Silent strain: growing hunger in community demands action

Aaron J. Brown

Aaron J. Brown is an Iron Range blogger, author, radio producer and columnist for the Hibbing Daily Tribune.

A kindergarten teacher ducks into the lounge shortly after first bell. She rustles through a collection of abandoned snacks: forgotten granola bars and leftover lunches. She got the call from a working mother who was running late. Her daughter would be here soon. “She never gets to eat on mornings like this,” says the teacher.

I wish I could say I made that story up, but it’s based on something that really happened, and happens all the time. Subtle. Quiet. Insidious. Unseen. Easy to ignore. Hard to fix. These are the ingredients of the growing problem of hunger in Northern Minnesota.

“Hunger is here, but people don’t see it,” said Susan Estee, executive director of the Second Harvest North Central Food Bank based in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. “Whatever people have as a stereotype of hunger, that’s not what it looks like here. It’s the senior citizen next door or the kid down the street. It impacts everyone.

‘It’s a strain on resources,” said Estee. “Kids aren’t doing well in school because they’re hungry. People who are ill who aren’t fed become more ill. We have so many chronic diseases affected by lack of access to nutritious foods. It’s really sad that there is so much hunger in a country like ours with so much abundance.”

According to a national study by the nonprofit Feeding America, more than one out of every ten citizens of Itasca and St. Louis counties live in something called “food insecurity,” which means not always knowing where or when your next meal will come. For children, the numbers are much worse. Nearly one in five children in this area live in food insecurity. Results for your area may be viewed at

What this means, specifically, said Estee, is that about 790 students are living in food insecurity just in Itasca County. That works out to several dozen or more kids at every school, perhaps one or two in every class. That’s not the only crisis.

“We concentrate a lot on families and children, but we shouldn’t forget about seniors,” said Estee. “The biggest increase in people coming for help is from seniors. People on fixed incomes are really struggling and so reticent to ask for help. When they do, it’s fairly serious. It’s a growing problem we’re only going to see get worse.”

While hunger has dogged children, seniors and the working poor for ages, Estee is among many experts concerned that the problem here in Northern Minnesota is getting worse, not better.

“It’s been disturbing for us this spring and summer to see the spike in new applications for food distribution,” said Estee. “The [2008-09] recession threw a lot of people in poverty. Then it leveled off in 2012 and 2013. But now this year, starting late spring, we’ve had an unbelievable increase in people coming for help.”

Estee said new distributions are up 10 percent, tied to high food prices and stagnant wages, especially among those near the poverty line. Improving employment numbers often mask this more persistent economic problem.

This week, the Second Harvest North Central Food Bank in Grand Rapids is holding a Day of Action in honor of September being Hunger Awareness Month. On Tuesday, Sept. 9 from 1-2:30 p.m. elected officials from every level of government and community leaders will hear the message about the hunger epidemic in Northern Minnesota. They’ll join volunteers and staff in filling backpacks with food for area families in honor of the start of the new school year.

It’s just one event. A drop in the bucket. But it’s no secret that food prices are skyrocketing and wages aren’t. It pays to keep focused on real problems. This is just such a challenge. Addressing hunger in Northern Minnesota is an act of compassion, a moral necessity, and an investment in our children’s future and our own old age. We’ll need more than a day of action. We’ll need 365. If you can eat, you can help.

Aaron J. Brown is an author and college instructor from northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. He writes the blog and hosts the Great Northern Radio Show on Northern Community Radio. This post first appeared in the Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014 edition of the Hibbing Daily Tribune.



  1. One way I help my food budget is to keep a permanent map in my head of all the places in town that sell certain items cheaply, and to always load up on those items when I’m nearby. For example, I always buy eggs at SA gas stations, because they’re 99 cents a dozen. I always buy bread late in the afternoon at the bread store, because it’s only a dollar a loaf. I always buy Saltines and yogurt at Walmart, because they’re cheaper than at other stores. I also hit the food shelf once a month, which is an enormous help. Last month, I found a $35 slab of sockeye salmon that nobody else seemed to want. That was a bonus.

    • I can’t let this SA plug go quietly or unnoticed. Holiday stores are so much better. My neighborhood, W7th in Saint Paul, has experienced the scourge of SA. We had a welcoming Holiday store which was taken over by the imperialist bastards. Now more SA stores line West Seventh and the closest Holiday is up the hill.

