By the People’s Tribune
Teachers in many parts of the country say their students come to school hungry.
A 75-year-old U.S. Army veteran said: “Many times, I’ve felt like I was starving. There’s neighbors that need food, too. There’s people [on] dialysis that need food. There’s hunger everywhere.”
“This is not your grandmother’s hunger,” said a New York sociologist. “Today more working people and their families are hungry because wages have declined.”
Today, one in six American households —and one in four minority households—is going hungry.
An estimated 49 million people rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, to survive. Now, the Trump administration wants to throw 3 million people off SNAP over a five-year period due to a new work rule. For starters, 700,000 “adults without dependents” will lose their meager $165 average monthly benefits unless they work. The implication is that the economy is “booming,” and “lazy freeloaders” are taking advantage of the program. This is a lie.
First, most SNAP recipients who can work do so. Second, more people are working two or three jobs and still don’t have money to buy enough food. Third, there is plenty of food and everyone has a right to it, unconditionally. In the past, humans had to struggle every day to find food. But today, there is no scarcity. In a world with 7 billion people, we already grow enough food to feed 10 billion.
So, are the poor the cause of hunger? Or is it because the great abundance of food is owned by mega-corporations and sold for profit? In 2018, food conglomerates like Cargill; Tyson; and Archer Daniels Midland, made $3.1 billion; $3.027 billion; and $1.81 billion, respectively, in profits. Plus, corporate giants actually benefit the most from SNAP. Walmart’s starvation wages forces employees on to food stamps. Then Walmart receive billions in sales through food stamps.
We as a society can no longer allow our livelihood to be tied to the profit-making of corporations. As automation replaces millions of us, the idea that we must “work” for our food makes no sense because jobs are disappearing. We need a different kind of society—one where “we the people” own the abundance and share it equally. We can have it.
The fight of thousands to stop the food cuts, the fight to expand the program, is the fight for that new society. Don’t let America’s rulers get away with these cuts!
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