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For those unfamiliar with my non-political avocations, I’m a huge country music fan. My partner and I travel to Nashville every June for the annual CMA Music Fest. It is a blast, but that’s not what I’m fired up about today.
This past Sunday, the Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM) show aired on CBS-TV from Las Vegas. (We are such big fans, we actually attended the ACMs in Vegas a few years ago — also awesome).
Pop/country singer Jewel was featured in a highlighted moment during the ACMs as part of the Academy’s “war on child hunger.”
Jewel experienced significant hardship in her early years prior to embarking on a successful career as a singer-songwriter and selling over 27 million albums worldwide. Without a place to call home, there were times when she wasn’t sure where she would spend the night or find her next meal. This experience provided the inspiration for her hit song “Hands,” a song about desperate times and not losing hope.
“I’m so honored to perform this year’s ACM Lifting Lives moment and support ConAgra Foods’ Child Hunger Ends Here campaign. It’s an important cause I hold near and dear to my heart, and this is a wonderful way to give back and raise awareness. Tori wrote such a beautiful song, and I hope it serves as a wakeup call to everyone about how widespread a problem this is in the United States,” said Jewel.
“The Academy has been dedicated to improving lives through the power of music for forty years, and this is the fifth year we’ve included an ACM Lifting Lives moment in the ACM Awards. We are proud to partner once again with ConAgra Foods to bring together a memorable performance to viewers at home, and remind them about some serious issues that Americans face on a daily basis,” said Hannah Martin, Manager, ACM Lifting Lives. “It’s an honor to have Jewel and Tori contribute their talents to this cause, and to help raise awareness for the nearly 17 million children who live in food insecure homes today.”
So aside from my overwhelming desire that country music performances on TV not be poisoned by politics like NFL broadcasts are, I wondered aloud how this child hunger problem is even possible?
Let me be specific. There has been a concerted effort by the Federal Government since before I was born to help feed children at school. Yep, the Federal school lunch program passed in 1947. That’s 65 years ago, folks. So the kids who were first helped with the program are now in retirement. Holy crap!
Since 1947, Congress has significantly upped the taxpayer contribution to help feed our school kids. In fact, the total budget for just children nutrition, breakfast, lunch and milk programs is over $100 billion for the 2012 Fiscal Year. (Note: I excluded programs not impacting children specifically in the continental United States.)
So we have spent over $500 billion in taxpayer money over the past five years and we still have children going hungry? Really? How is this possible? Who is wasting this money? I can eat very well for about $1,500 a year. And I’m borderline fat.
And check this out: 20% or more of the child population in 36 states and D.C. lived in food insecure households in 2010.
Food insecure households? What kind of nonsensical academic doublespeak is that?
But wait, there’s more! If 20 percent of children are always going hungry in America, why on earth is Michelle Obama so diabolically obsessed with overweight kids?
This reminds me of the Global Warming crowd: Global Warming causes heavy rain! And snow! And drought! And wind! And cooling! And zebras mating in new positions!! Just re-engineer your entire economic structure through academic solutions funded by taxpayer dollars and everything will be fine.
Except it will never be fine, because they always need more money.
So what is it America? Are our kids too fat or going hungry? It cannot possibly be both.