Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Food Insecurity, 2

According to the Monitor, “one in 10 South Americans – about 38 million people – escaped poverty during the past decade. That’s remarkable progress by any measure. Contrast that with the United States, where poverty has been growing due to a decade-long stagnation of income for the middle class. In 2009, the US had more poor people than in any of the 51 years since poverty levels have been estimated.” Wow! And with the exception of the last almost two years, who’s been in charge? And what does that tell you about the focus of those people and who they represent?

“Of course, America’s poor are far better off than South America’s poor. And the US still has a much lower poverty rate (14.2 percent versus around 70 percent.)” But still, the trend line is clearly up for South America as progressive governments have made much social progress, and down for the US, as non-progressive governments have reduced or eliminated commitments to social progress in favor of the magic of the so-called ‘fee market.’

And ‘good news’ Leonard Pitts reported in last Wednesday’s Miami Herald, “an average of 17.7% of all Americans were at times unable to feed themselves” in the past twelve months. “You may be wondering : In what universe does a 17.7% ‘food insecurity’ rate qualify as good news,” especially in this the so-called greatest nation on earth? The good news is that “figure represents a drop from the 18.5% rate at the end of 2009. That means that just under 55 million Americans had to go without food at least occasionally.” You might want to “drop a line to your elected representative and let her or him know you consider it unacceptable that children – and even their working parents – hunger in the richest nation on Earth.” We need to “take the critical first step in becoming a nation where everybody eats,” not just the fat cats; where our compassion and common sense (I mean starving people make poor citizens and starving children probably won’t earn enough to pay our Social Security), rise above our political rhetoric, fear, loathing and need to blame.

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