Child Hunger in America: Fraud and Gullibility

I listen to National Public Radio frequently because I am a pervert. My prurient curiosity is often rewarded. On 7/19/10, around 4pm (Pacific Time) the lady host of one of the regular shows reminds us that one of President Obama’s many objectives is “to end childhood hunger in America.” I am curious because the whole idea that children don’t have enough to eat in this country makes me suspicious. (Old people, I think that’s possible because of lack of mobility and isolation.) The first words out of the reporter’s mouth are exactly this: “ A package of Kool-Aid costs….”

Would I make this up?

Ms NPR reporter: Kool-Aid is not food; it’s a mild drug. I was raised on tap water and my family was not even really poor. I did become a pervert, as I just confessed, but the water is hardly to blame.

The NPR target family has four members, plus cousins who drop in often for a meal. The oldest daughter, still in high-school, is pregnant. There is no mention of the sperm donor. The family’s name is Williamson. With an English name like this, they came on the Mayflower, or they are old English aristocracy or, take your pick.

The mother is a housewife the reporterette* describes as corpulent. NPR follows this brave woman as she travels hectically from free food pantry to cheap discount outlet in a desperate struggle to put enough food on the table for her family. Toward the end of the show, the reporterette mentions casually that the family receives $600 monthly in food stamps.

I know this is heartless but I had to ask myself the question, and then I asked my wife who does most of the shopping and with whom I raised two children: Could I, could we, feed four people on $150 a week?

The answer is a clear yes, even in pricey, resorty Santa Cruz, even shopping at relatively expensive Safeway, even with a pregnant teen-ager. It would be even easier in an urban area where you can food- shop at Walmart or at Costco. It would not be gourmet food and it could not include much prepared (processed) food. That modest amount of money would make for a healthy and especially for abundant home-cooked fare.

The husband and father, the only one employed in the family, earns $18,000. That’s very little, of course. It probably qualifies the family of four for other government aid, including health coverage and rent assistance. Even if none of this is correct, I doubt his paycheck cannot contribute $25 a week toward food. That would be $1250 per year for extras, maybe even for Kool-Aid.

Something does not ad up in this story. What do these people eat? Fully processed but organic apples obtained through Fair Trade? The liberal reporterette does not bat an eyelash. (I don’t hear it bat on the radio at any rate.) I wonder if she has ever gone shopping for food in a real store, or if she orders out, or if she only eats out.

Why are so many vile stereotypes right on the dot?

Are there really better examples of hungry children in America? Again, I am extremely skeptical but I am educable. Please, help me.

And yet, yes, I think it’s possible that there are children who go hungry periodically in this country. It’s not because of poverty though, it’s because their parents are ignorant, lazy or zonked out of their minds. Something needs to be done on such children’s behalf but the remedies are not the same as if this were Ethiopia or Somalia in war years.

Liberals have to be made to stop pretending this country is “kind of like the Third World, kind of,” even by small implications, even in half-spoken ways. We are surrounded with such pretense. It contributes to a climate of doom that ends up being paralyzing, to the young especially: If the world is all “fucked up,” why try to accomplish anything?

Small commentators like me, even honest people engaged in light conversation, the rank-and-file, must call such liberal and leftist lies- by-implication every time they hear them. I also think they should punish media that perpetrate such mendacity by boycotting them and by saying why at every opportunity. (See my recent column on the agony of the print press posted 7/15/10. It stages the President of a famous university and feces. )

Rational people who think facts matter have been agreeable too long to routine intellectual dishonesty. It’s high time to bitch loudly, every single time. Try it; you will like it.

* I don’t call all women journalists “reporterette.” In fact, the press person I admire most is Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal. I also admire Peggy Noonan although I sometimes disagree vigorously with her viewpoint. The NPR reporter, though is a silly goose. She deserves the name. And I will be called a “sexist.” Who give a f…!