      The happy people can debate their whole foods places. Once I complete wiping the public’s poop all over myself at work I want a sense of community from a gas station. Holiday seems to always remain as a part of the community. The culture is different there. The selection is better.

      Thanks for listening…

  2. Food insecurity is tied to income, as you pointed out. While employement numbers are up (slightly), wages are not. Even with the rise to $8/hr as a minimum wage in Minnesota, this does not help those of us who work at what ever job we can find. Whether it is at a big box store like Wal-M*, a little box store like Dollar G*, or one of the McFood franchises, wages only move you out of the existing safety net. Rent and food subsidies are reduced, or lost, and little hope of returning to a stable life is lost because there is no way to get ahead. For those of us who are too old to fit in to the tech world (I have 20 yrs programming experience, but my skill set is not .NET), or do not have the means to get a decent job are stuck in that morass of borderline poverty.

  3. Well, there is the Earned Income Credit, which helps low-wage earners enormously. During the leaner years of my family’s existence, I think we would have fallen irretrievably behind if not for the several thousand dollars we got from the EIC each year.

  4. It seems to me to there is a hear no evil, see no evil attitude from too many people because this issue just doesn’t seem to come up let alone any outrage that our kids are going hungry. I do hear and read a lot of outrage and resentment from folks swearing they see people on food stamps filling their grocery carts with chips and other junk food. The expression, “Can’t see the forest for the trees” comes to mind.

  5. I’m just currently shopping for the two of us and I sometimes can’t believe how costly food can be. I don’t buy packaged food and I mostly cook and bake from scratch, and I know how to do this in the most economical way. And we have a garden. We eat well, but simply, and we’ve not overweight. I do wonder how people can do it these days if they do have growing kids to feed. I really do believe that if I ate at McDonalds and mostly chose the dollar menu items, I could spend less on my meals. But the regular prices at McDonalds certainly have gone up.

    The local food shelf and Ruby’s Pantry get scores and scores of customers. Where would we be without these services? One of the local schools was able to tap into some kind of financial situation where ALL the children get free breakfasts and lunches, regardless of income. (Although I do wonder what kind of food lessons the kids will get if most of that food comes pre-prepared.)

  6. Well written, factual, to the point and good comments. It’ll be interesting to see if we, the Range, votes for hope and change this fall…or same ole same ole.

    • Ranger47,
      I did not realize that there was someone other than the “same ole same ole” offering any political change. The only hope for change and improvement will come from the people, not the politicians. When we, the people of the Range, actually decide to make a difference in our collective lives here, we will. But it will not happen from Washington, St. Paul or Duluth. It needs to happen on our streets, around our tables, with our neighbors.

  7. “The only hope for change and improvement will come from the people, not the politicians. When we, the people of the Range, actually decide to make a difference in our collective lives here, we will.” – You state it well MJMcEvoy…but ignore at your peril the importance of our elected politician’s, they have the power to set policy, make law and take our hard earned money and spend it on frivolous ventures.

    Our involvement at the grassroots level allows us Rangers to be heard and directs the political behaviors of our representatives at both the local and national level so they, in turn, may be most effective in working to preserve our lives, liberties and pursuits of happiness.

    But you’re right on; we should / must determine our own platforms, agendas and priorities free of an overriding central leadership. As Sam Adams said – “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories.”

    In addition, if we ignore the agendas of those we elect, we inherently end up with excessively high taxes resulting in a bloated bureaucracy creating wasteful spending that plagues us all.
    “A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government.” –Thomas Jefferson

    So again, it’ll be interesting to see if we continue to elect those who wish to control us (as we Rangers have done for decades) verses electing those who wish to leave us to our own devices.

    • Like I said, I did not realize that there was anyone other than the “same ole same ole” in this current round of elections. There definetly no one who will “leave us to our own devices.” Regardless of who you see as the lesser of two evils, the lesser is still evil.
      You are correct that we need to pay attention to those who claim to represent us in government, but we also need to realize that who they say they represent and who they serve are not the same people. We do need to hold them accountable, but we also need to ignore them when they do not act to meet our needs. We need to take care of our neighbors, because those who are seeking office either will not, can not, or do not, care for us and our neighbors.
      I do not see any salvation presented by the advertised alternatives to the status quo. As The Who sang – “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” What we need in political representation is someone who cares about the people, not what is in it for them.

