Welfare

Americans Are Hungry? Not So Much…

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The other shoe–really, I couldn't think of a clever alternative related to food–in the Great American Real Life Stretchpants Experiment, a.k.a. the obesity "epidemic", a.k.a. manifest destiny–has dropped: The number of Americans "struggling with hunger," reports the AP, declined in 2005, the first time in six years the figure went down.

Last year, 35 million people experienced food insecurity, meaning they didn't have enough money or resources to get food. The number was 38 million in 2004.

The department [of Agriculture] had waited until after Election Day to issue the annual report, prompting accusations from Democrats that the Bush administration was playing politics with hunger.

Despite the positive news, the report is still drawing criticism, because analysts decided not to use the word "hunger" to describe how hungry people are.

More here.

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  1. Hey, if the quiche fits, wear it.

  2. As per yesterday’s thread on how you can blame illegals for everything, I blame illegal immigrants for both obesity and hunger.

  3. Please help feed the food insecure.
    Thank you.

  4. No, people, this is a sign of Peak Food.

  5. people are fat cause they eat junk and don’t exercise. next.

  6. I’m not sure what the fact that 15% or so of Americans have a hard time buying food has to do with the other 85% that buy and eat too much.

    Also, if somebody can’t afford food, can’t they get government assistance? It’s been a while since I’ve seen a starving American.

  7. Eh? The number goes down, so waiting until after the election is playing politics?

    Must be more of the Rove-fu I keep hearing about.

  8. Do any of you ever smoke up and get real food insecure afterwards?

  9. I’m hungry right now. Foie Gras, anyone?

  10. When I was in college, I worked with a guy once who was so food insecure that he would eat the food other people had put in the refrigerator our employer had provided. He weighed about 250.

  11. An aside: Nick’s post here is sort of typical of a theme that appears all too often in H&R – the idea that social problems that people are concerned about such as obesity, drug abuse, global warming, suburban sprawl, smoking-related illnesses, corporate political influence, etc. are not really problems at all and anybody who thinks so must be mocked. I realize it’s mostly preaching to the converted but I get the sense that libertarians are scared to admit that letting people simply do whatever they want does at least sometimes lead to lousy results.

  12. I disagree, Dan T.

    I think the libertarian attitude is not that these aren’t really problems, but that they are problems that (depending on the problem at issue): 1) cannot be removed by big government, 2) are often exaggerated for political purposes, 3) are often made worse by big government 4) can never be fully eliminated because of human nature, 5) can be at least reduced by increased personal liberty, 6) are personal problems that do not affect society and therefore do not need society-wide solutions, 7) etc.

  13. Last year, 35 million people experienced food insecurity, meaning they didn’t have enough money or resources to get food.

    I suspect a sizable fraction of these people don’t have the money to get food because they blew it on something else.

  14. Please don’t food insecure the trolls.

  15. Uh, no, once again, Dan. Libertarians fully acknowledge that letting people do what they want will sometimes lead to lousy results. The difference between libertarian and statists of various stripes is that libertarains don’t deceive themselves into thinking that there exists any political paradigm which will not sometimes produce lousy results, thus meaning that using coercive force in a morally legitimate manner requires something more than a majority or a minority exclaiming, “But look at the lousy results! We can improve things, if everyone else will simply submit to our will!”

  16. I propose a grand food redistribution scheme where the fattest Americans would cede a portion of their larder to a newly created government agency.

    Those individual takings would be pooled and then redistributed to the skinniest Americans in a monthly mailing or perhaps an automatic deposit into their refrigerators.

    The goal is to make all Americans slightly chubby, and this program would remain in effect until this goal is achieved.

    The skinniest of the skinny, who do not gain the required weight, will be force fed corn boiled in fat until their livers become fatty and engorged. Those livers will be “harvested” and be served in fine restaurants located outside of Chicago and New York.

    I would recommend a nice Sauterne as an accompaniment.

  17. Honestly, why are so many people dead set on compelling other people to behave a certain way? Is persuading people to do something that makes sense just too daunting a task? Sure, most of us here, libertarian though we may be, understand that some things require compulsion (locking up murderers, for instance), but those things should be rare exceptions for egregious behavior against the rights of others, not for making sure that everyone only absorbs 2,000 calories a day.

  18. Honestly, why are so many people dead set on compelling other people to behave a certain way?

    They know better.

  19. “really, I couldn’t think of a clever alternative related to food”

    Even I, Mr. Obviously-Unoriginal, can think of at-least one:

    The next course in…

    Or, if you wish to relate it more specifically:
    Amuse
    Second Amuse
    Appetizer
    Soup
    Antipasto
    Main

    Cheese
    Fruit
    Coffee
    Dessert

    or any number of others.

    Seems like Nick is so food insecure he does not know the names of all the different parts of the meals he is served in those fancy D.C. parties he is debauching at in his quest for tales to tell us.

  20. “I spent three years in a North Vietnamese Prisoner of War Camp, surviving off a thin stew of vegetables, prawns, and four different kinds of rice. I almost went mad trying to find it in the States, but they just couldn’t get the spices right”.

  21. Thomas Paine’s Goiter,

    Bertrand Russell addressed this small problem: “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”

  22. Pro Libertate, I think that Russell didn’t quite get it right, in that trouble with the world is that everybody’s stupid about a great many things, and too often even the less stupid fail to grasp this fully, while the more stupid don’t grasp it at all.

  23. I think Russell’s point may have been that cocksureness is a sign of stupidity. You can be educated and dumb in some areas, that’s for sure. I’m occasionally an example of that. As are other people I know that are “smart” by any number of measures.

    Appreciating the possibility of error in your beliefs is the best path to true wisdom. Knowing that you can’t possibly be wrong is not. It doesn’t mean that you are wrong or should change your beliefs casually; it just means that absolute certainty is a often a dangerous position to hold.

  24. social problems that people are concerned about such as obesity, drug abuse, global warming, suburban sprawl, smoking-related illnesses, corporate political influence, etc. are not really problems at all and anybody who thinks so must be mocked….. Dan T. finally got it right

  25. Is persuading people to do something that makes sense just too daunting a task?

    Yes. Next subject.

  26. Very well, then I endorse oppression and totalitarianism. Much easier than this fuzzy libertarian nonsense, anyway.

  27. Welcome Pro L. We in Totalitarian Oppressor Guilds Associated (TOGA) expect you at the next meeting. We’re assigning you Florida, seeing as you live there already.

  28. Excellent. I just subjugated Clearwater. Next, I will anoint myself with oil and demand the respect due a god.

    My people love me.

  29. Honestly, why are so many people dead set on compelling other people to behave a certain way? Is persuading people to do something that makes sense just too daunting a task?

    It’s not the persuasion that’s the problem. It’s not enough to suggest something; one must then compel compliance. Obviously if you make a suggestion and are then rebuffed, you are a failure.

  30. “Food insecurity” = “well fed most of the time, have to skip the occasional meal”. This is not genuine hunger. Only organizations whose stated goal is “feeding the poor” would describe this as hunger. If they acknowledged the truth (that very few people in America are genuinely hungry) they would have to find new jobs.

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