49 Million Americans
I am so glad that Wall Street is on track for such huge bonuses this year. That's because they can use all that money to buy food for the 49 million Americans - 49 million Americans! Jesus! who "lacked consistent access to adequate food" by the end of the Bush administration.
49 million Americans. Shameful. Shameful!
And check this out towards the end:
“Very few of these people are hungry,” said Robert Rector, an analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “When they lose jobs, they constrain the kind of food they buy. That is regrettable, but it’s a far cry from a hunger crisis.”49 million Americans have been "struggling with hunger" - as the director of the food center who sponsored the study says - and all conservatives can say is, "Hey, that's not so bad."
My God, that anyone takes conservatives seriously on anything simply boggles the mind. 49 million Americans can't eat well on a regular basis - not won't, but can't - and this asshole pooh-poohs the problem. (By the way, you might want to Google "Robert Rector Heritage Foundation" for a good idea of how wrong someone can be. Authoring flawed studies on immigration. Advocating worthless sex education programs. He's one more extreme-right conservative clown clone.)
Let's look closer at the situation. Here's a pdf of the report and and here are a few details from the introduction:
On a given day, the number of households with very low food security was a small fraction of the number that experienced this condition “at some time during the year.” Typically, households classiﬁed as having very low food security experienced the condition in 7 or 8 months of the year, for a few days in each of those months. On an average day in late November or early December, 2008, for example, an estimated 1.1 million to 1.4 million households (0.9-1.2 percent of all U.S. households) had members who experienced very low food security, and children experienced these conditions in 86,000 to 111,000 households (0.22 to 0.28 percent of all U.S. households with children). The report says that a "small fraction" of those with "very low food security" are suffering badly on a given day. That is not cause for celebration or relief. To understand exactly what this statistic means we have to personalize it. There isn't a single person reading this blog who wouldn't be appalled at the prospect, let alone the reality, of "having very low food security... in 7 or 8 months of the year, for a few days in each of those months."
That is what Heritage's Robert Rector dismisses. There is only one appropriate and measured response to him: Fuck you, Rector.
All Americans should be ashamed that this is how low the richest, most powerful nation on earth has sunk. True, Bush and Cheney drove this country off a cliff, but it is our collective country, not theirs alone, and this is simply unacceptable. They caused the economic conditions that caused this, but we must address the food access problems that resulted and do so immediately (and seek criminal charges, where appropriate, against those who caused this misery). To the extent that hunger in America - or "food insecurity," to use the euphemism - is not among the most important of our national issues, that is the extent to which this country has had its moral compass warped by rightwing social ideologies, including the ideology of greed.
And man, of man, 49 million Americans struggling with hunger is damned warped.
[Post slightly emended for clarification]