We see the headlines every year, particularly now, around the holidays.
In the richest country in world history–where Congress pays corporations to keep their workforces poor, where wealthy tax cheats benefit more from coronavirus pandemic relief than those losing their jobs and homes, where the rich are getting obscenely richer–hunger is growing.
— National Geographic (@NatGeo) November 26, 2020
As with all economic and health crises, the most disproportionately affected are Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities.
This is the reality we’re dealing with now. Nearly 26 million Americans say they didn’t have enough to eat in the past week.
No one should be too poor to buy food for Thanksgiving. https://t.co/QyhTN4MwLp
— Barbara Lee (@BLeeForCongress) November 25, 2020
“This is a story about racial and ethnic disparities—both food insecurity and the story of coronavirus. The populations and geographies that started in the most disadvantageous state of food insecurity are the ones that are getting hit the hardest.”
North Texas Food Bank president, Trisha Cunningham, reports, “People are seeing hunger like they’ve never seen it before,” with food bank patrons sleeping in their vehicles to be able to receive Thanksgiving care packages.
Loudoun Hunger Relief’s executive director, Jennifer Montgomery, warns:
“We are continuing to see people who have never used our services before.”
Randy Young, who was recently laid off from his job as a cook at Houston’s NRG Stadium, a food bank site, said:
“You look at people pulling up in Mercedes and stuff, come on. If a person driving a Mercedes is in need of food, you know it’s bad.”
Food Bank for NYC president Leslie Gordon added:
“Even before the pandemic, there were 1.5 million residents here across the five boroughs who didn’t always know where their next meal was coming from or what it would be, and that’s escalated considerably to nearly two million of our neighbors.”
Minn. Rep. Ilhan Omar tweeted:
We actively work to end hunger around the world, but still haven’t gotten serious about ending it here in America. Eradicating hunger should be a priority.
When I came to America 25yrs ago, it was shocking to see people line up to get food & it still is. https://t.co/OETr7eWpTc
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 27, 2020
Calif. Rep. Ro Khanna tweeted:
We’re facing an unprecedented hunger crisis in America. 26 million people, or 1 in 8 Americans, are going hungry. In the richest nation in the world, that’s unconscionable.
Congress has the power to address this crisis. Why aren’t we doing it?https://t.co/us7aikA1h9
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) November 27, 2020
Khanna and Omar are Democratic members of the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, so they had a hand in this year’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act responsible for lifting over 40 million workers–18 million in just last April alone–out of poverty.
That was seven months ago.
What’s the problem?
The holdup lies solely with Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose priority has been confirming more federal judges to lifetime appointments than bringing to the Senate floor bills to help “blue states and cities.”
While America’s richest have enjoyed seeing their wealth grow by a trillion dollars since the pandemic hit in March, many economists urge Congress to “use debt, go big, and stay big” with a $3 trillion debt-financed stimulus package to increase unemployment benefits and boost fiscal aid to state and local governments, nutrition assistance, and other safety net expansions, lest we descend into financial ruin.
— John Schmitt (@jschmittwdc) November 24, 2020
Perhaps, though, financial ruin is precisely what Mitch McConnell and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin want.
In what appears to be little more than post-election vindictiveness, Mnuchin is cutting off Treasury and Federal Reserve emergency lending programs, scaling back uncommitted monies he intends to relegate to the General Fund so future Biden-appointed Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen must obtain congressional approval to access it.
As Joan McCarter reports for The Daily Kos:
“This will hamstring both Yellen and the Fed in the future. That’s in part because it’s running out of tools to juice the economy. It can’t do anything with interest rates since they’re already at zero. It can’t give to the people to boost consumer spending. Top economists are pleading with Congress to do just that. More than 125 economists organized by the Economic Security Project have written an open letter to Congress calling for more direct payments to families. Now.”
So when the house of cards comes crashing down, as McConnell, Mnuchin, Trump, et. al are engineering it to, it will be at President Joe Biden most Americans will point fingers.
We’re their pawns.
Image credit: themindfulworld