even downright spiteful.
Of course, the rioting through Wal-Marts across the nation certainly didn’t help. Within hours the shelves were razed. The abandoned shopping carts of melting food and the carefully selected hungry spokespeople on the mainstream news just served to reinforce the conception that those who were left to go without groceries deserved to miss a few meals.
But…who IS the average EBT user?
Nearly 48 million Americans receive assistance to buy food, which is up from 32 million when Barack Obama took office. While we know there has been a concentrated effort to get more people to accept assistance, the sheer volume of those who cannot afford food anymore is a symptom of the greater economic problems plaguing the country. It’s also important to note that in some states, if a person’s ex-spouse is in arrears for child support and has his or her wages garnished, the custodial parent receives that payment through the EBT system.
- The median household income in America has dropped for the 5th year in a row, according to the US Census Bureau.
- Over 1/3 of Americans who are able to work are unable to find a job – 36% of the population is unemployed.
- Obamacare is turning us into a part-time nation. For every full time job created in the United States in 2013, we’ve created four part-time jobs. Employers are not hiring people full time if it means they’ll have to pay for skyrocketing insurance benefits.
- More than 2.3 million residential properties were foreclosed on in 2012, leaving families displaced when they could no longer afford their homes.
- 50% of all Americans are considered “poor” or “low-income” according to the US Census Bureau.
- The unemployment rate in the U.S. has been above 8 percent for 40 months in a row, and 42 percent of all unemployed Americans have been out of work for at least half a year. (source)
- Those often being hit the hardest are those just entering the labor market. For example, about 53 percent of all U.S. college graduates under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed last year. Most of the jobs that are available for young college graduates (or for the rest of us for that matter) are crappy low paying jobs that often come with no benefits. In the United States today, one out of every four workers makes ten dollars an hour or less. Now, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.(source)
Over the past decade, many formerly middle class people have been cast into poverty through no fault of their own. They’ve lost their jobs, their homes, and their cars. When you have no job, or you have a job that pays only minimum wage, how can you keep the electricity on, keep your children clothed, and still feed your family? Through the deliberate impoverishing of the middle class, people are being controlled and enslaved. Innocent children, through no fault of their own, are going hungry – for some of these kids the only meal that they get in a day is the free lunch offered at their school.
So before you say, “So what?” or “Well, I had to pay for my groceries – I have no sympathy for them”, stop for a moment and think about why formerly hardworking people may have had to sacrifice their pride and accept some help. Think about the jobs that are no longer available. Consider the hours that are no longer offered at once full-time jobs.
Some people abuse the system. Illegal immigrants are encouraged to be on the dole. We can all tell stories about the “welfare queen” with an iPhone and a grocery cart full of steak and lobster.
But for a large percentage of formerly middle class Americans there has been a mighty fall – one deliberately set up by our own government, by the banking system, and by the “1%”.
There but for the grace of God go I.
This article is not a statement on whether or not the welfare system and social programs should exist, or how they should be funded. This is a discussion of how hard-working families just like mine and yours can quickly fall into desperate straits through the machinations of those in power.
For many people the economic collapse has arrived. Their “end of the world” event has already occurred in the form of a job loss, the foreclosure of the family home, or an illness that has caused such massive personal debt that there is truly no way out of it. Less than 60% of Americans who are of age to be in the work force have a full time job. When you tally that, it means that more than 100 million people are out of work. More than 100 million people in the United States have no jobs. For more than 100 million people, the economic collapse has arrived in full force. (source)
How do we fight back?
If you are lucky enough to still be gainfully employed, it’s time to become self-sufficient.
This is how we will be able to withstand the assaults on our freedom. Every bucket of rice you put away, every seed you save, every bite of food you grow – is a strike against the machine.
Those of us who prepare for the difficult times ahead are the ones who stand between the total domination of the powers that be and the freedom that they would take away from us. By understanding how hunger can be used against us, and then taking the initiative to prepare for that grim day, we can’t be controlled as easily as those who have spent years accepting the handouts and trudging along with the herd.
By making intelligent choices to ensure our survival and that of our children, we can resist. Every meal that you put away keeps you a little bit safer from tyranny. Every seed you plant hardens you against threats and bribery. Your self-sufficiency is what will keep you free. (source)
Be thankful that you have had the foresight and the means to prepare for the eventuality of a further economic decline. Remember that the mainstream media and the government have a vested interest in widening the chasm between the “haves” and the “have-nots” because a divided populace is an easily conquered populace. Don’t be manipulated. Practice compassion. You don’t know the circumstances that caused the person in line in front of you to be swiping a card to feed his or her family. They just might be victims of a system determined to enslave.
Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor. Her website, The Organic Prepper, where this article first appeared, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org