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Bar graph showing how many food secure, low food security, and very low food security people reported several indicators of food insecurity, including being worried food would run out, food bought not lasting, not being able to afford a balanced meal, cutting the size of a meal or skipping it, doing that in three or more months. Obviously, food secure people almost don't show up on the graph, while people in very low food security report high levels of most measures.
Food insecurity held steady from 2011 to 2012, which is to say, it's still unacceptably high, having risen in 2008 as the recession slammed the nation's workers. According to a USDA report, there are 49 million people in the 14.5 percent of households that experienced food insecurity at some point in 2012, and the most vulnerable are not fully protected:
  • About 7 million of the 17.6 million food insecure households in 2012 had very low food security, with household members skipping meals or taking other steps to reduce what they ate because they lacked resources.
  • Some 21.6 percent of children lived in food insecure households, with about half of them experiencing food insecurity themselves.
  • The share of households with seniors who are food insecure appears to be trending upward, rising from 7.5 percent in 2009 to 8.8 percent in 2012.
This is the backdrop against which House Republicans want to make deep cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a program that saves many families from food insecurity, or at least keeps them from experiencing very low food security.

Tell Congress: Oppose all cuts to food stamps.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:40 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, Hunger in America, Invisible People, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    howabout, grover, hnichols

    "Truth catches up with you in here. It's the truth that's gonna make you hurt." - Piper Chapman

    by blueoregon on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:04:52 PM PDT

  •  Hungry in Ohio (10+ / 0-)

    I am disabled and depend on SNAP to feed myself. Without SNAP, I live 23% below the poverty level. With SNAP, I live 11% below the poverty level. I live alone and pay rent, utilities, household expenses, etc. on my own.

    In the 3 years during which John Kasich has been governor, SNAP benefits across the board have gone down 34%.  Food costs rose an average of 4.2% each year.


    It puts a strain on me, certainly, and it puts a strain on the elderly and disabled, but my heart aches to the core when I think of all those kids out there whose parents have to walk a very thin line just to keep them with the basics through to the end of the month.

    I can do pasta, lentils & rice, any number of low-cost high yield foods. I'm a boomer and I'm pretty sure we singlehandedly turned Ramen into a cuisine unto itself. But, damn it, a teenager should be able to scarf down a bowl of Cheerios or a couple of apples when s/he gets home from school if they want to, and their parents shouldn't have to worry they won't have enough to get to the end of the month.

    Hungry kids don't learn as much as they should be able to learn. Hungry kids aren't as healthy as they should be.  Hungry kids are anxious kids, often depressed kids, often kids at risk for any number of ugly possibilities.

    Hungry kids. ACROSS.THE.BOARD in the United States of America.

    In November there will be another $10 per person cut to monthly SNAP benefits in Ohio. What the hell are these people thinking?


    Creativity is intelligence having fun.

    by Ninepatch on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:09:52 PM PDT

    •  They're not thinking. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ninepatch, hnichols, allergywoman

      And they simply don't care.

      Sometimes it really is that simple. Some humans are capable of disregarding suffering that they see right in front of them.

      Whatever it is that connects us to each other -- I call it a soul -- they simply lack it.

      What boggles my mind is that so many others think these people are sufficiently qualified individuals to elevate them to represent the citizenry in government, as though being soulless is irrelevant or even a virtue.  

      © grover

      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:54:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have come to the conclusion (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ninepatch, allergywoman

        that Republicans think that suffering is good for people. Either that or they're just sadists. There is no logical reason to cut SNAP or any other assistance programs in the face of a devastating recession and high unemployment but cut they must.

        I have seen right wing commenters claim that they don't care how much other people suffer, it's just not fair to take money away from their family. Of course if they had an unexpected disaster like losing their job or having their house destroyed by a hurricane they would be the first in line to get that horrible government aid.

        Republicans: Greed pretty much sums them up.

    •  what are they thinking? (0+ / 0-)

      They're thinking you should go get another job.  yes even a third job.  I mean there are 24 hours in the day.

  •  Clearly the solution is to bomb Syria (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, allergywoman

    So more can be cut!

  •  My wife and I make a good living, but we have so (9+ / 0-)

    much old medical debt, combined with my daughter's student loans.....I usually only bring a few dollars to work with me every day (in nyc).  I load up on breakfast (the cheap meal) and feel the pangs all thru the afternoon, as I almost always skip lunch.
    Dinner is homemade pasta (a dollar a box on sale) with leftover marinara from our treat (Italian takeout on the weekend), and maybe a chicken thigh.

    I get my one afternoon coffee at mcdonald's (1 dollar +.09 for a large).

    So we are far from foodstamps, but due to the fucked up nature of our economic systems in this country, I am food insecure in my own way.  (I am not in any way comparing my "plight" to that of a poor person on SNAP.  I only mean to tell my own story here, that elements of our economy force even working people who make a good living into bullshit).

