A long queue of people waiting in front of a center for distributing food stamps. This photo, which was published by the British newspaper “The Independent” on April 2, 2008’s front page, was not taken in an African country or any country of the so-called Third World or even a country from the former Socialist countries, but rather in The United States itself on one of the streets of New York. In fact it was determined to be taken on a street near Wall Street: the street famous for its financiers and businessmen.
Under the title (America, the Great Depression 2008) the reporter from the Independent focused on the picture of the food queue as the latest development in America’s economic problems that have resulted from the country’s current mortgage crisis. And as a consequence of it there is now food allocation which is a strong symbol of poverty in America. In the period since the beginning of the Mortgage Crisis, the number of Americans dependent on Food Stamps has jumped to 28 million people, from 26.5 million in 2007, showing that the richest economy in the World is truly facing a large economic crisis. The clearest causes for the growth in poverty is the steady rise of homes that have lost their owners due to their inability to make payments, the loss of jobs, and the rise in prices for basic essential commodities.
Conditions have deteriorated and led to an increase in Americans dependent on food stamps in order to support their families. And so now along the main streets in several American states you can see thousands of Americans waiting in lines at distribution centers waiting to obtain their basic daily necessities from bread to other staples. According to the the Agricultural Department the cost of feeding a family of four of limited income rose by 6% during the last year. According to the ministry in the state of Michigan, for example, which has seen a great amount of suffering for some time as well as a sharp decline in its economy, every two people out of every nine of its population have become dependent on ration coupons, when it was only one out of every nine in 2000. Other states have seen a rise in dependence on these rations by at least 10% from last year, such as Florida, Arizona and Maryland.
Many observers and opponents of the Bush Administration have been following these economic indicators since Bush inherited the economy from President Clinton, and how they have changed since Bush launched his two wars of aggression, and have found that the picture from inside America is as gloomy as the Democratic candidates have painted it during their election campaigns. The real growth in GDP in January 2001 when Bush took office was 4.1% and became 2.6 after three years of his wisdom. The national debt was 5.7 trillion at the beginning of his term and has now risen to 9.2 trillion. New jobs in the private sector has fallen from 1.76 million in 2001 to 366 thousand in 2005. The number of poor persons has risen from 31.6 million in 2001 to 37 million in the year 2005.
The deterioration in the standard of living has caused the number of Americans without insurance to rise from 38 million in 2001 to 47 million during Bush’s presidency. And the price of oil, an indispensable part of Americans standard of living, has gone from 1.4 dollars a gallon in 2001 to 3.07 dollars a gallon during the Bush years. And the increased costs of higher education has made it so that a person now pays on average $5162 a year when before Bush they were paying $3164 per year. Personal savings have also dropped from 2.3% to now below zero at -.5%.
If we move to the relationship between the States and the rest of the World, we see that its trade deficit has risen from 380 billion at the beginning of Bush’s presidency to 759 billion at its end. The value of the dollar has fallen from 1.07 euros for a dollar to .68 euros for a dollar. Dependency on foreign oil has risen from 52%to 60%. The perception of the United States abroad has deteriorated to very low numbers. British support went from 83% to 56% and Turkish approval has gone from 52% to 12%, and among Germans it has fallen from 78% to 37%. The study conducted by the American political writer Charlie Quimby from which these numbers come, indicates the miserable condition that Bush will leave for whoever comes after him. The immunity that Bush enjoyed as president has led America to its very bottom.