Sept. 27, 2013
The picture that comes to mind for most people when they think of the great depression is the picture of the breadline. Black and white pictures of men standing in line around the block to get a loaf of bread to take home to their family. It was a time of great hunger, that some did not survive. It has been estimated that close to seven million people died of starvation or illness due to malnutrition.
Today, in this greatest depression, that some have called a recession, and that some have even said ended four years ago, the breadlines still dispense bread. They are not as easy to see these days as they were in the thirties, because they have moved inside. Today there are 47 million Americans using food stamps. That is 1 out of every six Americans. Joblessness, under employment and rising inflation on food, and energy have sent these poor Americans into the welfare dragnet. The social stigma of food stamps is almost completely gone now that the program uses debit cards called EBT cards.
I work as a cashier at a nationally known discount store. I sell clothing, cleaning products, house wares and food. The people I sell to are people of all colors, races, ages and sex, but most of them have one thing in common; EBT cards. I would say about half of every transaction I do is paid for with an EBT card. Sometimes people will use three different methods of payment. They will use whatever is left on their EBT card, then use whatever is left on their debit card, and then scrape their purse to find the remaining balance, and sometimes they still don’t have enough.
This post appeared in the Economics category.