    Ayn sucks. Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer.

    by Floyd Blue on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:13:59 PM PDT

    •  I think a lot of people in this country are living (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hnichols, Ninepatch, allergywoman

      like this. We are trying really hard not to reach the point where we have to ask for help. A lot of times having to choose between having a meal, paying rent, paying utilities and so on.

      They don't get it that the less money most people have the less money they are putting back into the economy. The 1% money hoarders are not helping the economy at all even if they think they are. It's us majority that do help overall.

      It's really sad so many are suffering needlessly right here in our own country.

      •  To admit that the multiplier (a FACT) is real, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blukat, hnichols, Ninepatch

        would be to admit that the middle class, and the poor, have economic power; and that is anathema to these pieces of shite.

        Ayn sucks. Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer.

        by Floyd Blue on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:52:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  We're floatin' in the same lake, bailing water.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ....I have a really good job. With good pay and benefits. I should be stashing away cash like mad for my imminent retirement.

      I'm broke.

      I don't resent the reasons why: My 31 year-old daughter and her family. She even has a decent job with ok benefits.... Son-in-law is skilled but gave up looking for work and is a stay-at-home dad.

      My home.

      The grandchildren have never missed a meal or even been 'food insecure'. I can't say that about the rest of us. Everything we do is to raise upwards on our fingertips those two little girls to make sure they get the best of what they need: Love, a stable loving home and house, decent clothing, the best food and medical care.

      I have had to pass up seeing the Dr because I couldn't afford that and making sure my granddaughters had what THEY needed first. My daughter has health issues, but has to ration her own healthcare for the same reason.

      We eat a lot of SOS and rice. What I used to call "Bachelor Chow"

      Mind you, I'm not complaining. But I imagine the people who aren't as lucky as I am. Trying to make ends meet on food stamps is impossible. The millions of families who have parents to care for, plus kids, plus themselves and Cthulhu help 'em if anyone has any kind of assets, because they will ding you for that and your disbursement is lowered.

      There will be increased incidence of dietary-deficiencies and related diseases.

      Republicans have always wanted to punish the poor. But it's gone beyond mere meanness to malign intent.

      "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

      by CanisMaximus on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 07:33:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We're you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Husband has good job, I operate the family farm, also a good job, but I make about minimum wage and we eat well. Son, 31, with 4 children was laid off, we're helping with living expenses and he can no longer pay rent on our investment property which he lives in. We've not experienced food insecurity, but son and family have, with all we're doing for them, at the expense of our own retirement savings, he is loathe to ask for the food I produce and sell when stuff runs short at the end of the month. I'm not complaining either, but twenty years ago our work, skills, and savings would have put us in the comfortable group, now we're just meeting expenses. If we can't cut it, I don't know how any reasonable person could think the rest of what used to be the middle class can.

        You can put your shoes in the oven, but it won't make them biscuits.

        by quetzalmom on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 08:43:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  That 14.9% USDA rate is unconscionable. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, Ninepatch, allergywoman

    But much like USDA's "certified organic" labels, I don't trust USDA's food scarcity numbers.

    Food Research and Action Committee put the national number at 18.5%


    The ratio was even higher – at least one in five:
    • in the Southeast and Southwest regions
    • in 20 states
    • in 16 out of 100 large MSAs
    • in 107 Congressional Districts.
    As well as California's Central Valley

    For 2012.. (Beware. PDF file.)

    Yup.  They break it down by Congressional district. It's pretty enlightening.

    Regardless of the actual numbers, thanks for shining a light on the national travesty of American food scarcity, Laura.

    This should keep decent Americans awake at night, presuming they're not part of the almost one in five who are kept awake by relentless hunger pain.

    © grover

    So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

    by grover on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:45:55 PM PDT

    •  Food Research and Action CENTER (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hnichols, allergywoman

      Not "Committee."

      I can't even blame autocorrect for this one. It's all me.

      © grover

      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 12:47:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ah those bad gopers except... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, allergywoman

    The Senate proposal cut four billion from food stamps before the gopers went in full batshit crazy teabagger mode.   The Dems are not entirely innocent in creating food insecurity.

    Were  House Dems willing to also cut food stamps until the gop went so extreme they had to back away? That was my impression.  But if not, then good on them and House leadership, otherwise, well, bullshit...

    But other than avoiding  Dem culpability, good facts to use against both Dems and gopers when they attempt to cut food stamps.

    •  I can' begin to fathom (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MrWebster, Ninepatch, allergywoman

      why they're talking about how much to cut. When did that become the question and how stupid are they to be discussing it? It just seems to be an article of faith that SNAP must be cut. No one asks why. There's no discussion of the ramifications of cutting off food assistance for human beings that are already on the edge. There's no discussion of children going to bed hungry. We just have to cut it because that's what the Very Serious People want.

