Of course since 2007 US household wealth has once again dropped 40% - not the same as income but I personally know people whose personal income has dropped 90%. These pages also raise an issue of people starving to death in the US during the Great Depression although that was in effect covered up.
Does everyone there have access to food stamps?
I don't know as I don't know as I know almost nothing about food stamps even though I should have applied for food stamps three years ago. I would think that not everyone has access to food stamps because people might now have to be unemployed in order to receive food stamps and people who have exceeded their unemployment benefits are not classified as unemployed, although food stamps might be a more permissive program. There was a comedy movie in 1979/82 or so in which a formerly rich family in California lost everything overnight except for their mansion, applied for and got food stamps according to the rules for food stamps at the time (actually I think a son or daughter was pulling in some $20k). However the Reagan Revolution saw welfare Queens under every bed and revised those rules and numerous people were then excluded. So it's difficult to say. Probably people have to exhaust their savings before they can actually apply for food stamps unless they are receiving unemployment benefits.
I just looked the outline of the eligibility rules at the Social Security site
: after the horrific leading list of eligibility hurdles to exclude almost all illegal immigrants they get to two major requirements:
Most able-bodied people between the ages of 18 and 60 must register for work to qualify for SNAP. Many people may be required to participate in an employment or training program. Some college students also may be eligible.
"Registering for work" is not defined. What if people are working part-time intermittently? It's unclear what this would mean. So since this is unclear and since American work processes are often extremely rigid probably some people will be excluded under certain criteria there.
Then the second thing is that you have to be prostrate with poverty:
Generally, your household cannot have more than $2,000 in resources (things you own). But, if your household includes a person age 60 or older or who is disabled, the limit is $3,000.
Houses, land and cars are excluded. But according to this bank accounts would not be. So the food stamp program is not assistance for the poor but is intended to keep people from starving in the streets after they have generally lost everything.
So that's the basic outline. But if someone applied for food stamps the reality might be different
_________________Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes
"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche