Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Reverse New Deal: Taking food away from children

(During the New Deal, WPA workers served over 1.2 billion school lunches. The WPA also had a summer lunch program for undernourished children. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.)

All across America, we are seeing an increasingly ruthless attitude towards children and their nutritional needs. In Utah, schoolchildren had their lunches thrown away when their parents fell behind on payments. In Texas, children were given less food than other children for the same reason. In South Carolina, a Republican Lieutenant Governor said we shouldn't feed children from low-income families because they might breed. A congressional Republican said low-income kids should sweep floors for their food. The Tea Party-orchestrated government shutdown caused 50,000 moms and their kids to lose food assistance in North Carolina. And, of course, Republicans and Tea Partiers in Congress are always looking for ways to cut off food assistance for children who benefit from the SNAP program (food stamps).

It doesn't have to be this way, but we are allowing it to be this way. Every time we vote in a right-wing politician who is funded by right-wing millionaires and billionaires we add a little more malignancy to our culture. And children are, increasingly, on the receiving end of that malignancy.

Welcome to the Reverse New Deal: Taking food away from children.

(The caption for this photo reads, "WPA Hot School Lunch Project--School lunches are prepared and distributed by trucks for undernourished children to schools in the Dist. Of Columbia. Photo shows two women in the Central Kitchen sorting and packing sandwiches for distribution to the various schools." The WPA school lunch program was a win-win situation. Unemployed Americans were given jobs and hungry kids were given food. Such a win-win situation is impossible today. Instead, right-wing politicians, and the people who fund them, are too busy thinking of ways to reduce assistance for those in need, and increase the wealth of the already-wealthy. Photo courtesy of the National Archives and the New Deal Network.)

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