      • It’s “same ol’, same ol’. The apostrophe takes the place of the ‘d’ as in “same old, same old”; unless, of course, you’re referring to “same Ole”, a Scandinavian man. Thanks, D

  8. “In just one month, this August, 3,336 people (voters) visited the Grand Rapids Food Shelf. That is more than the combined total populations of the cities of Bovey, Calumet, Coleraine and Deer River. Imagine entire towns relying on the food shelf to feed their hungry families.
    Of the 3,336 visitors (voters), 1,319 were children and 275 were seniors.
    In fact, in the last three months there has been higher volume of visitors (voters) at the food shelf than ever before. It is believed one reason is the large increase in food prices that has made many more families experiencing food insecurity and hunger issues to depend on the food shelf to have enough to eat. Other common reasons include low-paying jobs, no benefits, physical and mental health problems, fixed incomes, family crisis and more”. – Grand Rapids Herald Review 9/9/2014

    Increasing food prices
    Low paying jobs
    No benefits
    Fixed incomes
    Family crisis

    Surely food shelf visitors (voters) must be thinking “kick out the bums” who created the social / political environment that caused these problems! No?

  9. Ranger47, I agree that those who created a situation that has lead to this sort of disparity in income and social services should be replaced. BUT the question I keep puting forward is — REPLACED BY WHO?
    The challengers are no better, and may be worse than those who they challenge. I have not seen anything from Wall Street, Hedge-Fund Managers, or Big-Box executives that even show compassion, much less concern beyond will we spend what little money we have on their products.
    So tell me, tell us, who should be replaced and by whom?

  10. Bigger question than who should be replaced and by whom is who cares about our children going hungry and has some plans how to remedy that. It doesn’t cut it to just keep saying future jobs, jobs, jobs which may or may not materialize, employing enough people with decent wages…someday. KIds aren’t getting enough to eat now.

  11. Kissa, That is the direction that this conversation needs to go. And in my round about way is what I was trying to do. As i see it, the issue – on the Range, in Appa lachia, or Detroit – does not have the concern of the politicians to the extent of unlimited economic growth. Poor, underfeed people do not have the political clout to accomplish anything, and pictures of starving children are only effective if those children are in Africa, or the Middle East. Many people choose to turn a blind eye to problems here, of course those problems do not exist here this is the land of plenty.
    What Ranger47 kept doing is trying to say that political change will make the change, but it will not. There will not be a change until we, the people who live in depressed areas and those of us who are underemployed and underfeed, stand up and do something. Corporate politicians, representing monitary gain will never be very concerned about the poor, starving or sick. These are the outcasts, the refuses, the “collateral damage” from an eceominc system that cares more for the bottom line than the common good.

  12. MJMcEvoy nails it, it is up to each of us as individuals. Each one of us can and should change for the better, do things differently. It WILL have an impact.

    However, who we cast our individual vote for will also make a difference. And if restocking the food shelves, helping the hungry, is a priority vote for ANYONE, but not a DFL’er. Considering the following:

    Bleeding Heart Tightwads
    Published: December 20, 2008
    This holiday season is a time to examine who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, but I’m unhappy with my findings. The problem is this: We liberals are personally stingy.
    Liberals show tremendous compassion in pushing for generous government spending to help the neediest people at home and abroad. Yet when it comes to individual contributions to charitable causes, liberals are cheapskates.

    Arthur Brooks, the author of a book on donors to charity, “Who Really Cares,” cites data that households headed by conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than households headed by liberals. A study by Google found an even greater disproportion: average annual contributions reported by conservatives were almost double those of liberals. Other research has reached similar conclusions. The “generosity index” from the Catalogue for Philanthropy typically finds that red states are the most likely to give to nonprofits, while blue states are least likely to do so.

    The upshot is that Democrats, who speak passionately about the hungry and homeless, personally fork over less money to charity than Republicans.

    “When I started doing research on charity,” Mr. Brooks wrote, “I expected to find that political liberals — who, I believed, genuinely cared more about others than conservatives did — would turn out to be the most privately charitable people. So when my early findings led me to the opposite conclusion, I assumed I had made some sort of technical error. I re-ran analyses. I got new data. Nothing worked. In the end, I had no option but to change my views.”

