Sixty million people in the United States, nearly one in five, received help from food banks and similar organizations in 2020 according to the nonprofit Feeding America, which is an increase of 50% compared to the previous year. According to a research report from The Conversation, the largest increase in the food insufficiency rate was seen among so-called middle-income households, with households earning $ 50,000 to $ 75,000 per year, from 0.98 % to 1.48%.
Food insufficiency has increased among Americans at all income levels according to The Conversation’s analysis of Census Bureau survey data after April 23. percent of people under $ 25,000 are food insecure. That is, it is a problem that mainly affects the working class.
Food insufficiency, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), “is a more serious condition than food insecurity and measures whether a household generally has enough to eat. In this way, the severity of food insufficiency is closer to very low food security than to overall food insecurity.
As defined by the USDA, “food insecurity is the limited or uncertain availability of healthy and nutritionally adequate foods, or the limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in a socially acceptable manner.” The USDA reports that overall food insecurity has increased in the United States from 9.5 percent of the population on April 23, 2020 to 13.4 percent on December 21, 2020.
At the end of August, according to the United States Census Bureau’s weekly Household Pulse survey, more than 7% of all households and 9% of households with children reported that they sometimes did not or often not enough to eat.
Feeding America also predicted that 54 million Americans did not have enough food to eat in 2020, a 46% increase from 2019.
In March 2021, more than 42 million Americans received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, an increase of 5 million from the previous March.
While Congress passed a 15% increase in SNAP benefits late last year, which it then extended, it is expected to expire on September 30, the end of fiscal 2021. A reassessment of the SNAP USDA’s “Thrifty Food Plan”, which is used to determine SNAP benefits, is expected to come into effect Oct. 1 following the 2018 Farm Bill, passed under the Trump administration, which provides for a readjustment of payments for the first time since 2006 according to the USDA.
The Thrifty Food plan will result in an average monthly increase of $ 11 over the current assistance program, from $ 240 to $ 251, despite the end of some federal benefits for SNAP, but with inflation factored in, in using numbers from 2020 to 2021 on the Minneapolis Fed’s inflation calculator. , this will actually represent a decrease of 68 cents. The average amount will drop significantly in 2022 to $ 169 per month before inflation if the remaining federal pandemic assistance provisions for SNAP are allowed to expire according to the USDA, although this decrease is likely to be much more. important because inflation is likely to continue and accelerate.
According to the Key Findings section of a USDA study released before July 4 of this year, “88% of SNAP participants reported facing some type of barrier to achieving healthy eating. throughout the month ”.
The second point states that “the most common barrier overall, reported by 61% of SNAP participants, was affordability of foods that are part of a healthy diet. “
The projected annual cost of the Thrifty Food plan is only $ 20 billion, a sixth of the cost of the $ 120 billion transferred each month from the Fed to Wall Street, or about 2.8% of the 2022 US military budget of $ 715 billion requested by the Biden administration.
In addition, food prices are skyrocketing. The consumer food price index increased 2.7 percent for 2021 compared to 2020, with large increases seen in some food groups.
USDA’s forecast for wholesale prices for beef, farm eggs, wheat and flour on the farm has been revised up this month. Beef is expected to increase between 17 and 20 percent in 2021 based on data currently available this month, as is pork, with an increase of 33 to 36 percent for wheat and an increase of 16 to 19 for one hundred for poultry.
This, added to the dire employment situation where more than 7.5 million unemployed have been deprived of unemployment benefits, millions of people risk being evicted from their homes with the expiration of the national moratorium on unemployment benefits. evictions, accompanied by skyrocketing housing and rental costs which are doomed to lead to both the impoverishment and radicalization of the working class.
The growth of hunger during the pandemic is a damning exposure of capitalism’s inability to meet the most basic social needs and an objective expression of the need for the working class to expropriate the wealth of the capitalist oligarchs and bring it to bear. profit. to the needs of the vast majority of the population.