The sequester quietly forced $5 billion in cuts to food stamps on November 1. The GOP wants another $40 billion cut over 10 years. The Dems knocked that down to only $4 billion in cuts.
The "Hunger Games" analogy used by "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" was too easy a target. Yet the segment illustrated how little we are paying attention to the loss of food stamps when they are desperately needed.
Jessica Williams helped us see this distopian view of the hungry by introducing us to Forbes columnist John Tamny.
"Food stamps are cruel," says Tamny. Not as cruel as starving or being forced to go hungry while making sure your kids are fed.
Conservatives think food stamps are "cruel" because they promote dependence. Except every statistic shows this isn't true, but this is about political theory, not the truth.
"If people were literally starving, you would see a massive outpouring of charity to make up that fact," Tamny notes. Except we haven't. Williams contrasts the $80 billion in government funding versus the $5 billion in charitable donations.
Conservatives would be in the streets protesting to charities to do more to contribute. Except they aren't.
"Media is going to do a good job of exposing people starving or in need," Tamny observes. Except they aren't.
Forbes is considered the media; we must have missed the huge number of stories Forbes has written on the topic. Tamny lives in Washington, DC, but hasn't seen people starving or in need. Those windows must be pretty tinted on his ride home.
The food stamps cuts, short-term and long-term, haven't been covered in great detail. People who are suffering aren't visible. Tamny wants us to wait to see shrunken bellies, like a Sally Struthers commercial for world hunger. We should strive to do better than wait for that extreme.
As disturbing as Tamny's views are, he represents a power base in Washington that has little regard for those who don't get enough to eat. As much as the GOP resembles Scrooge, the Dems aren't fighting very hard to help those in need. The status quo from before November 1 would be a significant improvement for those in need.
Yes, if Tamny's utopia did exist, people would get help from private charity. Then again, the minimum wage would be higher so people could afford food. The GOP would take the subsidies for the rich in the farm bill and put that back into food stamps.
Until that happens, people who either get help or they will starve. Real-life hunger is no game.