Globalization moved tens of millions of good jobs overseas to low-wage, low-tax countries; the banksters' refusal to loosen credit except for scams and rip-offs from which they would benefit has prevented legitimate businesses from borrowing money to grow on, thus adding jobs to a sputtering economy that desperately needs them, even though we provided the bankers with a financial "stimulus" to do just that; and the Bushies (with Bill Clinton's help) virtually destroyed all the elements of the safety net, calling it "welfare reform".
Given all that, it is more than a little ironic that local govts are now urging people to sign up for food stamps as a way of pumping up the local economy.
A decade ago, New York City officials were so reluctant to give out food stamps, they made people register one day and return the next just to get an application. The welfare commissioner said the program caused dependency and the poor were "better off" without it.
Now the city urges the needy to seek aid (in languages from Albanian to Yiddish). Neighborhood groups recruit clients at churches and grocery stores, with materials that all but proclaim a civic duty to apply - to "help New York farmers, grocers, and businesses." There is even a program on Rikers Island to enroll inmates leaving the jail.
Of course this is happening because John Edwards was right all along, regardless of his hair preparation: we are now living in a 2-tiered America where 90% of the money is in the pockets of the top 1% of "earners" (have to have quotes around that word) and the other 99% of us split the trickle that's left.
See, it isn't just Goldman achs and JPMoergan that are the problem. It's systemic.
It turns out that some of the highest-paid financial executives in America work far from the canyons of Lower Manhattan, at companies that have largely avoided the outcry over the return of hefty paydays on Wall Street.
Topping the list is John G. Stumpf, head of Wells Fargo, the bank based in San Francisco, according to an analysis of 2009 compensation in the industry. Mr. Stumpf was paid a personal best of $18.7 million in cash and stock for 2009 - up 64 percent from 2007, just before the financial crisis struck.
Mr. Stumpf is making twice as much as Lloyd C. Blankfein, his counterpart at Goldman Sachs. Mr. Blankfein - who for many Americans has come to symbolize this new period of Wall Street riches - was paid $9.7 million for 2009....
So here's the deal: if the govt really wants to prime the economic pump with food stamps, it need to double them and then make it legal to buy anything with them. 'Cause it don't look like the banksters are going to be pried loose from their loot any time soon.