    “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. – Albert

  13. If any are interested, here is a good piece on corporate tax issues and how they control political decisions.
    A good question to ask the mining companies is if they are concerned with the region, beyond what they can extract, why do they keep getting the IRRRB to reduce the payments based on “poor economic performance?”

  14. How generous are independents?

  15. It doesn’t matter John, be honest with yourself and others, they don’t exist. You might be one of the miniscule numbers of true independents but I doubt it…you’d have no need to ask the question.

    Why people call themselves “independent” even when they aren’t – political scientists Yanna Krupnikov and Samara Klar Jan 10, 2014

    “This is just a portion of our findings regarding the extent to which people prefer “independence” – but equally important is what we don’t find. What we don’t find is any change in people’s actual political views. Even while reporting that they are independent, respondents repeatedly clung to the partisan issue positions they had held all along. Our work points to the idea that “independent” has become a socially desirable label – one that conveys a sense of rising above the political pettiness in American politics. And even as more and more people call themselves “independent,” it is difficult to argue that they are actually moving away from their underlying partisan identities”.

  16. Ranger, do you believe private charity should replace the public sector for these problems as you seem to suggest? If so, why haven’t private charities done the job so far? Private charity has never been sufficient to do that as is evidenced by the plight of senior citizens before social security and medicare among other government programs were created.

    The Century Foundation did a study probably in the good economic times of the 90’s showing that the TOTAL assets of 34,000 US charitable foundations, not the annual income from their endowments, added up to 10% of government expenditures for social welfare and related programs demonstrating that charity groups didn’t have the resources to sustain the poor at even the most minimal level of survival, let alone help them escape poverty. Mind you, this sobering study was done long before the great recession started in 2007. What would the same study show now when so many jobs if we can get them do not pay a living wage? When so many big box store employees have to rely on food stamps and other assistance? When the cost of housing, fuel, food, clothing, etc has increased while wages have gone stagnant or decreased? When the share of America’s wealth in the hands of the top 20% has increased to 70%?

    More up to date accurate studies on charitable giving show that the top 20% donate an average of 1.3% of their annual income to charity vs the bottom 20% giving 3.2%. One reason given for the bottom to be more charitable than the top is that the bottom are much more aware of the needs because they see it and live it every day. An infographic by everydayhero shows 69% of Americans donate to charities with 64% done by women but who gives and by what percentage isn’t relevant when the amount can’t even begin to do the job.

    I look at government involvement in raising people out of poverty and hunger and more as investments in our economy, education, health, crime reduction and general well-being. Everybody does better when everybody does better.

  17. Ranger47, if you view the world as being a giant battleground between liberals and conservatives, with anybody who says they belong somewhere else either lying about it or deluded, that’s fine. It’s a little too simplistic for me. I know plenty of people who hold both “conservative” and “liberal” values. I know even more who don’t give a crap either way. They’re all independents.

  18. kissa, you sum up the results of the selfish Democratic policies very well. These JV politicians are not leaders. Time for a change…

    The Democrats have controlled the Senate for the past 8 years and the House for 4 of the past eight years. For TWO WHOLE YEARS they controlled the Senate, the House, plus the presidency, the Full Monty! And look what we’ve got…more poor people than ever, not to mention a social divide, political divide, racial divide and international political divide that you and I haven’t seen in our lifetimes.
    Is The Range a better place today than it was 6 years ago? More prosperous? More generous? More gracious? More safe? And you want to continue down the same path, more of the same failed government programs? Yikes!

    As MJMcEvoy and others before him said – “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem”. You and I are the solution.

  19. Ask ’em how they vote John. If they have the courage to tell you, you’ll find out how “independent” they are. They ALL give a crap, they’re all angrier than ever at something/someone. Just a guess – but none voted Independent.

  20. Oh John…I never called you a lier or being deluded. Credible studies have shown there are very few true Independents (as voting results also confirm). I believe ’em, you don’t have to..

  21. Ranger, you are way more invested in making it about one party vs another party (which no one else here has done) and don’t seem to be much interested in how we feed our kids. Sigh.

    Well, let’s just get rid of all government programs to feed our hungry kids, food stamps, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the whole shebang. What then? For that matter, how would you fare without SS/Medicare, for instance?

    You say you are the solution. What is that solution?

