Monday, April 29, 2013

The Politics of the Sequester and Hunger in America

(Edited from my remarks in comments at Ta-Nehisi Coates blog.)

This is not accident or weakness, but rather policy.
I will repeat myself and say that there are four main factions in Congress at this point. From right to left these are: Tea Party Republican, Wall Street Republican, Conservative Democratic, and Progressive Democratic. For some time now, the Democrats have been dominated by their conservative wing, which has formed a coalition with the Wall Street Republicans. This "centrist" coalition, centrist only in that it is the center of a political spectrum skewed heavily to the right, has little interest in social justice. The combination of deficit hysteria and the sequester provides a way for the centrist coalition to chip away at social programs and all the while claim that it is necessary while allowing both parties to escape blame. "It is no-one's fault," they say, "it is necessary to save the country from debt." Faugh! Such "logic" was heard in the English Parliament, as the Irish starved.

And it is coming to that. Outright starvation, at least, is so far rare, but hunger is common. In 2011, the USDA found that some 50 million Americans were malnourished due to poverty ("food insecure") at some point in the year and some 33 million went hungry ("low food security") at some time during the year. The Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC), which provides food assistance to low-income pregnant women and children under five, is subject to the sequester. Outside of the sequester, in 2010, food stamps was converted to SNAP, and cut. The cuts are continuing.

Our elected representatives, seemingly, have gone mad.

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