The new poor

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"In any event, 50,000 seniors are now enrolled in the food stamp program. And that is slightly over half as many that could receive food assistance."

I know. Compared to the rest of the world we have no poverty in this country. We simply have where some folks have more money than others. An article in yesterday's Sunday paper caught my eye. And it was not the first time I had read an article on this subject. In fact, I had read one a few months ago called The New Poor. Who was it about? Our newly retiring seniors.
Most Minnesotans did not even know this is a problem. That is, unless you are one of the lower income seniors. How bad is it? According to the Star Tribune on January 15, 2017, people 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of people who use food stamps. Wait a minute! How can that be? Did not all of these senior citizens salt enough away when they worked? What about defined pension plans? 401k plans? 403b plans? IRAs? Social Security? Cash in bank? The value of their house?
But that is exactly what the problem is. I have been shocked to find out how many folks while working did not have the opportunity to participate in some kind of deferred savings program. Or a good pension plan. While many think they are common, they are not in certain types of work. Or if a senior did not work, but was a homemaker instead. That reduces the amount of Social Security one will receive. In any event, 50,000 seniors are now enrolled in the food stamp program. And that is slightly over half as many that could receive food assistance. So if all seniors who qualify for food stamps signed up to receive them, the number would be close to 100,000.
This is the part where I once again turn into Dr. Rain Cloud. Many economists feel (as do I) that we are on the verge of a significant to major correction in our economy. In particular the stock market. What does this mean? Many seniors who are above the poverty line could find themselves on the other side of that line after the correction. Especially if they have 401k accounts, 403b accounts or IRA accounts tied into the market. Some say this correction could even be more server than the Great Recession of 2008.
Here is the problem. We can only ignore our problems for so long before they come back to bite us. Our national debt is not going to ebb under a Trump Presidency. If anything, it will go up just as fast as under Obama's. The student loan bubble, the pension bubble, the states which are failing bubble - there is all kind of bumps in the road coming up. Maybe I am wrong on this - I sure hope that I am.
Back to our seniors. Be kind when donating to the local food shelves. Many times food stamps do not offer enough help for folks. People use the food shelves to fill in the cracks that food stamps leave. Life may be good for many right now, but there are many who no longer work that are struggling right now. And some may live right down the street from us.