American Hunger Games

the-hunger-games-poster-UNOFFICIAL-the-hunger-games-23971291-353-500In the futuristic country of Panem of North America, young Katniss hones her archery skills to supplement her family’s meager meals in

a world where roses are unimaginable, and bread is a commodity so valuable that its arrival is a symbol from the heavens and it can create emotional ties that last a lifetime.

Amidst the impoverished masses dwell a wealthy few who dance beneath crystal chandeliers, turn platinum doorknobs, and embody their excess in elaborate hair, make-up and fashion — one dress is even designed to flame as it twirls.

The elite have invented “The Hunger Games,” a reality show to distract the masses, enthralling them with impoverished contenders picked by lottery to compete to the death — of all but one.

But perhaps these games are not so fictional.

In the last 40 years nearly all of our GDP gains have gone to the top 1%. And some of that 1% want to end food stamps — 80% of which goes to families with children, the disabled, and the poor elderly. Others are working poor.

Meanwhile, rising inequality squeezes the middle-class, with more and more dropping into the lower classes and, sometimes, poverty.

As the rich give big campaign contributions, the middle-class bails out Wall Street. The rich get tax shelters and tax preferences to offshore work. And they gain “right to work” (for less) laws. Minimum wage stays stagnant. Too many Walmart workers must apply for food stamps. Yes, the rest of us are supplementing the wealthy Walton family.

And in fact, House Republicans voted to both subsidize Big Agriculture and eliminate food stamps.

Government has no right to take people’s money and give it to the poor. But it’s a-okay to give it to the rich, as Paul Krugman points out. He continues:

Representative Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, for example, cited the New Testament: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” Sure enough, it turns out that Mr. Fincher has personally received millions in farm subsidies.

So the wealthy build helipads on top of penthouses and abandon kids unable to focus in school due to hunger pangs. Uneducated, they are more likely to drop out, get pregnant or go to jail.

Now, create a distraction by blaming the poor. It’s that hungry child’s fault that she can’t eat because she’s just too lazy to work, or wasn’t clever enough to be born into Sam Walton’s family?

Or, try to end public education to make the common folk that much easier to manipulate.

America is moving from democracy to plutocracy: the rule of the rich. If you would like your members of Congress to listen to you instead of Money Bags, get in touch with one of the following: Common Cause, Move To Amend, Rootstrikers or do your own Google search.

And if you’d like to help end hunger and poverty, contact RESULTS.

Because right now the odds are never in your favor.

Thanks to Alyssa Rosenberg @ ThinkProgress for a couple of these quotes.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on July 26, 2013, in feminism, politics/class inequality and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Needed to be said, Georgia. How did it go in DC?

    • Yes, I just got back from DC lobbying (volunteer, and no campaign contributions) on poverty issues – including hunger. All of my members of Congress were supportive of SNAP (supplemental nutritional assistance program) — formerly called good stamps. But they said it could be hard to get it past the other side of the aisle, though. It seems to me that they are only pro-life until birth.

      Some worry that food stamps make people lazy. But:

      – 60% of people on food stamps have one member of the family who is working full-time.
      – More than half of recipients are children
      – most of the rest are disabled or elderly poor

      Others worry that we can’t afford them. But they save us money in the long run because:

      – kids with poor nutrition end up in the emergency room, which is extremely expensive
      – kids who have been on food stamps are more likely to have higher education and higher income levels and they’re less likely to end up on welfare
      – and then there are the costs of police, courts and jails that are saved by kids who get an education and have more hope for the future

      And the fraud rate is only 1%

      btw, for anyone who wants to help end hunger and poverty, contact RESULTS.org

      • I agree. I do not mind paying for the very little bit of this program that is abused, if the bulk of it goes to feeding our children and needy. It is not laziness that causes poverty. I hope eventually the other side of the aisle sees this. That idiot that was blathering about those who don’t work don’t get to eat does not realize that (a) a lot of the people on food stamps are working poor or (b) too old or young to work, or (c) disabled. They need a serious reality check.

  2. Hi Georgia,
    Wonderful post…Thanks for sharing!

  3. Maria Infante

    I am not good with politics at all but I have been trying to get more into it as I am growing older. Politics run this world and I have to become conscious of my world and active in it. I have heard a lot about how food stamps as well as any help to the poor is always frowned upon by powerful Republicans. There is always so much negativity towards those who cannot reach the levels of success as the top 1% yet the negativity is not confined to that group. Plenty of lower and middle class citizens burst out with rage about helping the poor. Why and how is this okay or understandable? The thing is, it makes no logical sense. At least not to me. I believe a lot has to do with racism and fear of losing control over the poor minorities. It’s redundant. Many lower class whites talk down about helping minorities and “illegal” groups because they are hooked by their biggest influential political faces like Trump. Many go with that mob mentality without actually understanding who or what they are voting for. Cutting it short. Fear is powerful and with it you can control the majority of the population with minimal effort. Like me, people need to become aware and involved. Know yourself and your morals and select those who will help your interests and not bring you down under.

    • You make some good points. Plus, some people are just selfish. They want all the money for themselves, Even though they have way more than they need. And some people want all the jobs for themselves — don’t want jobs going to people of color and women — selfishness strikes again.

      I’m glad you’re getting more politically motivated.

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