So the latest indicator that not only has there not been a financial/economic recovery for the average person in the U.S. but also things have gotten worse? Over half of all public school students in the U.S. are now eligible for free or reduced lunch:
In a report released Friday by the Southern Education Foundation, researchers found that 51 percent of children in public schools qualified for the lunches in 2013, which means that most of them come from low-income families. By comparison, 38 percent of public school students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunches in 2000.
Of course, it’s only fair that the government now gives more little kids a free—or reduced (because there really is no such thing as a free lunch, right?)—lunch. After all, the government has been giving a free lunch to the banks for years now, in the form of bailouts, QE, ZIRP, foreclosure settlements, non-prosecution agreements, and so on.
Oh, but wait…it hasn’t been exactly a “free lunch” for the banks. I mean, it’s free for them, of course. But some sucker has to pay for it, right? That would unfortunately be me and you, because as billionaire former hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller described it, we are witnessing “the biggest redistribution of wealth from the middle class and the poor to the rich ever” (from the LRM article “Socialism for the Rich Working Like a Charm”). Indeed, since 2008 it has been a free lunch special for the banks. Well, we should say especially since 2008, because banks have always gotten the free lunch of being able to print money out of thin air.
But what we have now, post-2008 is this–the bank not only wants you to provide it with a free lunch—via bailouts and the rest of it mentioned above–but they also want you to give them your lunch (quite literally, in a number of cases) in the form of foreclosure on your house or sucking up all your savings or repaying crushing student loan debt.
They. Want. It. All.
Unfortunately, our “representatives” are more than happy to let the banks have it all. And what do they give you and me? One crappy meal 5 days a week, 9 months a year for our kids. Does that strike anyone as sufficient recompense for the financial and economic ruin the banks have loosed upon the world?
Meanwhile, let’s not forget that just a few short months ago, back in August 2014, banks in the U.S. were raking in profits that came close to breaking the record profits of the first quarter of 2013. Here’s how the Wall Street Journal describes this in an article posted August 11, 2014:
U.S. banks posted $40.24 billion in net income during the second quarter, the industry’s second-highest profit total in at least 23 years, according to data from research firm SNL Financial. The latest profits are just below the record $40.36 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2013.
And seeing as we’re talking about the dire effects of the continuing non-recovery on kids and families as opposed to the quite positive effects of the same on corporate America, we certainly can’t forget that just two months ago it turned out that stocks hit a near all-time high (nominally, anyway) while the number of homeless kids in the U.S. also hit an all-time high:
“Something is dreadfully wrong with this picture.
In a report just released today by the National Center on Family Homelessness, a team of academics has demonstrated that the number of homeless children in the Land of the Free now stands at 2.5 million.
This is far and away an all-time high and constitutes roughly one out of every 30 children in America.
The report goes on to explain that among the major causes of this problem are the continuing impacts of the Great Recession that began in 2008.
Funny thing, someone ought to tell these homeless kids that the economy is doing great. Of course, we know this to be true because the stock market is near its all-time high.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average now stands at 17,633, just off its all-time high.
Also near its all-time highs is the bond market, and coincidentally, the US debt—which is now within spitting distance of $18 trillion.”
What we are seeing is the true cost of rescuing the banks at the expense of the people. We were told that we had to rescue the banks or the country would fall into ruin. Remember that? The idea was that somehow, if we gave the banks a shit-ton of money–and kept doing it–while simultaneously allowing, nay mandating the dubious foreclosure of somewhere in the neighborhood (pun intended) of 5-7 million homes since 2004, then you and I would be spared disaster and be financially okay.
It would be the understatement of this young century to point out that this supposed good-faith disaster-and-ruin-aversion plan, um, didn’t work. At all. I mean, for the banks, it worked pretty great—record profits and all. But for you and me and 51% of American schoolchildren, it’s been a record loss.