      It's a sorry state of affairs.

      •  What they ask behind closed doors: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "how much can we cut and not have them massing outside our homes with pitchforks and torches?"

        I recently read a comment from folks in Stalin's time about slicing a sausage: "They would steal a small slice here and a smal slice there - not enough for people to rise up about. Then another small slice, nothing to rise up about. Pretty soon all you had was a slice and a string, and that didn't seem worth fighting about"

        Republicans are going to take every bit as much as they can and there will be no legal response to it.

        •  You mean "how much can we cut and not have (0+ / 0-)

          them massing outside our homes ready to eat us".  Because those gated communities are probably going to look like all you can eat buffets before too much longer.  Rich people, the other white meat.

          You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 08:47:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I have plenty of food (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ninepatch, Quilldriver

    I have 3 backyard chickens and can't keep up with them.  I give away eggs to friends and neighbors.  

    I have an ongoing permaculture project with my house, seeing just how many edible plants I can cram onto 2/3 of an acre.  I rarely buy fruits or vegetables at the store, rather relying on what is in season in the garden.  I do pick up avocados when they are on sale, for my 3 avocado trees are still too young to be bearing.  

    Most of the time, I have an excess from the garden, and end up giving away peppers, eggplant, figs, and all sorts of greens.  

    The one thing I don't have growing in the yard is grains.  I buy things like rice and flour and cornmeal at the store.  If I couldn't access that, I'd have to rely more on potatoes and sweet potatoes and acorns that I can grow for starches.

    If you know how to forage, that can also boost your food security with things growing in your neighborhood.  The bottom line for food insecure people is that they can't expect any help to come from this Congress.  They are going to have to become more aware of their surroundings and see what they have been overlooking as keys to their food security.

    •  There are many things you have that allow you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Throw The Bums Out, JRElliott

      such bounty, among them, the time and energy and knowledge to garden (and cook), as well as the starter funds (or generous connections) to get chickens, seeds, garden inputs, etc.

      You also have a yard.

      And you aren't physically disabled to the point where gardening becomes impossible, even with raised beds.

      There are urban areas where even if you could "forage", anything you found would probably be growing on toxic soil.

      Point being: steps towards self-sufficiency are all well and good, but they are not relevant to many people, and they are absolutely no substitute for sane and decent public policy.  

      © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

      by cai on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 07:21:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They have to be relevant (0+ / 0-)

        We're not likely to get 'sane and decent public policy' anytime soon.  One of the signs that public policy is becoming sane and decent will be when we take global warming as a given and discuss what to do about it.  

        Self-sufficiency has been taken away from the younger generations that know nothing of how food is grown.  Unlike the generation of a hundred years ago, that knew what grew locally because they likely had a summer job helping out with the harvest, people of today only know what is packaged for sale at the supermarket.  Farmers' markets are no longer the place to pick up a winter's supply of turnips and potatoes, they cater to the affluent seeking free-range eggs and organic arugula.

        When I forage in public places, I get bizarre looks and comments from people.  They are dumb-founded that a tree in a parking lot would have fruit hanging from it that you could eat.  Consequently, what the birds don't eat falls to the ground and rots.  The only people that collect ornamental kale and mustard for the soup pot or dig for bamboo shoots in a thicket are recent immigrants who haven't been Americanized.

        Foraging and gardening do take some physical ability, but you don't have to be an athlete in peak physical condition:

  •  Sabotage your jobs and income. (5+ / 0-)

    Sabotage Medicaid expansion and close hospitals and limit access to medical care.

    Starve people.

    Prevent repair to infrastruture such as bridges and buildings.

    Destroy education, both teaching and physical buildings.

    Am I the only one who sees a sinister pattern?

    This is a medieval technique called "siege".

    A siege occurs when an attacker encounters a city or fortress that cannot be easily taken by a coup de main and refuses to surrender. Sieges involve surrounding the target and blocking the reinforcement or escape of troops or provision of supplies (a tactic known as "investment"[2]), typically coupled with attempts to reduce the fortifications by means of siege engines, artillery bombardment, mining (also known as sapping), or the use of deception or treachery to bypass defences. Failing a military outcome, sieges can often be decided by starvation, thirst or disease, which can afflict either the attacker or defender.
    They aren't battering town walls with cannons, but they are strangling off access to food and money.

    It's an open attack on our lives.

    •  And who is going to "report it"? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude

      The RWNM is the only real game in town. ABC, CBS, NBC, are all own by multi-national, multi-billion dollar corporations.

      You think telling the truth is in their interests?

