Thursday, February 05, 2009

Clueless Liberals

I kid you not, an article on the liberal website Alternet starts thusly:

Try explaining to an African that there is hunger in America. I’ve tried, and it’s not easy.

It doesn't get much better, as author Joel Berg attempts to relate to a poor African just how hard it is for an American to live on 11,000 dollars a year. Later in the piece he takes the time to appreciate the difference between hunger in America and hunger in Africa, so it's a bit baffling to see no recognition of the other obvious differences in standards of living between the American and African poor.

And as to hunger in America, that 35 million number has always baffled me, as it represents over 10% of the population. With food stamps, soup kitchens, and all sorts of other social and charitable services, I just have trouble finding that number at all meaningful. Berg also notes that large numbers of American work for the minimum wage, but according to government statistics, less than 2 million workers (under 1% of the population) actually work for minimum wage, with some percentage of those minimum wage workers being teenagers, the elderly, and people working second jobs.

Even now, with unemployment reaching 7 and 8 percent, I'm still having trouble seeing where these massive numbers of hungry Americans are coming from. (Particularly when you consider that those unemployment figures contain any number of middle class and higher salaried workers who would be receiving unemployment benefits.)

I'm not trying to cast doubt on hard times or the fact that many Americans are struggling, only to point out that there's something wrong with that number of 35 million hungry Americans. And I'm still just shocked that anyone would have the audacity to compare the struggle to meet the highest standard of living in the world and the struggle of people in troubled parts of the world to literally avoid starvation. Only in the mind of a clueless liberal are those struggles on the same planet.


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