December 15, 2010

Hunger in America? Bah-Humbug

Returning once again to politics and policy. This time: hunger in America. It's a serious concern and a growing problem, including in our own area:

Almost 100,000 more Pennsylvania households were receiving supplemental nutrition assistance, or food stamps, this October than last October, from 698,678 to 795,554, said Michael Race, spokesman for the state Department of Public Welfare.

In Allegheny County, the jump from last to this October was 17,000, for a total of 153,681.

Ken Regal, co-director of Just Harvest, a nonprofit that helps people enroll and tracks countywide numbers, said food stamp recipients in the county totaled 100,000 six years ago.

Based on comments from people seeking help to receive food stamps, he said, increasing numbers are new at being needy. Agencies that distribute food also saw demand jump this year with a marked increase in first-timers.

But, one conservative a@#hole asks, in looking at the most recent report from the USDA on food security in the United States, are these people really hungry?

The remaining one-third of food-insecure households, with 17.6 million people, experienced "very low food security" in 2009. According to the USDA, "very low food security" means that, at least once during the year, some members of the household reduced their intake because of a lack of funds to purchase food. Most of these households temporarily cut back the sizes of their meals. At the extreme, about 1.7 percent of all adults in the U.S. went at least one entire day without eating because of a lack of funds for food.

Fortunately, children are generally shielded from food cutbacks and food insecurity. Only one child in 75 went "hungry" for even a single day during 2009 because of a lack of food in the home. And only one child in 100 missed even a single meal during the entire year because of food shortfalls in the home.

I particularly like the quotes around "hungry" in that paragraph above. I mean, I guess it's not really that big a deal that some poor child didn't get dinner because his family has no money. I mean, that's life in the current incarnation of America: A@#holes like Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation will argue 'til Ronald Reagan emerges from the grave that rich people should have their taxes cut -- despite no evidence that it does diddly to create jobs or improve the economy, while at the same time only further growing the deficit -- but expanding school lunch programs to more kids, which does have a price tag, but only a small portion of the price of those tax cuts -- well, that's just downright socialism. Or, as he concludes later, just an excuse to expand the welfare state. Ah, such insightful commentary.

Then we have another rich white person, the generally loathsome Kate O'Beirne, who simply cannot understand that a parent isn't able to give his or her kids a decent breakfast. How can this be?

And if we’re going to ask more of ourselves, my question is what poor excuse for a parent can’t rustle up a bowl of cereal and a banana? I just don’t get why millions of school children qualify for school breakfasts unless we have a major wide spread problem with child neglect.

Yup. Many of these parents whose kids need a meal at school, they're purposefully making their kids hungry. Heck, I betcha they enjoy not being able to give their kids a decent meal.

Are there parents who game the system? Undoubtedly. Of course, that's just wrong. But those Wall Street bankers who did it, and in so doing nearly brought down the entire financial system, well, their just being overrun by excessive government regulation and being unfairly characterized as evil when they're just trying to make an excessive living doing nothing but gambling like a Texas Hold 'Em junkie on a last-ditch binge in Vegas.

I can think of some things other than coal I'd like to put in Ms. O' Beirne and Mr. Rector's stockings this year.

Oh, and donate to the food bank. They really need your help, this year more than ever.

1 comment:

Promotional Pens said...

Hunger appears to be a growing problem... there is never an easy solution.