Skip to comments.The 'Hunger' Hoax (Thomas Sowell)
Posted on 10/03/2011 11:10:09 AM PDT by jazusamo
Twenty years ago, hysteria swept through the media over "hunger in America."
Dan Rather opened a CBS Evening News broadcast in 1991 declaring, "one in eight American children is going hungry tonight." Newsweek, the Associated Press and the Boston Globe repeated this statistic, and many others joined the media chorus, with or without that unsubstantiated statistic.
When the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Agriculture examined people from a variety of income levels, however, they found no evidence of malnutrition among those in the lowest income brackets. Nor was there any significant difference in the intake of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from one income level to another.
That should have been the end of that hysteria. But the same "hunger in America" theme reappeared years later, when Senator John Edwards was running for Vice President. And others have resurrected that same claim, right up to the present day.
Ironically, the one demonstrable nutritional difference between the poor and others is that low-income women tend to be overweight more often than others. That may not seem like much to make a political issue, but politicians and the media have created hysteria over less.
The political left has turned obesity among low-income individuals into an argument that low-income people cannot afford nutritious food, and so have to resort to burgers and fries, pizzas and the like, which are more fattening and less healthful. But this attempt to salvage something from the "hunger in America" hoax collapses like a house of cards when you stop and think about it.
Burgers, pizzas and the like cost more than food that you can buy at a store and cook yourself. If you can afford junk food, you can certainly afford healthier food. An article in the New York Times of September 25th by Mark Bittman showed that you can cook a meal for four at half the cost of a meal from a burger restaurant. So far, so good. But then Mr. Bittman says that the problem is "to get people to see cooking as a joy." For this, he says, "we need action both cultural and political." In other words, the nanny state to the rescue!
Since when are adult human beings supposed to do only those things that are a joy? I don't find any particular joy in putting on my shoes. But I do it rather than go barefoot. I don't always find it a joy to drive a car, especially in bad weather, but I have to get from here to there.
An arrogant elite's condescension toward the people treating them as children who have to be jollied along is one of the poisonous problems of our time. It is at the heart of the nanny state and the promotion of a debilitating dependency that wins votes for politicians while weakening a society.
Those who see social problems as requiring high-minded people like themselves to come down from their Olympian heights to impose their superior wisdom on the rest of us, down in the valley, are behind such things as the hunger hoax, which is part of the larger poverty hoax.
We have now reached the point where the great majority of the people living below the official poverty level have such things as air-conditioning, microwave ovens, either videocassette recorders or DVD players, and own either a car or a truck.
Why are such people called "poor"? Because they meet the arbitrary criteria established by Washington bureaucrats. Depending on what criteria are used, you can have as much official poverty as you want, regardless of whether it bears any relationship to reality.
Those who believe in an expansive, nanny state government need a large number of people in "poverty" to justify their programs. They also need a large number of people dependent on government to provide the votes needed to keep the big nanny state going.
Politicians, welfare state bureaucrats and others have incentives to create or perpetuate hoaxes, whether about poverty in general or hunger in particular. The high cost to taxpayers is exceeded by the even higher cost of lost opportunities for fulfillment in their lives by those who succumb to the lure of a stagnant life of dependency.
"...Since when are adult human beings supposed to do only those things that are a joy? I don't find any particular joy in putting on my shoes. But I do it rather than go barefoot. I don't always find it a joy to drive a car, especially in bad weather, but I have to get from here to there. An arrogant elite's condescension toward the people treating them as children who have to be jollied along is one of the poisonous problems of our time. It is at the heart of the nanny state and the promotion of a debilitating dependency that wins votes for politicians while weakening a society..."
Thomas Sowell NAILED IT!
Absolutely! I don’t believe Dr. Sowell could have stated it any better.
Yo’ man, our “starving overweight” sisters need food stamps now!
I believe that every hungry family should be given a stipend of beans, rice, tang and powdered milk instead of EBT cards.
what a rare convergence of circumstances it is for Libs that we can have a hunger epidemic AND a childhood obesity problem at the same time
Yo man, our starving overweight sisters need food stamps now!
You mean the ones with the hair extentions and the 4 inch designer finger nails?
Let’s see photos of emaciated American children and I may entertain the idea of Hunger in America.
Photos of school groups of the first half of the 20th century did not include any other than slim children. That is when they ate at home, food prepared by their mother.
I bet there is not one school group photo, from anywhere in the US in 2011, that will not have quite a few “chubbies” in it.
Too little food is not a problem in the USA.
[ I believe that every hungry family should be given a stipend of beans, rice, tang and powdered milk instead of EBT cards. ]
Double NAILED IT!
Such nonsense is the very reason for my tagline.
Thanks for posting.
I have to ask the question...where are these people? All I see around my part of the country are either very fit, well-dressed people who appear happy and well-able to feed themselves, or extremely well-fed people who look like they might need an extra tire to help support their bulk. Where are the hungry and starving people?
I know that kind of diet would be dull and boring, but there's a solution to that.
Get a job and you can buy whatever you want to eat.
Just like poor Africans and Haitians.
ya’ left off “have cell phones, smoke at least 1 pack of $5 cigarettes daily, have cable TV . . . . “
Nothing more than that redundant addition needs to be said.
Calling Captain Obvious?
There is a problem, and some children do not get enough to eat in this country. Hunger is not the problem, it is a symptom of the problem.
