The whole routine is now in doubt, thanks to budget cuts known as "sequestration" that are scheduled to kick in on Friday. The policy will deliver a 5.1 percent cut to a broad range of federal programs, including those under the Administration on Aging, which since 1972 has provided federal funds for senior nutrition programs. [...]Naturally, Republicans are as concerned about millions of starving seniors as you'd expect them to be, but that's only because they're sure the White House—and every other expert in the country with an abacus—must be exaggerating just how bad these sorts of cuts will be. Like Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, who said, "We see all these claims about what a tragedy it's going to be."
The Obama administration says 4 million meals will be lost. The Meals On Wheels Association of America, an umbrella group for some 5,000 local organizations nationwide distributing a million meals a day, estimates the cuts will have an even bigger effect: 19 million fewer meals.
Yes, all these "claims" are probably just a bunch of liberal propaganda. How bad could it really be if a few million, or 19 million, seniors lose their nutritional assistance?
"Given that most Meals On Wheels recipients only get one meal a day, five days a week, that loss of nutrition and personal interaction would be catastrophic," Ellie Hollander, president of the Meals On Wheels Association of America, said in a statement. "We know that seniors who receive nutritious meals are healthier and more independent than those who don’t."Oh well. Just because these cuts will have catastrophic consequences for a program that currently saves the government money—and, oh yeah, keeps our grandparents fed—is no reason for Republicans to, you know, do something about it.
Hollander noted a recent Brown University study that found investments in food can keep seniors healthier and out of nursing homes, and thereby save the government money.
Even before the cuts have begun, Hollander said they're already having an effect. "In anticipation of the looming sequestration, wait lists are growing, seniors are being turned away, and some programs face the risk of shutting down entirely," she said.