Tuesday, November 17, 2009

U.S. Hunger

The Right-Wing narrative is that no one is hungry or poor in America -- "This is the only country in the world where our poor people are fat! Hurr Hurr Hurr!" -- but, in fact, not only are Americans poor, we're getting poorer.

No, it's not Third World Poor.  Only a few of us actually crouch under bridges and have no possessions at all.

But once people climb out of their basements and rip themselves away from their laptops, they'll find actual people, trying to live in some actual dire situations, here in this country -- living on twelve to twenty thousand a year, without health insurance, with no dental care (there's a reason my Arkansas students are missing teeth), with no vision care (I wince every year, at the first of the semester, when I write on the board for the first time, and five or six students move to the front row, squinting -- not because my handwriting is small, because it isn't -- they can't see), without enough money to buy food, the last weeks of the month.

Food insecurity, this gets called, and it's increasing these days, like everything else.

...about 49 million people, or 14.6 percent of U.S. households [...] a significant increase from 2007, when 11.1 percent of U.S. households suffered from what USDA classifies as "food insecurity" — not having enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle.  Researchers blamed the increase in hunger on a lack of money and other resources.

Over on the Winger blogs, this gets dismissed -- if they didn't spend their money on plasma TVs, and bling, on malt liquor and smokes, on lottery tickets and cheap hamburgers, they'd have plenty of money for food.  If they would just learn to live on rice and peas, like we did when we were poor, it's not that these people are poor, it's that they're wastrels.  Let'm starve, it'll teach'm a lesson!

Any time anyone says shit like that, I know right off he's never actually been poor.  Here's a clue, for anyone who needs a smack with a clue stick: being low on funds for a few weeks, or even a few months -- that's not poverty.

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