America’s Hunger Issue
I must confess, as the son of a vegetable farmer, I pay more attention to the agriculture industry than most people in the investment business. It hits a very personal nerve for me.
According to Feeding America, the largest non-profit hunger relief agency in the U.S., the number of Americans that struggle to get enough food to feed themselves and/or their families is growing. Really, really growing.
The number of hungry Americans has increased by 45% this year to 50 million.
Approximately one-third of those 50 million American are using food banks for the first times in their lives. While I am sure they’re grateful for the food, I am also sure that it digs deep into their self-esteem.
The coronavirus pandemic has made things worse. One out of 10 American households are struggling to feed themselves, double from pre-COVID times and the highest since the government started tracking hunger.
“We would view this as the most significant challenge that the charitable food system has ever faced,” said Katie Fitzgerald, COO at Feeding America.
Forget about Republican or Democrat, black or white, rich or poor for a minute. A more important divide is between Americans who eat well and Americans who go to bed hungry.
That’s a divide that everyone should want to close.
What makes it even more pathetic is that the U.S., the wealthiest country in the world, has the largest number of food insecure people in the world. Out of the 63 developed countries, the U.S. is the worst.
Compounding the problem is the Federal Reserve’s ambition to inflate their way out of debt by turbocharging the rate of inflation. To show you how destructive that policy is to hungry Americans, just replace the word “inflation” with “cost of living.”
Yes, the Federal Reserve is desperate to increase our cost of living ... and has already succeeded at the grocery store.
Grocery prices jumped 2.6% in April, the largest one-month increase in four decades, another 1% in May and another 0.7% in June. Over the last 12 months, grocery prices are up 4.6%, well above the Fed’s 2% inflation target.
Sure, both the Democrat and Republican parties have contributed to the hunger problem, but the biggest threat now is the Federal Reserve.
ZIRP (zero interest rate policy) and quantitative easing are doing wonders for stock market and real estate investors, but it is slowly starving the bottom 25% of American households, as well as clobbering retirees that depend on interest income to live on.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell (nominated by President Trump) is the newest numbskull running the Federal Reserve, but former Fed Chair Janet Yellen (nominated by President Obama), former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke (nominated by President Bush) and former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan (nominated by President Reagan), the original Federal Reserve Mr. Maggo, deserve just as much blame.
I don’t expect someone with the guts of former Fed Chair Paul Volker to come to the Federal Reserve’s rescue, so that tells me that there is big money to be made in the food business: agricultural land, food producers, farming machinery, fertilizer, food processors and food distributors.
And investing in food makes me personally feel good because it reminds me of the hot summer days working on my father’s farm.