Food crisis and workers in the USA

This video from the USA is called Social crisis in Detroit: “Some weeks we have less meals“.

This video is called Social crisis in Detroit: “I’m 67, and it’s impossible”.

And this video is called Social crisis in Detroit: Food banks struggle to meet need.

Social crisis in Detroit: An investigative report: here. See also here.

US housing figures and other data: A picture of rapidly growing social misery: here.

1 thought on “Food crisis and workers in the USA

  1. 14.5M experienced hunger, says SWS

    Philippine Daily Inquirer
    First Posted 01:58:00 07/22/2008

    MANILA, Philippines—More Filipino families across the country experienced involuntary hunger (hunger due to lack of food) between April and June than during the first three months of the year, a recent Social Weather Stations survey showed.

    Amid soaring food and fuel prices, involuntary hunger in Metro Manila rose to a record high of more than one in every five households.

    A total of 16.3 percent of families nationwide, equivalent to 2.9 million households or around 14.5 million people, experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the previous quarter, up from the 15.7 percent (2.8 million families) reported in March.

    The latest figure is 4 percentage points higher than the 10-year average hunger rate of 12.1 percent.

    SWS interviewed 1,200 household heads all over the country from June 27 to 30 for the noncommissioned survey, which had a sampling error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points.

    Intensity worsened

    Although hunger incidence rose by a small 0.6 percentage point between the March and June figures, its intensity worsened significantly because of the increase in severe hunger, or hunger experienced often or always, SWS said.

    Severe hunger went up from 3.2 percent (about 570,000 families or 2.85 million people) to 4.2 percent (760,000 families or 3.8 million people).

    At the same time, moderate hunger, which is experienced once or a few times, declined slightly from 12.5 percent to 12.1 percent (about 2.2 million families or 11 million persons).

    The rising incidence and severity of hunger in the country came as prices of goods and services jumped 11.4 percent in June from a year ago, the fastest inflation rate recorded in 14 years, due mainly to the substantial increase in food costs.

    The price of rice soared by 43 percent because of higher input costs and the growing demand for the staple.

    Global problem

    Malacañang Monday said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was implementing measures, including its billion-peso subsidies, to help people cope with rising food and fuel costs and consequently, hunger and poverty problems.

    “We look at this (rise in the number of hungry people) as a result of the nationwide crisis, that is global in origin and . . . this is what President Arroyo is focused on,” Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said in a phone-patch interview in Cotabato City where Ms Arroyo is visiting until Tuesday.

    Dureza said it was “not principally” government inaction but the global problem of high food and fuel costs that caused the number of hungry people to rise.

    In Metro Manila, hunger was at a record high of 22 percent, which is equivalent to 530,000 families or 2.65 million people.

    The rate, first reached in June 2007, is 6 percentage points higher than the one recorded in March (15.7 percent), and is 11 percentage points higher than the 10-year average of 11.2 percent.

    Moderate hunger in Metro Manila jumped from 10.3 percent to 16 percent, while severe hunger rose from 5.3 percent to 6 percent.

    Although total hunger in the rest of Luzon declined almost 4 percentage points (from 16 percent to 12.3 percent), the area had the highest number of families that went hungry in the past quarter (970,000 families or 4.85 million people).

    Severe hunger rose slightly from 3.7 percent to 4 percent, while moderate hunger declined from 12.3 percent to 8.3 percent.

    While total hunger in Mindanao barely changed (from 18 percent to 17.7 percent, equivalent to 720,000 families or 3.6 million people), severe hunger increased from 2.7 percent to 4.3 percent. Moderate hunger declined from 15.3 percent to 13.3 percent.

    In the Visayas, total hunger rose 7 percentage points (from 12.3 percent to 19.7 percent, equivalent to 710,000 families or 3.55 million people), moderate hunger increased by 5 percentage points (from 11 percent to 16.3 percent) and severe hunger rose 2 percentage points (from 1.3 percent to 3.3 percent). Cyril L. Bonabente, Inquirer Research and Christine O. Avendaño

    Hungry, hungrier
    Philippine Daily Inquirer
    First Posted 00:39:00 07/24/2008

    Grim. That, in a word, sums up the tidings of the second-quarter Social Weather Survey by the poll group Social Weather Stations (SWS). Our chief concern is not with the increase in households in the country that experienced “involuntary hunger” at least once in the three months covered by the survey, although that is worrisome enough. It is with the explosion in the number of families suffering from what SWS classifies as “severe hunger.”

    From 570,000 families in March, the total number of households reporting severe hunger rose by almost 200,000 to 760,000 in June—a sure sign, an unmistakable symptom, of a slowing economy. In the SWS terminology, severe hunger refers to “those who experienced it ‘Often’ or ‘Always’ in the last three months.”

    The increase in the number of families that went hungry at least once in the three-month period “due to lack of anything to eat,” from 15.7 percent in March to 16.3 percent of the total population in June, is not unexpected; the unstoppable rise in fuel and especially food prices in the last several months is a daily economic reality. To be sure, the proportion is still lower than the high of 21.5 percent recorded in September 2007, but the current total of 2.9 million families should give all of us, and especially President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her economic managers, serious pause.

    The high-profile feeding or food subsidy programs launched or redoubled by the government in the last few months do not seem to have had any appreciable effect. It is possible that the spike in involuntary hunger rates would have been sharper, if not for the government programs. But other results from the same SWS survey show that the programs, and in general the way the Arroyo administration has handled the oil and rice emergencies, have failed to lift the President’s popularity or performance ratings.

    The hunger results for Metro Manila, especially, should send chills down Malacañang’s spine. According to the survey conducted June 27-30, hunger in Metro Manila is now back at a record high, rising by almost half to 22 percent of the population. A full 6 percent of Metro Manila’s population is now classified as having suffered from severe hunger.

    Traditionally, trends in the melting pot that is Metro Manila anticipate trends in the other regions. The seat of political and economic power, it is usually the first region to turn opposition. The survey finding that “Both Severe Hunger and Moderate Hunger are now higher in Metro Manila than in other areas” cannot be good news for Malacañang.

    Of course, rising hunger levels cannot be good news for Metro Manila or indeed for the country as a whole. The aggregate numbers that survey statistics use reflect real lives, families actually living in worsening economic conditions.

    What can be done to help them?

    The tempting option, the seemingly low-hanging fruit ripe for the picking, is the outright scrapping or the temporary suspension of the value-added tax (VAT). But as we have argued before, this is a temptation that must be resisted. Faced with an un-ideal situation, we are confronted with a choice between unhappy options. But between reducing the cost of essential goods for immediate relief and using the unexpected windfall from greater VAT collections to fund direct mitigation programs, the latter seems to be the lesser evil.

    However, the results from the hunger survey suggest either that the programs started too late to have an effect or are not effective at all.

    One thing is clear: The latest SWS survey tells us that despite the flurry of publicity about different mitigation programs, the President’s popularity continues to plummet. Even in the Visayas, the island group traditionally considered her bailiwick, her political fortunes have fallen too. That must mean that, in the Visayas as elsewhere, people are seeing “through” the publicity, the whirlwind of presidential activity. After all, all the billions Ms Arroyo has spent is the people’s money, not hers.

    Of course, another possibility exists. The reason her numbers plunged, even in the Visayas, was that when the survey was taken memories of the President’s failure to return to the country despite the catastrophic damage caused by typhoon “Frank” were still fresh and raw, like an open wound.


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