  22. A lot of the independents I know don’t vote at all. But never mind. I don’t care. I only brought up independents as a joke, because I think any studies that claim one political type is more or less “generous” than another are idiotic. I should have known better than to take the bait.

    Over and out.

  23. Kissa…The solution regarding food stamps is not to eliminate it, that’d be foolish and cruel. I propose cutting it to $55.6 billion, the amount it was when Obama took office.

    You, I and our neighbors will spend $80 billion on food stamps this year. That provides a lot of food…and could provide a lot more if the money wasn’t spent on gambling , strip clubs and other non-food items.

    The majority of Americans have their doubts about food stamps — the benefits are a burden on taxpayers, they breed dependency, and lack of controls encourages fraud.

    Too bad the federal government acts as if there is something to hide in a program that helps more than 47 million people avoid hunger. It’s hard to see how telling the public which businesses are beneficiaries of food stamp money will harm the program. However, the government won’t release the information. Under a Freedom of Information Act request, a group in South Dakota urged an appeals court to force the U.S. Department of Agriculture (why they manage the food stamp program is beyond me) to reveal information on how much the government paid individual retailers when consumers redeemed food stamps. They won’t do it…and their arguments for keeping the information under wraps are weak, flawed & stupid.

    Again, until the following types of fraud and abuse cases of the program are eliminated and the spending is transparent and exposed to the public, I propose cutting food stamp spending to $55.6 billion:

    Arizona: A 15-month investigation found roughly $700-K in EBT fraud. 18 indictments.
    California: $69 million in EBT funds withdrawn outside the state’s borders in recent years, including almost $12 million withdrawn in Las Vegas.
    Colorado: EBT cards used at strip clubs, casinos. Denver Post editorializes that attempts to crack down on fraud might not be worth it.
    Connecticut: 27 state workers fired, 10 others retire after investigation finds massive insider fraud by government bureaucrats.
    Florida: Investigators find that sales of EBT cards at less than full value results in a $2-million swindle.
    Georgia: Man pleads guilty to EBT card scam valued at $4.6 million, believed to be the largest food stamp fraud ever in the state.
    Illinois: Sting on “LINK” cards believed to have generated $40,000 monthly revenue for one of the families accused of participating in the alleged fraud ring.
    Indiana: State worker accused of issuing EBT cards to fake recipients. Also, police arrest five in EBT scam believed to have netted $100 K.
    Iowa: Grocer, a former City Council member, convicted of witness tampering during food stamp investigation and trial. In a separate story, Iowa inmates found to have been illegally receiving food stamp benefits while incarcerated.
    Kansas: Authorities believe as many as 7,000 fraudulent users of EBT cards are costing the state $22-million.
    Louisiana: Eight arrested in food stamp fraud. In late 2011, the state said it had 474 active investigations into possible EBT fraud/abuse.
    Maine: “Tip of the iceberg” investigation nets five indictments.
    Maryland: Believed to be No. 2 in the nation in EBT card fraud, with one in four card applications “showing evidence of fraud.”
    Massachusetts: Stores accused of buying EBT cards at discounted prices, and hooking up EBT card users with crack cocaine dealers.
    Missouri: Welfare cards being spent in such distant places as Florida and Hawaii.
    New Hampshire: Report says 10 percent of all registered food stamp recipients live out of state.
    Ohio: Audit finds 33,000 replacement EBT cards ordered in one year. “More than 1,500 people in Hamilton County have ordered 10 replacement cards or more since 2006.”
    Texas: State faced $4 million in federal fines for errors in issuing food stamps.
    Washington: Store owner sentenced to 21 months in prison: $170,000 in her bank account on the day of the raid.
    Wisconsin: Nine county workers suspected in multi-year fraud that scammed $300 K or more.

  24. John…there was no “bait” offered, only facts and logical arguments. Sorry to stump you..
    Give my reasoning thought, but regardless, care and vote.

  25. Oh, for crying out loud Ranger. What happened right after Obama took office? Think man. OK, a hint, our economy took a nosedive which was not doing of any new president who would have taken office in 2008. Poverty rose steeply and a whole lot of people who had to get food stamps and go to food shelves for the first time in their lives. By 2010 40 million Americans were on food stamps. Two years later, that number grew by 16%, 45% of them children. How the heck do you think people can use food stamps to gamble with or spend at strip clubs? That’s ridiculous. Our economy has slowly gotten better but it’s not going gangbusters and many people have not yet recovered jobs or jobs that pay enough to get back to where they were before and may never do so. People still need the food stamps. Your solution is not to eliminate food stamps, oh no, that would be foolish but your “solution” is to cut food stamps by 25 billion. You don’t want everyone who qualifies for food stamps to go hungry, just some people and many of them are children. That’s the kind of “solution” that comes from not understanding the problem.