      Anything considered "lefty" (MSNBC) is marginalized by the other networks either overtly (FOX) or subliminally (all the rest)

      Ever wonder why you only see the same old faces on "Meet the Press" or any of the other Sunday shows? They've either gotten rid of the good journalists (Dan Rather) or marginalized them (Keith Olbermann) or just let them pass away (Tim Russert) and replace them with demagogues (David Gregory).

      The "Fourth Estate" is no more.

      "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

      by CanisMaximus on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 07:50:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Where is Obama and Dems? This issue now!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cai, indie17

    when they want something, like starting another war, they are all over it

    twisting arms all around the world

    special talks to the American people

    why not take on food insecurity???

    this is even a lower level than poverty

    shows how far out of touch the political class is ( but in touch with the 1%)

  •  At some point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the vileness of the GOP becomes a political intelligence test for every non-Republican and non-Conservative in the American political process.

    We can all pick out examples, daily, of Movement Conservative overreach and feature not a bug ugliness of Movement Conservative policy outcomes to be angered and outraged by.

    How bad does it have to get for the GOP to get attacked for it?  

    The GOP loves, loves, loves liberal outrage porn. From the highest office-holding GOPer in DC to the Freepi creeps. I'm betting the vast majority of conservative lurkers are lurking because it one of the highlights of their day.

    When does the outrage at the GOP become co-shared by a cynical and calculating non-Conservatism?

    The GOP isn't here because it's all them.

    They are enabled. Not willfully, but by a lot of abdication.

    In my party, the voters get blamed for Democratic Party failings. Ones liberal frenemy online is likely to be cited as the reason that Democrats cannot have nice things after the Democrats get roasted at the polls as a direct result of their performance on the job. To me, that is a symptom to a sickness of learned helplessness and accepted impotence.  

    Setting aside how awful the Movement Conservatives are, which they are, at what point does the GOP become so awful, so wretched, so obviously morally bankrupt and wrong that the misery and obvious human suffering becomes so great that they get a fight?

    The so-called "Republican Revolution" was in 1993-94.
    The Bush years were some of the worst, but have now been over years ago.
    The Teahad Jihad was 2010.

    It's not just that they are doing awful things, which they are, but that they are getting away with awful things because they don't have to pay as great a price as they should.

    The Sequester was all about non-Conservatives trying to win an ideological argument without making an ideological argument. It had come to that. We will pass something we know is bad, on the theory of that it is so bad that future us won't let it go into the books. Just in time. And this made sense in DC to non-Conservatives. Real sense. Because something that could cause them to be labeled as 'liberal' or 'partisan', by the most bad faith GOP in our history and the lazy Village media that runs with their narratives out of fear anyway, was a worse outcome.

    That being so plays a real role in why we are seeing so much horror in this nation.

    They are sociopaths, getting fought as if they are frustratingly wrong but essentially trying to govern in good faith just in a way that Democrats don't agree with.

    For a year or so? That is gobsmacking.

    For a generation? That is political malpractice and enabled malignancy.

    And each new example of liberal outrage porn, where liberals and moderates recoil in anger and horror at each and every new example of toxic fruit settling in near various policy engineered poisoned gardens will never stop coming if the status quo keeps on keeping on.

    I'm betting that every Democrat who thinks that demographics will save them from the dirty business of partisan politics is probably off by somewhere between 5-15 years when it comes to GOP viability. What if I am being naive or overly-hopeful and it's more like 10-20?

    I have a hard time living with that as a Democrat at this point.

    Each new horror is a co-indictment of those whose job it is to respond to the opposition with everything they have got to stop them.

    I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

    by LeftHandedMan on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 06:44:19 PM PDT

  •  "very low food security" = hungry (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CanisMaximus, indie17

    It's worth noting, when discussing these statistics, that what is now known as "very low food security", the U.S. government used to call "hunger".

    That was the honest word for missing meals, eating too little, feeling week from lack of food: hunger.  That word, or a word sounding like that, goes back to Old English.

    But that word was too honest, so in 2006, the a Bush official changed that word.

    © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 07:11:53 PM PDT

  •  as long as the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CanisMaximus, indie17

    haters and bigots keep voting for the gop this is what we will get.

  •  I recently watched David Brooks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude

    (in his regular "debate" with Mark Shields on NPR).  (I consider him the least objectionable of the objectionable, conservative columnists. (redundant?))

    He stated (in effect) that Republicans were determined to slash the SNAP budget because the fund had mushroomed far beyond their determination of reasonability.  

    He said (paraphrased):
    I realized that that I should look into the reasons behind the increase. What I found is that it was due to the increase in need.  People simply need this benefit to feed their families.  There is no fraud or scam involved. This money is being spent on food.  Cutting the budget is not the right thing to do.

    Guns don't kill people but there's always one there at the time of death.

    by john07801 on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 08:05:46 PM PDT

  •  Ashamed to live (0+ / 0-)

    in a country like this.

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