The Op-Ed below is another example of the ridiculous do-gooder attitude of liberals and lovers of government control. This guy contradicts himself at every turn. His story begins with examples of his parents helping poor people with food and clothing when he was a child. That is a great story. Direct charity to your fellow man is a great thing. Donating clothes to the Purple Heart or giving food or money to your local food bank is a worthy thing to do.
But immediately this guy ignores his own history and demands that government do more for the starving children of America. What a crock. There are 310 million Americans and you can count on one hand the number of children who starve to death in the US. Poor kids in America are much more likely to look like this:
They are hardly starving. Every poor kid in America already can get a free breakfast and lunch in our public schools. Why our taxes should feed kids in school, I don’t know. We are already spending $72 billion a year on food stamps. Just because their parents are buying KFC and Twinkies with the food stamps isn’t my problem.
Can these liberal do-gooders make up their minds. In November of 2009 President Obama “reacted with concern” at a report that Americans are suffering “record levels” of “food insecurity”. President Obama was quoted as saying that “it is particularly troubling that there were more than 500,000 families in which a child experienced hunger multiple times over the course of the year.” In his statement, the President committed to “reversing the trend of rising hunger. In addition, a bill I signed into law last month invests $85 million in new strategies to prevent children from experiencing hunger in the summer.”
Then three months later Michelle Obama began her campaign against childhood obesity. Some of the goals include ending what Obama referred to as “food deserts” with a $400 million a year “Healthy Food Financing Initiative,” which will bring grocery stores to low-income neighborhoods and “help places like convenience stores carry healthier food options.” Mrs. Obama also plans to have the government spend over $10 billion to feed even more children through government programs, under the Childhood Nutrition Act.
So which is it? How can poor children be starving and obese at the same time? They can’t. The starving children storyline is false. I think it is hysterical that Thomasson quotes from the CON AGRA FOODS FOUNDATION report about starving children in America. Of course the biggest food company in the world is going to try and convince the government to spend more taxpayer dollars on food because it will increase their profits.
I love the weasel words like “food insecurity” and “food deprivation”. The averge schmuck reading this editorial will be nodding their head in agreement. Something must be done. We can’t let this happen in America. It’s total bullshit. This quote from an article interviewing Robert Rector from the Heritage Foundation captures the essence of the debate:
Groups such as Feed the Children paint a bleak picture, proclaiming that 12 million American children are “at risk” of going hungry. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which conducts the nation’s food-consumption and hunger survey, says otherwise. “During the full course of the year, only one child in 67 was reported ‘hungry,’ even temporarily, because the family couldn’t afford enough food,” Mr. Rector reports. “Ninety-nine percent of children did not skip a single meal during 2009 because of lack of financial resources. …
No, none of this means America’s poor live in the lap of luxury. Indeed, some are in dire circumstances and in need of charity. But — on average — their lifestyles are equally far from the images of stark deprivation often purveyed by activists and the mainstream media.
Nor is this unimportant or simply some academic exercise intended to dismiss the plight of those truly struggling to survive. “If we as a nation are ever to have a sound anti-poverty policy,” Mr. Rector concludes, “it must be based on accurate information on the extent, severity and causes of actual deprivation.
I drive through West Philadelphia every day. It is one of the poorest sections of a poor city. These people aren’t living high on the hog, but they ain’t starving either. I’d say 7 out of 10 people that I see on the streets are obese. I have yet to see an emaciated or malnourished soul in the four years I’ve been driving along the 30 Blocks of Squalor. But I do see every kid with a cell phone. I see every house with a satellite dish. I see Cadillacs, BMWs, Mercedes and racing motorcycles parked in front of low income housing.
If you want to help the poor, donate food to a food shelter or volunteer to help. Giving more of our taxes to the Federal Government so they can further impoverish poor people and waste money on buraucracy and failed programs is foolish and stupid. I hear times are so tough in West Philly that Friedchickenlashiqua had to cut back to one bucket per day.
Thomasson: U.S. has no excuse for hungry children
My mother couldn’t stand to see a hungry child or one inadequately dressed for the weather. On occasion when she had need to drive me or one of my siblings to school because we had missed the bus, we would pass children obviously suffering from the afflictions of poverty.
“Oh my,” she would say, her eyes welling up. She would immediately stop the car to ask the child’s name if I didn’t recognize him or her. With that information she would find some way to make sure they had a warm coat and other clothing and a basket of food. We certainly weren’t wealthy but we were better off than many in those days when the aftershocks of the Depression were still being felt.
When my father died, a letter to the editor of his local newspaper told how the writer and his sister had been sitting disconsolate on the stoop of their small house just before Christmas in the mid-1930s. They were forlorn and hungry realizing that there would be no holiday cheer. Then my father drove up, hopped out with a basket full of food and clothes and presents. My father never spoke of it but the author of the letter never forgot it more than 40 years later.
There weren’t many government safety nets for unfortunate Americans in those days. People through their churches and social organizations and just plain individuals picked up the slack where they could. That is still true, of course. But the urbanization of America has contributed to the still startling number of children in what the experts call “food insecure households”– homes where boys and girls aren’t certain whether they will have anything to eat that day or the next or even the next.
One of the most tragic, inexcusable statistics I have seen in years has nothing to do with the political shenanigans of this town, the inability of the Congress to stop our financial bleeding or the president’s slipping approval rating as the economy deteriorates. It is simply that the District of Columbia leads the nation in the percentage of children who aren’t receiving enough to eat at home.
A list of states and the federal enclave compiled by the Con Agra Foods Foundation and reprinted recently in The New York Times reveals that in the District 32.3 percent or 36,870 boys and girls face food deprivation.
The District is followed closely by Oregon with 29.2 percent or 252,510 children and Arizona and Arkansas with 28.8 percent and 28.6 percent respectively. Texas, which Gov. Rick Perry in his presidential campaign cites as a model of economic success, has 28.2 percent or a whopping 1.87 million of its kids in the hungry category.
Other states in the top 10 percentage wise are Georgia, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina and Florida. California is ranked 11th with a percentage of 27.3 or 2.58 million, to lead all 51 venues in the actual numbers.
Altogether, there are a startling 17.1 million youngsters or one quarter of the nation’s children who aren’t being properly fed, who often go to bed hungry and trudge off in the morning stomachs growling until they get to school where they receive some sustenance if some politician hasn’t decided feeding them costs too much. In the District the number of students eligible for free or reduced cost food at school is a startling 76 percent.
A large number, but by no means all, of these children nationwide live in the inner cities of our urban sprawl — African and Hispanic Americans and other ethnic groups. There are also a large number of white children suffering, particularly in the rural South and Appalachia. Hunger obviously makes no ethnic distinction. With joblessness stubbornly resisting improvement, the numbers are growing steadily and the pressures being put on the public school systems and other community services are accelerating at the same rate.
For the District of Columbia to lead the nation in hungry kids in the shadow of the Capitol and the White House is disgraceful, an unforgivable national tragedy. If those who run this government so badly these days do nothing else, they should end this. My mother would demand it if she were alive.
(E-mail Dan K. Thomasson, former editor of the Scripps Howard News Service, at thomassondan(at)aol.com.)