Going To Bed Hungry

Dorothea Lange photo made in February or March of 1936 in Nipomo, California.

Do people “go to bed hungry” in America? I’m sure there are those who do, but the important question is whether these hungry people are “entitled” under current programs to free or subsidized food.

Victor Davis Hanson, in a terrific piece titled Two Californias, sheds some light on this question and paints a depressing picture of California:

…In two supermarkets 50 miles apart, I was the only one in line who did not pay with a social-service plastic card (gone are the days when “food stamps” were embarrassing bulky coupons). But I did not see any relationship between the use of the card and poverty as we once knew it: The electrical appurtenances owned by the user and the car into which the groceries were loaded were indistinguishable from those of the upper middle class.

By that I mean that most consumers drove late-model Camrys, Accords, or Tauruses, had iPhones, Bluetooths, or BlackBerries, and bought everything in the store with public-assistance credit. This seemed a world apart from the trailers I had just ridden by the day before. I don’t editorialize here on the logic or morality of any of this, but I note only that there are vast numbers of people who apparently are not working, are on public food assistance, and enjoy the technological veneer of the middle class. California has a consumer market surely, but often no apparent source of income. Does the $40 million a day supplement to unemployment benefits from Washington explain some of this?..

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