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Rising food costs, recession and the farm bill
On Friday, Bill Moyers aired two segments about hunger in America and the Washington Post coverage of farm subsidies. I was particularly moved by the segment about US hunger, which featured interviews of people who receive food stamps or boxes from a food bank.
With the rising food prices, sub-prime lending and the looming recession, more and more people are struggling to put food on the table. They rely on local food pantries to provide for their families. This topic came up recently during a visit with some friends. My friends expressed their frustration over "irresponsible" people who take out bad loans and rely on government programs to pick them. It's so easy to blame others for being irresponsible without looking at the larger structures or policies that contribute to our current set of problems. Why not blame the deregulation of our banking system? Why not point fingers at the push to turn food into fuel? This editorial cartoon probably makes the point better than I ever could:
I wish my family could talk to people like Rosabelle Walker (pictured above), who was featured in the piece on hunger in America. She says:
"I was a very independent woman. You couldn't get me to come stand in line to get no food free from nobody. Because I was always used to working and taking care of myself.
The first job I had was 16, I was the section hand on the railroad during the second world war. I worked in the steel mills in Pennsylvania. When I came to New York, I did housework 'cause that's all women got in New York was domestic day work.
I worked in the laundry. Then I managed the Laundromat. I'd work right now, even though I'm over 80, I'd go take care of somebody that's 75 or 80. And stay with them in their home, and get paid for it. I don't like lazy. But then I got to the place where I was retired. No money."
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