More Americans are skipping breakfast and other basics just to pay the bills, the AP reports. With gas hitting highs this year and food prices up as much as 44%, even $35,000-plus wage earners are lining up for food, and food banks report acute shortages. One consultant says he hasn’t seen buyers in such straits since the recession of 2000-2001.
So sellers like Wal-Mart, Family Dollar and 7-Eleven are having sales when consumers have cash. But analysts fear that winter’s bills and higher mortgage rates could still mean more poverty. New York and Boston food banks are already reporting spikes of 30-70% this year: "I am shocked to see such numbers," says a food bank director. "I am really concerned that this is just the beginning." (Read more energy prices stories.)