By Sasha Abramsky | Posted Wednesday December 14, 2011
Earlier this week, political leaders in Washington, D.C., launched a plan to ban millionaires from accessing food stamps. It sounded good, as if those in charge of steering the ship of state were finally tackling the problem of the rich and powerful abusing government programs. The only problem? Millionaires aren’t eligible for federal food assistance programs. To be eligible for this, you have to be at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty line.
Instead of tokenistic, sound-bite politics around hunger, and federal attempts to end hunger in America, how about a more honest conversation about poverty, and food access? It’s a huge problem, and getting steadily worse.
Why are so many Americans now so poor that they avoid outright hunger only by enrolling in food stamps? Forty seven million Americans now use the program, and many millions more are poor enough to qualify, but for many reasons haven’t signed on. Why, in a state like California, do only half of eligible residents actually receive this assistance? Why are millions of people, including not only the unemployed but also, increasingly, the working poor and elderly, now having to stand in line at food banks and pantries for scraps of charity food, leading many pantries to run out of food?
Earlier this week, I met a seventy one year old lady in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, who arrived at a pantry at 7a.m., despite it not opening until 11, so that she would be close enough to the front of the line to have a chance at getting some of the meat being given away. A month earlier, I interviewed Vicenta Delgada, an elderly lady in North Philadelphia, suffering from brain cancer, who also sat in line for hours each week waiting for her food. She sat on the street, her walker in front of her, shivering in the morning cold, scared that if she left the line she would lose her week’s supply of eatables.
Why, in the most agriculturally productive country on earth, are there “food deserts,” where healthy, nutritional, fresh produce, is simply unavailable for purchase? Why do we have a food distribution system that makes deeply unhealthy fast and junk food seem the cheaper, better option than fresh produce for millions of low-income Americans?
Given the size of America’s hunger problem, it’s insulting to indulge in sound-bite politics about Food Stamp millionaires. There are, quite simply, bigger issues in play here.
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Adam Ghilchritst from 548 N. Suite 120, Tucson, AZ 85721 on Thursday March 29, 2012:
I noticed that the air hunger got worse whenever I would take my oral magnesium supplement. This reminded me of when I had the same symptom while I was seeing my muscle testing doc. Thanks mate.
Mark waugh from USA on Friday March 30, 2012:
Red Herrings and Hunger ... It sounded good, as if those in charge of steering the ship of state were finally tackling the problem. Is it?
Daniel Aden from New York on Monday April 2, 2012:
Precise decision! I think ‘Food Stamp’ should only for the poor. I appreciate the government’s step though it’s been late already. Thanks for the info.
Lucy Martin from U.S. A on Saturday April 7, 2012:
Heart throwing post pick up again…!!! The posts really touch my heart. We all should come forward to help of these people. I like that and want to know what you thought of it! Keep up the great work! Thanks
Mr. Ferral on Sunday May 20, 2012:
Nice sharing! It’s really great approach have taken by USA government. I hope below poverty line people will be beneficial for this approach. best banks Thanks
Gery Suiffer from USA on Sunday May 20, 2012:
Really I appreciate you for beginning this up. This web site is one area that’s needed online, somebody after a little bit originality. Helpful job for bringing a new challenge to the web!
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push presents on Thursday June 14, 2012:
Really brilliant discussion about red herrings and hunger!! I think Americans now facing hunger because they waste lots of foods everyday. Therefore to reduce hunger problem we need to save foods effectively. push presents Thanks
Wilson Jerremy on Wednesday July 11, 2012:
Hunger problem is concerning for any country. I think to get rid of such problem saving food and discipline eating can help a lot. For better future we need to start honest conversation with everyone.
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