A Tale of Two Nations…

A pair of newspaper stories, taken together, show a nation drifting apart

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The Washington Post has a pair of stories, each fascinating on its own, on its front page Sunday. But it’s their juxtaposition that’s startling.

The first is Too Much of Too Little: A diet fueled by food stamps is making South Texans obese but leaving them hungry, by Eli Saslow:

Hidalgo County has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation . . . which has led almost 40 percent of residents to enroll in the food-stamp program . . . which means a widespread reliance on cheap, processed foods . . . which results in rates of diabetes and obesity that double the national average . . . which fuels the country’s highest per-capita spending on health care…It is a crisis at the heart of the Washington debate over food stamps, which now help support nearly 1 in 7 Americans. Has the massive growth of a government feeding program solved a problem, or created one?

Just across the page is Washington: A World Apart, by Carol Morello and Ted Mellnik, which details the phenomenal income growth of those living in and around Washington, D.C.  The story begins with a husband and wife who

…work for defense contractors. Their combined income affords them a spacious five-bedroom house with 3.5 baths [in]…a bedroom community midway between Washington and Baltimore where the median household income tops $181,000, more than triple the national average. Washington is an example of how the country is compartmentalizing itself into clusters of people with different backgrounds and world views.

Each story is an alarm bell in its own way. Taken together, they’re a four-alarm fire. The poor are getting sick, thanks to the nation’s taxpayers. Government contractors are getting richer, thanks to the same pot of money. Apparently, it’s the folks in the middle who lose out. According to the second story, the number of American families living in middle-income neighborhoods has shrunk from 65% in 1970 to 42% in 2010. No wonder they feel screwed.


A Tale of One Government which provides sole-source no-bid cost-plus corporate welfare to its favored Pentagon pets while it has an ongoing program to export jobs  overseas, another form of corporate welfare, aided by taxpayer money funneled through USAID and US embassies overseas. 

The results -- four of the top five arms companies in the world are U.S. and wide, understandable discontent in the powerless populace who suffer with low employment and high health-care costs.

So the government is unified against the people, and the people are divided by their economic fortunes. It's divide-and-conquer, the same strategy that has worked so well in the Middle East and elsewhere. It ain't right, and there will be a price to pay.


"The poor are getting sick, thanks to the nation’s taxpayers."

Getting sick thanks to the nation's taxpayers?  Really?  And what would they do otherwise?  Starve? 

Or are they able to eat thanks to the nation's taxpayers -- just not well enough to afford to eat nutritious foods (rather than cheap processed foods).

The answer to the question in the article 'Has the massive growth of a government feeding program solved a problem, or created one?' is NO.  Feeding people doesn't create poverty and hunger -- joblessness and low wages do.  This is worse than merely confusing cause and effect.  It's proposing a vacuous and cruel solution to a real problem.

I'm getting tired of these 'underpants gnome' solutions we keep hearing in the face of real problems.

Rather than:

1.  Steal underpants

2. ???

3. Profit

We get:

1.  Take away the modest food support provided to the poor.

2.  ???

3.  Healthy poor people.


 "No wonder (the middle class) feel screwed."

Yep and, believe it or not, that's where the left base and the right base agree. Even if they don't agree on the remedy or even realize they agree. 

The stock market is at record highs, Wall Street couldn't be happier. The insurance industry couldn't be happier. The military industrial complex couldn't be happier. The banks couldn't be happier.

Stagnant wages for the majority, for years now, may come home to roost.