USDA says no Americans are "hungry", some have a "food scarcity"

It’s more Newspeak from the government again, as evidenced by this Washington Post article. It’s really a gem among gems.

For many years the USDA claimed it measured how many Americans went hungry. Oh, but they were misleading us. They weren’t measuring hungry Americans, they were actually measuring the “food scarcity” in America. Their methology was to count how many requests for food at local food pantries were unable to be fulfilled. That , and and determining how many Americans couldn’t afford to reliably keep food in their homes, resulted in a hunger estimate.

Ah, some may ask, but what is “hunger”? Some poor fools might say it means the feeling of desiring food in the absense of food. Not counting people on a voluntary diet, of course.

But the poor fools would be wrong. To the USDA, hunger is a sociological term. It should:

So, the USDA says, it MIGHT be that the “very low level food scarcity” in America results in hungry Americans, but they really can’t tell us because that’s not what they measure.

Nor are they interested in doing so:

Fuck, Orwell couldn’t have written this one. I believe this is the one of the most exquisite and excruciating pieces of Newspeak I have ever come across…

Mark my words, EVIL is afoot at the USDA. No wonder we’re getting fuckin’ killer broccoli.

Sorry but I gotta agree with the USDA. When I use the term “hunger” with regards to general food scarcity, I use it to mean conditions where one is in danger of starving (or causing other problems as per the USDA.)

Sure, I’m pretty “hungry” right now as I have eaten less than 1500 calories a day for the past few days and I’m really looking to the full pizza I’m cooking right now. But I wouldn’t say that I “suffer from hunger.”

Hunger means “in danger of starving”?

How would you distinguish between “in danger of starving” and “starving”?

I’m not broke, I’m financially challenged!

I’m not balding, I’m experiencing an occasional paucity of follicles.

When is the last time any one has starved in America? Not including torture or abuse, or being a vulnerable adult or child.

I’m trying to google it, and I can’t seem to find any people that have starved to death, if there wasn’t circumstances of another individual preventing them from eating. Anorexia doesn’t count in this conversation, it is self imposed.

“In danger of starving” would mean to me that someone suffers from a scarcity of food or only has access to very poor quality of food most of the time. For instance a poor family that may only be able to buy or obtain enough food for one halfway decent meal a day and it may be one or two weeks here and there during which will be a day with no food for at least one family member. There are some children for whom their free lunch at school counts as their one meal a day.

“Starving” means to me that someone has no reliable source of food on a daily basis and frequently has days without eating anything.

This site sez:

There are a lot of reasons why elderly people are likely to be malnourished, including mental problems and deteriorating ability to take care of themselves, but simple poverty plays a big role. I don’t think significant numbers of people die only from poverty-induced malnutrition in the US, but it’s definitely a contributing factor in mortality, particularly among the elderly poor.

I don’t see the word “scarcity” in the article. The USDA is trying to measure “food insecurity” not “food scarcity.” The poster may have exactly the same reaction to either term but we should at least acknowledge the term actually used.

The USDA is attempting to measure the cause rather than the effect. People could be hungry for reasons other than being poor. Some are on diets. Some are sent to bed without supper for being bad. The USDA is properly interested in people that are hungry because they have no food in the house. Those are the hungry people that need food stamps and school lunches. It seems reasonable for the agency to concentrate on those hungry people.

The change in terminology does have an Orwellian feel but detached number-crunchers often do that. As a common example, auditors note “irregularities” when they mean “fraud.”

“Food scarcity” at least has some sort of meaning. “Food insecurity” has just enough mushiness to it that people end up with large questionmarks in their heads. It doesn’t speak viscerally. A hungry person is a strong image. A person experiencing a high rate of food insecurity sounds like someone who is afraid of beets.

::scene: long shot of a broken-down van under a bridge by the river; all the doors are missing and the glass is gone; the rusted vehicle sits on its axles. Camera closes in to reveal two homeless men sitting inside, nibbling on the last of their government cheese. They speak::

“So Phil, I’ve been meaning to inquire as to your rate of food insecurity. Do feel it’s directly indexed to your disposable income deficit?”

“Well, Hiram, I would prefer to think that there is some substance in that argument, but I believe that there is also a correlation with my current dilemma of being domicile-challenged.”

Translation: “You hungry? Got any fuckin’ money, man?” “Shit yeah, I’m fuckin’ starvin’. This cheese just ain’t cuttin’ it. Ain’t got two nickels to rub together and I’m freezin’ my ass off in this fuckin’ van!”

I agree with the USDA as well. The number of requests turned away at food pantries tells us nothing about how many people actually went hungry because of it, The are many sources of cheap of free food in most communities. Some of them are bound to be more popular or convenient than others and don’t have the capacity for everyone so the spillover tries to get hooked up with the next best thing. Maybe food pantry #1 needs to expand or get more funding but that doesn’t mean that everyone they turned away went without a mean because of it.

If you are walking down the street and a homeless person asks you for money, do you conclude that he will have zero cash that day if you don’t give him some?

The USDA can’t really tell us how many people are going hungry because it is so rare that it is hard to measure even if you can get a good definition. Their job is to make food available to certain populations and one of the major problems is that the food is hard to access or the supply is inconsistent. It is noble to work on those things because that is all they really can do and that is what we see here.

Realistic action plan versus Bleeding Heart

Food does not necessarily equal nutrition. Hunger surely is not defined only as “not enough to eat”. One’s body can starve even if the stomach is full.

It’s not just America. there’s never been a famine in a democracy.

No Famine

It is possible to starve without starving to death, and with grim consequences. E.g., malnutrition in childhood produces an adult stunted in physical and possibly in mental development.

In other news, we have always been at war with Eurasia.

Why would you eliminate a vulnerable child or adult from this discussion?

I think the intention was to exclude people who are at risk of being starved by the deliberate actions of other people who have control over them, as opposed to people who simply don’t have enough food available to them.

I figured he was talking about people like Ana Carolina Reston.

All starvation is the result of deliberate actions of other people who have control over the starving person. It’s just a matter of how direct the control is. There is more than enough food in the world to feed everyone in it.

How are you expecting to find this information by googling?