Turning Down Food Aid for Poor Children is Shockingly Callous

Photograph Source: Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America – CC BY-SA 2.0

This plot line could have come from one of Charles Dickens’ novels about upper-class depravity: “Miserly governors refuse to provide gruel for poverty-stricken ragamuffins.”

Unfortunately, this is not a novel, but modern-day reality taking place in 15 states, where right-wing officeholders have scorned a federal program to provide food this summer for millions of children mired in poverty.

“No!” bark these political ideologues. Seeking to punish poverty, they piously demonize public aid — even for hungry children! This program hardly lavishes luxury dining on anyone, offering only $40 per child in groceries. Not for one meal or even a week, but $40 a month — about $1.30 a day. Feast on that!

Yet the politicians in such deeply impoverished states as Mississippi and Louisiana have arrogantly shunned this minimal assistance their people so desperately need. So have the mingy governors of Florida and Texas, large states where millions of children need this food.

Note that these elitist governors are personally wealthy, yet they have no ethical qualms about taxpayers picking up the tab for their pricey meals.

Then there’s the pathetic duplicity of Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. She rejected the grocery benefit for her state’s children, asserting that it “does nothing to promote nutrition” and could contribute to childhood obesity.

Well gosh, governor, providing food has actually proven to be nutritionally beneficial for children. On the other hand, she’s right that denying food to children definitely can cause them to lose weight! Thanks, Kim.

All told, 8 million hungry kids will go out without food because of these governors.

Turning down food assistance for poor children is shockingly callous, just plain mean, and politically stupid — even for right-wing puritanical ideologues. The good news is that 35 states, five U.S. territories, and four Native American tribes have welcomed the summer program. Learn more at FeedingAmerica.org.

James Hightower is an American syndicated columnist, progressive political activist, and author.