STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
An Evil Story?
By Staff News & Analysis - March 20, 2013

Food stamps put Rhode Island town on monthly boom-and-bust cycle … The economy of Woonsocket was about to stir to life. Delivery trucks were moving down river roads, and stores were extending their hours. The bus company More was warning riders to anticipate "heavy traffic." A community bank, soon to experience a surge in deposits, was rolling a message across its electronic marquee on the night of Feb. 28: "Happy shopping! Enjoy the 1st." – Washington Post

Dominant Social Theme: "We are here to help."

Free-Market Analysis: Is this an … "evil" story? First, let us describe it.

The article focuses on food stamps and people's struggles to survive using government aid. It's well written and sympathetic to the poor people (poor in many ways) who use food stamps and don't find them sufficient for the month.

In fact, government programs are usually insufficient but this article, by focusing on individuals, gives us a better sense of the struggle people face when living on government handouts.

Here's more:

In the heart of downtown, Miguel Pichardo, 53, watched three trucks jockey for position at the loading dock of his family-run International Meat Market. For most of the month, his business operated as a humble milk-and-eggs corner store, but now 3,000 pounds of product were scheduled for delivery in the next few hours. He wiped the front counter and smoothed the edges of a sign posted near his register. "Yes! We take Food Stamps, SNAP, EBT!" …

Three years into an economic recovery, this is the lasting scar of collapse: a federal program that began as a last resort for a few million hungry people has grown into an economic lifeline for entire towns. Spending on SNAP has doubled in the past four years and tripled in the past decade, surpassing $78 billion last year. A record 47 million Americans receive the benefit — including 13,752 in Woonsocket, one-third of the of the town's population, where the first of each month now reveals twin shortcomings of the U.S. economy:

The 1st is always circled on the office calendar at International Meat Market, where customers refer to the day in the familiar slang of a holiday. It is Check Day. Milk Day. Pay More Day. Mother's Day.

"Uncle Sam Day," Pichardo said now, late on Feb. 28, as he watched new merchandise roll off the trucks. Out came 40 cases of Ramen Noodles. Out came 230 pounds of ground beef and 180 gallons of orange juice …

Rebecka paid $168 and returned to the parking lot. Sariah fell on the gravel and started to cry. "We'll stop at Burger King," Rebecka said, crying now, too, so tired she didn't care what lunch would cost. They went to the drive-through and continued home. She left the groceries in the car, and Jourie hauled them up to the apartment. They wedged the boxes into the fridge. "I couldn't get it all," she told Jourie, explaining that she had made it only halfway through her list. She had spent about two weeks of SNAP money on groceries that would last seven or eight days.

Later that night, as the kids went to bed and Jourie readied for another shift at work, Rebecka grabbed a calendar off the wall and turned the page to March. The 1st was almost over. Price Rite had closed. The buses had stopped running. Pichardo and his employees at International Meat Market had all gone home, after mopping meat from the aisles at the end of an $8,200 day.

Rebecka touched each empty box on the calendar with her finger and counted out loud, plotting the long decline before the cycle of a SNAP economy began again.

"Thirty more days," she said.

The last three paragraphs constitute the conclusion of this article and are the reason why we might wish to label an article like this "evil."

The evil comes from the way the article is constructed and reported. Yes, it is supposed to be a heart-wrenching tale of the American Dream gone wrong and how people are suffering now.

The article never puts the suffering in context.

The article never explains how this sort of suffering might be avoided.

The article never seeks to offer any solutions.

But there ARE solutions.

They start with using private enterprise to create vital communities and people who have jobs and can take of themselves. Above all, the ghastly boom-bust cycle of central banking monetary stimulation must be brought to a halt.

For every boom that a central bank like the Federal Reserve creates, there comes a bust, often deeper and more powerful than the boom that preceded it.

To dig itself out of the current bust, the Fed has printed trillions and trillions of dollars. Eventually much of this cash may circulate, creating price inflation and yet more misery for people like those profiled in this article.

And once price inflation begins, the Fed will have to raise rates, which it really cannot do because then the carrying cost of US debt will escalate until it is insupportable.

The reality of the US financial situation is that it is very perilous and that the country – indeed the Western world – has been brought to this place by monetary manipulation and currency over-printing via too-powerful central banks.

You will not learn any of this in this heart-wrenching article. You will only learn about the impacts of these misguided monetary programs.

After Thoughts

And that's, well … kinda evil.

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