From the November-December 2014 Trumpet Print Edition

Food prices skyrocket; charities stepping in

The average price of ground beef has risen to an all-time high, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on August 19. Over the last five years, ground beef prices have risen a staggering 81 percent. In July, Americans paid $3.88 per pound compared to $2.15 in July 2009. Droughts in Oklahoma and Texas have contributed to the rising prices.

Meanwhile, severe drought in California—which produces nearly half of America’s fresh fruits and vegetables—has caused price hikes in fruit produce, eggs and dairy. Since July 2013, the cost of fruits and vegetables has risen 2 percent, and dairy 4.3 percent.

“[T]he direction of food prices is somewhat worrisome. Lower and middle income households are likely to be paying a larger percentage of their paychecks for grocery bills,” said Chris G. Christopher, director of consumer economics at ihs Global Insight. “The rise of food prices makes it more difficult for many American households—especially those households that live paycheck to paycheck.”

Feeding America’s recent report, “Hunger in America 2014,” states that 46 million Americans relied on charities for food in the past year. That means one in seven Americans cannot afford to feed themselves. Another report stated that 25 percent of U.S. military personnel are relying on food charities.

With food prices soaring and well-paying jobs increasingly scarce, America is in for more economic—and social—trouble.

Every 40 seconds

One person commits suicide every 40 seconds, according to a statement released by the United Nations’ World Health Organization (who) on September 4. This equates to 2,160 individuals every day. The 800,000 people who commit suicide each year total more than the global yearly death toll from wars and natural disasters combined. Globally, suicide is the 15th leading cause of death for all age groups. This is a potent symbol of the hopelessness gripping so many people in our world. To learn about its causes—and its ultimate solution—read our February 2013 cover story, “The Truth About Suicide,” by visiting

Less than 1 percent of illegal minors deported

Data released in August showed authorities apprehended 37,477 unaccompanied minors at America’s southern border in the first seven months of 2014. At the same time, the nation’s 227 immigration judges released more than 37,000 of these into the United States. The number of minors who were deported? A mere 280.

This is not what politicians have promised the public. For example, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said on July 7 that “most of the kids who go through this process” will be found to have no “legal basis to remain in this country.” “Our message is absolutely don’t send your children unaccompanied on trains or through a bunch of smugglers,” President Barack Obama told abc’s Good Morning America on June 26. “That is our direct message to the families in Central America. Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they’ll get sent back.”

But as of July, these non-Mexican illegal minors have a 0.7 percent chance of being sent home. These odds are certain to encourage more illegal minors to breach the U.S. border.

The release of these illegal minors comes at a social and economic cost. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (fair) estimated that the state of Texas would spend $12.1 billion on illegal aliens in 2013. This figure was released before this year’s surge in illegal minors and other illegal aliens. According to fair, the estimated taxes paid by illegal aliens does not come close to paying for these outlays. Texas isn’t the only state feeling the impact. Illegal minors have been sent and continue to be sent all over the country.

Robert Rector and Jason Richwine, Ph.D., conducted an independent study on the fiscal cost of illegal immigrants to the U.S. taxpayer. They reported that as of 2010, all illegal immigrants in the country would cost taxpayers $6.3 trillion in government benefits over a lifetime. That was four years ago, well before the numbers swelled to their current levels.

While the number of illegal minors that are sent home can be counted in the hundreds, the number that stay in America is tabulated in the tens of thousands. Next year, it will reach an estimated 142,000.