In Long Beach, Ca. outside of many a grocery store you will find someone offering to sell their EBT allotment for half price. They want to purchase drugs or alcohol and they need cash for that. Drug addicts are never hungry. If kids are going hungry it is not because of lack of effort on our part.
There is also the related problem of the killing fields in Mexico and the mass migration of Mexicans flooding our borders. All of this is a huge threat to our stability. I believe it is time to get serious about the problem, the real problem, drug addiction.
I am talking about automatic death sentence to major drug dealers, cartel members, gang members involved in distribution. There is no nice way to stop this cancer that is destroying our country. We don't need therapy we need surgery.
>>>I believe that every hungry family should be given a stipend of beans, rice, tang and powdered milk instead of EBT cards.<<<
About 15 years ago, my wife, newborn son, and myself found ourselves on food stamps. We really didn’t need them, but we kept getting pestered about it, and finally we gave in.
We ate like freaking royalty. You’d be amazed at how much chuck steak, rice, veggies, fruit, and chicken you can buy with what they give you. We always bought in bulk, and wisely used what they gave us. The punch line: we still have some dried beans and rice from that period of our lives.
On the other hand, we’re a rarity. I’m with you. If you’re really hungry, here are some beans and rice. Chow down.
“Burgers, pizzas and the like cost more than food that you can buy at a store and cook yourself.”
I used to work with a girl who was VERY overweight. She had a couple small kids and dinner was fast food at least 4 times a week.
She was too stupid and too lazy to actually buy things and make dinner.
I think she is pretty typical.
I told her once how much groceries she could buy with what she spent on fast food. She wasn’t interested because she was too lazy to prepare things for her family ... never mind that they were not getting proper nutrition on fast food!!!
>>Just like poor Africans and Haitians.<<
Actually, I give to poor Africans and Haitians. They ARE poor.
I’m just tired of watching my relatives on the dole, not only eating better than we are, but also getting free gastric bypass surgeries to overcome eating better than we do.
I often see EBT cards at Kroger (where I pick up sale items)
I rarely see them at Aldi’s (where I do the majority of my shopping)
I wish I could eat like they do.
I’m gonna try me that ‘stagnant life of dependency...’
That would suit my personality and moral code just fine, don’t ‘cha think? LOL!
Another one hit out of the park by the man whose brain I love!
You’re not foolin me, Diana, it doesn’t fitcha at all. ;-)
And yep, another home run.
I’ve been stuck home for 4 weeks (2 to go!) with a broken foot and it’s nearly driven me ‘round the bend! I can’t NOT be productive, as much as my Government punishes me for it...
Dang! Sorry to hear that and I can understand the driving you ‘round the bend’ part.
About a year and a half ago our daughter broke the large leg bone just above her ankle and was laid up for several months, the first few weeks she couldn’t put any weight on it, even though she had a cast on it. They have three kids though two of them were old enough to fend for themselves and she about went bonkers.
Sorry to hear about THAT! My injury could’ve been worse, so I’m counting my blessings, believe me! But that first night I just laid there and though, ‘How the *@#)*$% am I going to do the zillion things around here that need doing each day?”
But, my family and friends rallied and I am SO grateful! These upcoming weeks are going to be the worst of it because I feel OK, but I know I’m not QUITE there yet...
Excellent. Thanks for the ping jaz.
“Burgers, pizzas and the like cost more than food that you can buy at a store and cook yourself. “
See my tagline.
$1 meals: ABuckAPlate
I’ve discovered the perfect bread recipe; will soon have a post on it. $0.50 per 1.5 lb loaf.
What is that? That’s a parody, right?
Sowell once again captures the essence in one sentence. Liberal do-gooders will be our destruction.
The truth is often told in jest.
“Ive discovered the perfect bread recipe; will soon have a post on it. $0.50 per 1.5 lb loaf.”
Would you please ping me to that recipe?
Thank you very much.
I can’t say it any better than does the gif image you posted. That was great.
Glad you liked it...man, Thomas Sowell is a national treasure. So few people know who this guy is.
“Thomas Sowell is a national treasure. So few people know who this guy is”
Given who controls the LameStreamMedia, that fact is no accident.
Mr. Sowell, Justice Thomas, Herman Cain and folks just like them are hated, literally hated by the Liberals/Progressives/Marxists and the media because they destroy the indoctrination that keeps so many “Blacks” as captured souls to their political agendas.
If Mr. Sowell alone had been on the American TV screens just as much as New York Senator Chuckeecheese Schumer, for as far back as before Obama was elected, the myth destroying affects of Mr. Sowell may have saved the nation from an Obama presidency.
For the nation to have heard this erudite and seminal intellectual identify his points of opposition to Obama - with the clarity and brevity only Mr. Sowell can do, as often as they heard the constant, daily Obama campaign, masquerading as broadcast TV news reporting, I think even the hapless McPain may have had a chance.
That is why keeping Mr. Sowell out of the public space of national broadcast TV is so important to the Left. No one bursts so many myths, simultaneously, as does Thomas Sowell.
I have been searching and I can’t find the studies by the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Agriculture that Sowell talks about. I have a friend who thinks Sowell just made up the story. Can anyone here find the studies?
One guy said that maybe the study was real but just not available on the web. That is possible but not very likely. Just about every little scientific study you can imagine is posted on the web somewhere.
I sent an email to National Review and asked about this. I will tell you what I find out. I could not find Sowell's email address. If anyone finds the study, or knows Sowell's email address please let me know.