  26. Ranger47,
    Once again you have done a wonderful job of avoiding conversation. That is much of the problem with politics. You are “right,” at least in your eyes which makes anyone who has a different opinion “wrong.” This conversation is over for me, not that you “won,” but you have proven that this conversation is not possible with you.

  27. MJM…What the heck are you reading? I never once mentioned “right or wrong”. I simply state the facts, offer an opinion and propose a solution. We know the typical liberal response is – if losing the argument, either change the subject or take the ball and go home (quit)…but that doesn’t get us anywhere. If it did, the Range would be booming.

  28. I offered a rational solution kissa, $55.6 billion for food stamps. That’s a lot of money, a lot of food. You don’t have to like it but your whining isn’t going to solve anything. What’s your proposal?

  29. Mesabi Daily News, 9/11/14: In August, the Grand Rapids Food Shelf was used by 3,336 people, more than the combined populations of Bovey, Calumet, Coleraine and Deer River. Of the 3,336 visitors, 1,319 were children. 275 were seniors. Reasons for the high use: large increase in food prices, low-paying jobs, no benefits, fixed incomes, family crisis and more. Second Harvest Food Bank serves a 7 county region where food insecurity is 19.4 % which means that 1 out of 5 children don’t have a reliable access to enough affordable, nutritious food. Second Harvest distributed more than 4.5 million last year but it is not enough. The gap is growing wider for people who can’t provide their own food with their available resources.

    This is the stark reality no matter how tabloid media tries to downplay the hunger crisis, fudge the statistics, lead with blatant myths and heavily promote a false claim of food stamps creating a “culture of dependency”, iow, people who would rather get food stamps than get a job. Anyone who prefers to get their information from dubious sources doesn’t actually have a natural human concern for people struggling to get enough food or any serious interest in doing anything to reduce our national food hunger disgrace.

  30. Ok…what’s your proposal kissa? You’ve outlined the issue in your opinion, what’s the your opinion?

  31. Ranger, You are not even the slightest bit interested in this issue other than how much money it costs so it’s a waste of time.

  32. kissa…I’m interested. But for the moment assume I’m not. However it’s a fact there are at least 47 million people who are interested. Why be so selfish and withhold your proposed solution from them on such an important issue?

  33. Kissa…Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released its annual report on poverty. This report is noteworthy because this year marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s launch of the War on Poverty. As you continue to dream of a response as to how you’d solve the food stamp problem you outlined so well, consider the following.

    Since its beginning, U.S. taxpayers have spent $22 trillion on Johnson’s War on Poverty (in constant 2012 dollars). Adjusting for inflation, that’s three times more than was spent on all military wars since the American Revolution. And we won all those…at least the ones we wanted to.

    Over 100 million people, about one third of the U.S. population, received aid from at least one welfare program at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient in 2013. But today the Census will proclaim that around 14 percent of Americans are still poor. And the present poverty rate is almost exactly the same as it was in 1967 a few years after the War on Poverty started. Census data actually shows that poverty has gotten worse over the last 40 years. What a waste! We the taxpayers spend $22 trillion on welfare while poverty gets worse!

    However, also according to government surveys, the typical family that Census identifies as poor has air conditioning, cable or satellite TV, and a computer in their home. The vast majority own a car and roughly a third have two or more cars. The intake of protein, vitamins and minerals by poor children is virtually identical with upper middle class kids. According to surveys by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the overwhelming majority of poor people report they were not hungry even for a single day during the prior year.

    Johnson’s aim was to increase self-sufficiency, the ability of a family to support itself out of poverty without dependence on welfare aid…a noble goal. Johnson asserted that the War on Poverty would actually shrink the welfare rolls and transform the poor from “taxeaters” into “taxpayers.” However after giving away tons of money, $22 trillion!, it’s proven that wasn’t the answer. It hasn’t made a dent.

    So you can’t proclaim more money is the answer kissa. What do you proclaim?

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