Sunday, December 17, 2006

Hungry For More

Jonah Goldberg:
I could swear Ted Kennedy said this morning on Fox News Sunday that some 36 million Americans go to bed hungry every night and 12 million of them are children (I'm quoting from memory). He insisted that the numbers were on his side. I'm sorry, but does anyone think that's even remotely true? That systemic hunger is a chief symptom and problem of poverty in America? Come on.

Heehee...that Ted Kennedy. So ridiculous.

The Food Research and Action Center, October of 2005:
The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) announced today that a new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report based on Census Bureau surveys shows the fifth consecutive annual increase--and by far the worst increase since 2000--in the number of food insecure Americans--people living in households suffering from hunger without resources to purchase an adequate diet. The total number of people living in food insecure households in this country went up to 38.2 million in 2004. This number included 24.3 million adults (11.3 percent of all adults) and 13.9 million children (19 percent of all children.)

So it appears that Kennedy was right on the money (indeed, unless the numbers dropped over the past year, he lowballed it).

If these numbers are absolutely unfathomable to Jonah Goldberg, then mayhaps that's a sign that our nation needs to be a tad bit more aggressive in the fight against hunger and poverty. Like Goldberg, I find those numbers unbelievable. Unlike Goldberg, I suspect my initial response isn't to deny (or minimize: "Kennedy's Definition of 'Hunger' is 'food insecure.' For what that's worth.") the data but rather to press as hard as possible to address the problem so that we can reduce this blemish on our national honor.

Via Matthew Yglesias.

1 comment:

Josh said...

Or we could notice that those defined as 'food insecure' are still able to maintain a healthy weight, and aren't actually hungry. Food insecure merely indicates a value of budgeting regarding diet, usually purchasing basic food components (meats, bread, vegetables) due to economic hardship. This typically doesn't involve hunger. Even better, the numbers you are noting regarding 'food insecurity' are measured as to any event throughout the whole year, not every night.

In fact, only one in four "food insecure" households experience any hunger at all, and children were shielded even more than adults from this (only 0.6% of households with children experience hunger at any time during the year, never mind every night).

So, yes, Ted Kennedy was pulling numbers as far as they could go without just ripping them out his ass.