While the ruling elite and their lackeys in the Republican and
Democratic parties negotiate further tax cats for the richest 1% of
Americans, a new report from the USDA indicates that 15% of U.S.
households (50 million people) lacked enough money to buy adequate food
last year. One-third of these went hungry on a regular basis. It should
be self-evident that poverty is the primary cause of hunger, as there is
no shortage of food in America. Over 50 million Americans now live
below the poverty line, with 25% of all U.S. families having at least
one member receiving food stamps or other food aid.
This problem will likely grow worse as congress tries to slash the deficit. Earlier this year, the unemployment
benefits extension was partially paid for by cuts to the food stamps
program, while the senate version of the school lunch bill slashes
another $2 billion from food stamps to cover increased costs of school
lunches. In their charade of trying to appear sensitive to the needs of
children, they will make sure that kids are fed at school, while
preventing their parents from feeding them at home. Extending the Bush
tax cuts, on the other hand, will cost $70 billion per year, more than
all nutrition programs combined.
Bolstering the school lunch program at the expense of food stamps may seem like a classic case of robbing Peter to
pay Paul, but the story is a little more insidious. Food stamps are
often seen as a taxpayer subsidy to poor people, a free handout. Poor
people are portrayed as villains, greedy, lazy, and incompetent. Anyone
can succeed in America if they just work hard; therefore, giving them
food stamps is like rewarding them for their indolence. Kids, on the
other hand, are innocent and must be protected. If kids are poor and
hungry, it must be the fault of their lazy, incompetent parents.
Therefore, let’s feed them at school and not punish them further for
their parents’ mistakes. Additionally, the First Lady has taken on
school lunch as her own personal pet project, adding to its appeal.Yet
the current plan being offered by congress only adds a few cents per
student, hardly enough to go from downer cows and tater tots to salad
bars and tofu.
Seldom discussed are the huge profits to be reaped from both programs. Since the food stamp program switched to
electronic debit cards in the 1990s, CitiCorp has emerged as one of the largest beneficiaries of the pro...
managing billions of dollars each month in disbursement benefits for
Food Stamps, the Veterans Administration, Medicare and other government
agencies. They often charge recipients for access, in addition to their
profits from disbursements, while providing mediocre to lousy service. School lunch programs also subsidize huge corporations
like Aramark, Sodexo and Compass, which earn billions from the program
while serving mass produced and sometimes illness-provoking garbage to
Malnutrition and undernourishment contribute to a host of conditions that harm children and undermine
their ability to succeed academically. Hunger makes it hard to
concentrate and pay attention in class. Malnourished mothers are more
like to give birth to underweight babies, increasing the risk of
cognitive impairment. Malnourishment contributes to iron deficiency
anemia which can lead to learning disabilities. Because junk food is so
much cheaper than nutritious food, poor families eat more of it and have
a much higher risk of obesity and obesity-related diseases. Food
insecurity also contributes to stress, which causes the overproduction
of the stress hormone, cortisol. Chronic overexposure to cortisol can cause memory problems,
and contributes to hypertension, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. It
also weakens the immune system, potentially increasing the number of
days kids miss school.
The real robbery story here is not about Peter and Paul. It is about the rich robbing the rest of us.