About Jacques Delacroix

I am a sociologist, a short-story writer, and a blogger (Facts Matter and Notes On Liberty) in Santa Cruz, California.
This entry was posted in Socio-Political Essays and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Child Hunger in America: Fraud and Gullibility

  1. Dear Dr. D.

    I’m always surprised to hear that you listen to NPR.
    Your comment on the “child hunger” story makes my case…

    NPR generally sprouts garbage, with a too strong liberal smell. Of course they are not the only ones doing this, which is why I stick to Rush, Hannity, and Beck on the radio–maybe some classical music thrown in.

    As a graduate student (1968-1973), my wife, myself, and two small children managed to live on my $3500/year stipend from my NSF Fellowship, plus a few thousand $ per year in student loans–While we never could eat out of course, we were never hungry.

    As a postdoc at Case Western Reserve University, I made the princely stipend of $10,000 per year…this permitted all of to even eat out perhaps once a month. No hunger here.

    Based on my experience, I simply can’t feel any compassion for the millions of Americans on say food stamps, and other niceties of the public dole.

    I might be considered a “hard ass” by many liberals, but all I can say is that I’ve been there, and done that, and survived on my own very well.

    Stephen Schindler
    Carmel Valley, CA

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Hi, Stephen. Your examples would be more useful if you took the trouble to convert your numerical examples into today’s dollars. Get off your hard conservative ass and do it, please.

      I listen to the radio ten hours a day or so. That allows plenty of time for NPR. Why NPR? First, I want to know what the smartest of my enemies think. That’s pretty well NPR, except for the New Yorker which I am not man enough to stomach. NPR reporting has the immense merit of being innocent (I think) unlike the NY Times . for example. The second reason is that NPR has good shows to which I have zero or only weak objections. One is “This American Life,” the best show about stories ever; another is “Lake Wobegon.” The latter’s display of knee-jerk liberal opinion I can easily ignore because of its otherwise permanent display of entertainment talent. In addition, the local FM stations that subscribe to NPR also have good music shows. Often, I just forget to tune off after the music.
      Listening to NPR has not hurt me. It’s made me more of a man. Sometimes, I use what I hear on NPR to make fully grown liberals cry.

      • Dear Jacques:

        Yes, you are right…I fail Economics 101 badly. I guess I was just lazy, and was content to simply pat myself on my back for the so-called “hardships” I thought I went through as a grad student, and a postdoc. Actually they were fun years…

        In finally looking at the economic statistics, maybe I wasn’t as bad off as I thought…poor, on the low side of the income curve, but not starving…

        Based on Government statistics, the median family income in the US in 1970 was $8730. This increased to about $48,000 by 2006 (US Social Security data)–about a factor of 5.4 increase. The cost of living increase between 1970 and 2006 was approximately a factor of 5.5. However, note that these figures are across the entire US.
        As we know these figures do vary between cities and states. So, I would guess we could probably put a statistical uncertainty on this number (5.5) of maybe (+/-) 1.2–1.4 (a ballpark number).

        My $3500 stipend/year plus say $3000 in student loans/year as a grad student, resulting in a total income of $6500 in 1968-1973, is then comparable to an income of approximately $35, 750 +/- maybe $10,000 in 2006. Still low in some areas, but not starving…

        So, thanks for correcting me, and getting me to think once again….

        Stephen M. Scindler
        Carmel Valley, CA

        PS: As far as the radio shows I listen to, I did forget to mention that I listen to your show every Sunday–a real breath of fresh air on the airwaves…

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Hi, Stephen, I did not correct you, I shamed you into doing the right thing. Thanks, it’s useful

  2. kimboslice says:

    Listening to NPR is masochistic, but I listen for laughs sometimes while driving. NPR is popular only with the lefty liberals who seek validation for their silly views. So, it can never be popular, since only a small yet vocal and rabid minority of fools have such beliefs.

  3. R. Stanczyk says:

    this is a old post but I agree there is no “hunger” in America. If there is it is not because of the lack of Gov. programs. We now have “free breakfasts and lunches” for kids, the only requirement is that you are under 18. What is going on here.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Exactly. Where I live (Santa Cruz, California, that there is widespread hunger has become accepted wisdom. I think I am the only one challenging the idea . One lie at a time, liberals create a mental world that demands government intervention. It’ s useful to challenge every lie.

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