Obama & Congress Indifferent to Growth of Hunger ("Except Insatiable Hunger of Rich for More Wealth")
Patrick Martin writes:
In a society which took seriously the value of human life and the future of its children, the spectacle of 50 million people at risk of hunger, including 17 million children, would be a social emergency. Given that the United States once boasted of its ability to feed the planet, the indifference to the growth of hunger at home is a national scandal.
But in the America of 2010, the news about hunger was relegated to small items on the inside pages of newspapers (A21 in the Washington Post, nothing in the New York Times), and failed to make a splash on the evening news broadcasts, more concerned with the engagement of Britain’s Prince William.
Did you know that extension of unemployment benefits this year was partly funded by cutting the food stamp program? This is outrageous. This is generally not known.
According to Patrick Martin a new report from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture reveals 50 million Americans exist under the poverty line and were too poor to buy adequate food last year. That is approximately 17.4 million families. More than a third of these households, with over one million children, were forced to skip meals.
Since 2006 “food insecure” households that require food stamps have tripled.
Martin writes of the latest governmental and media spin to discount the hunger crisis:
In keeping with the Obama administration’s policy of minimizing the depth of the social crisis, the USDA official who released the report, Under Secretary Kevin Concannon, said the latest hunger survey showed a “stabilization” of the problem compared to the year before. In other words, just as many people were hungry in 2009 as in 2008, as though that represented “progress” rather than making permanent a level of social misery not seen in America for 40 years.
Concannon said the report was a hopeful one, since the number of hungry people did not increase even though the number of unemployed Americans rose sharply from 9 million in 2008 to 14 million in 2009. He credited food stamps and other federal programs for staving off any further increase in hunger. “This report highlights just how critical federal nutrition assistance programs are for American families,” he said.
So federal nutrition assistance programs are critical for American families. This is acknowledged by the Obama administration. Will adequate programs now be provided? With Obama-careless incrementalism or, worse, austerity determinism? Congress, too, knows who is buttering their bread, and it is not the poor. With "do and say anything" commitments to corporate pimps and the hell with everyone else, including America's starving children, our amoral ruling class -- brace yourself -- will inflict further massive cruelty to America's growing underclass, now 50 million out of 300 million, but that shameful number will be increasing exponentially thanks to the Washington Beltway "screw ordinary Americans" way.
Despite the complacency voiced by the Obama administration official, there is ample reason to believe that the present nutrition programs, already inadequate to meet the social need, will be further slashed by Congress. The Child Nutrition Act must be reauthorized this year, and the Senate version of the bill cuts more than $2 billion from food stamps in order to pay for the increasing cost of school lunches—essentially robbing children at home in order to feed them in school. ...
So, let’s take a sec to repeat these outrages (as the rich are being protected from justified taxation). Unemployment benefits extended this year by robbing from the food stamp program. And now school lunches for children will be funded by reducing food stamps for the same kids from their food at home. And consider the Scrooge-like twinkles in the eyes of the Deficit Reduction Commission. The Tiny Tims of America will go profoundly without this holiday season and thereafter.
The hunger report provides another dimension for measuring the social irresponsibility, greed and outright cruelty of the US financial aristocracy, which is far more concerned with fattening its own outrageous bank accounts and assets than with alleviating mass suffering in the richest country in the world.
The US Congress began its “lame duck” session Monday, to be followed by a bipartisan summit Thursday between President Obama and congressional Democratic and Republican leaders. The food crisis will not be on the agenda in these discussions. The only hunger being discussed is the truly insatiable craving of the rich for even more wealth.
The Obama administration and the Republicans are currently negotiating the terms for the Democratic Party’s surrender to right-wing demands for an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. This will cost $700 billion over the next decade, or $70 billion a year, more than the cost of all federal nutrition programs combined.
Meanwhile, Obama has praised the proposal from the chairmen of his deficit reduction commission to impose drastic cuts in social programs for the elderly and the poor along with lower taxes for the rich and for corporations and higher taxes for the working class. The mantra of the White House, the political establishment and the media is that the American people have been living beyond their means and must accept a reduction in their consumption.
The US ruling elite and both its political parties, the Democrats as well as the Republicans, are indifferent to the growth of hunger and deprivation.
I am sure the American ruling class will enjoy opulent Thanksgiving dinners.
This degree of injustice and inequality astounds.