Hunger in the Land of the Free

hunger in the us

I read this LinkedIn post with conflicting feelings and felt compelled to respond, for what it was worth.  It’s always heartwarming to see people helping other people need.  On the other hand, no one in the US should go hungry. It is a crying shame and a national disgrace that so many do.  The US is a place where the poor are viewed and treated by many with contempt.  Why, aside from the usual sprinkling of racism?  Simply because they are poor.  They are “failures” because they have not succeeded in realizing the “American Dream,” the centerpiece of US cultural mythology that exists as a kind of socio-political Santa Claus.

Here is a slightly edited version of my response.

While I applaud these types of charitable activities, it saddens me that there is hunger in the US. What happens when these food kits run out? What about a system that allows so many people to go hungry?  Here are some relevant facts:

1) There are 45 million US Americans living in poverty, using the government’s rather conservative definition of what it means to be poor.

2) More than 50% of all US Americans earn less than 30k a year, which doesn’t buy you much in most place.

3) 3 US Americans own more wealth than 50% of the bottom half.

4) The median worth of African-Americans in Boston is $8.