America the Hungry

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You’ve no doubt seen the public service announcement on television that states that in America one person out of eight is currently going hungry. A voiceover by President Obama tells us that food banks just can’t keep up with the demand.

True, the economy is bad. But we have something called the food stamp program to help people out. It was recently renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and it currently provides benefits to over 30 million Americans. That’s about 100/0 of the population. Then there’s the Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program (WIC), which provides mothers, expectant mothers, infants, and small children “found to be at nutritional risk” with free food.

On top of the government programs we have churches and other charities providing free meals for the homeless and others. So how can it be that one in eight Americans – 12.5% of the population – is going hungry?

A few more statistics: 99.5% of American households own a refrigerator; 99% own a TV; 89% own at least one car. As of 2005, 76% owned a computer (the percentage has probably gone up since then).

Given all of the above, I find it hard to fathom that something like 12% of Americans are going hungry. I believe the figure originated in a news story from last fall. If the report is true, it would appear that we have an enormous number of people in this country who are so stupid that they can’t locate the free food that’s available. Or we have millions of people who prefer to go hungry rather than lose their cable and internet service. Or perhaps the report is not true. Then we have a big load of bullcrap being dumped on us by the government, the media, and the ubiquitous “advocates for the hungry.”


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