While economists, government officials, and mainstream media experts argue about whether a recovery is finally taking hold, the evidence on the ground provides a clear insight about where the country is headed.
A nationwide Gallup survey involving 177,000 U.S. adults proves what many contrarians have been screaming for some time: For most Americans there is no recovery.
After having lost 40% of their wealth, millions of jobs, their homes, and with prices in all key commodity groups like food and energy rising consistently, our current economic conditions feel more like a depression than anything remotely resembling a recovery.
According to the new survey, nearly one in five Americans report that there has been at least one time in the last 12 months when they did not have enough money to buy the food they or their families needed. In some parts of the country it’s even worse.
In 15 states, at least one in five Americans say they struggled to afford the food they needed at least once during the past 12 months. Nationwide, 18.2% of Americans so far in 2012 say there have been times when they could not afford the food they needed, on par with the 18.6% who had trouble affording food in 2011.
With nutritional food assistance benefits averaging of about $500 for a family in need, the 48.5 million Americans on food stamps and the additional 50 million receiving some other form of government welfare or safety net distribtion may soon find themselves in an even greater struggle.
The culprit? Rising prices everywhere. Essential goods like food and gas are a significant driving factor, especially as more and more Americans lose their jobs or jobless benefits. While the Federal Reserve continues to expand the money supply and population growth in emerging markets puts further demand on global resource availability, the only direction for prices to go is up. Coupled with the worst drought in 50 years things may get even worse for Americans next year.