First Lady shines bright for fruits and veggies - The Packer

First Lady shines bright for fruits and veggies

02/28/2013 02:21:00 PM
Tom Karst

The annual meetings of the School Nutrition Association, the Food Research and Action Center and the National WIC Association will keep nutrition issues will take front and center in Washington D.C. through mid-March, just as sequestration may be starting to exert its effect.

Sequestration has a potential to wreak havoc on the lives of “everyday” Americans, but God forbid if the automatic budget cuts cause delays in air travel.

I kid, of course. But I think most middle to upper class Americans, especially Republicans (which I count myself), are somewhat curious if not anxious to see the cuts happen. Though most of can’t quote chapter and verse about the red ink that the Obama Administration has accumulated (has it been $2 trillion or $4 trillion added to the national debt?) we have in our minds that “something must be done.”

In our minds eye, we can see the fast changing digital numbers of America’s national debt clock. Anything to make that stop, please.

Other than slowing the national debt clock, can any good come from sequester? Not for the hundreds of thousands of folks that will be denied WIC food benefits. WIC is the only nutrition program that is not protected from sequester cuts.

Meanwhile, the Food Research and Action Center has released a new report  that claims one in six Americans (18.2%) reported there had been times in the past 12 months they didn’t have enough money to buy food that their families needed. That rate was unchanged from rates in 2011, the group said.

The report found one in four household in Mississippi reported food hardship, and 42 states had rates of 15% or more.

“Despite weaknesses in wages and employment, some in Congress continue to pursue cuts that would further fray our nation’s nutrition safety net,” FRAC President Jim Weill said in the release. “Last year, Congress proposed billions in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). Today, it is poised to further harm low-income programs, including WIC and other nutrition programs, with its failure to resolve self-imposed fiscal crises. And Congress has made no attempt to forestall the scheduled November 2013 cut in SNAP benefits.”

Yes, but what about the airport delays? Unfortunately, perhaps, the pain inflicted on suburban households from sequester cuts is the only pain that matters.


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