The Hunger News

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GRITtv

The Hunger News

It's more than newsprint that leaves newspaper junkies feeling filthy these days. It's the news being reported. It's dirty.

Take today's Wall Street Journal. In the National Section there's a story on states cutting Services for the Elderly and disabled. With the economy shrinking, the state of Alabama, for example, has stopped funding homemaker services for 12,000 people. All those cuts are making it harder for some vulnerable people to stay in their own homes. In one New York county, the waiting list for homecare has tripled because of lack of funding from the state. Many states expect to make many more cuts ahead.

So that's one story.... Turn the page to the Business section and there's a long story about the cash contributions that American corporations are giving to food banks instead of canned goods. The idea is that fresh food can be purchased, reflecting America's better eating habits. This Wednesday, Wal-Mart begain offering food from their stores but also cash; the Ford Motor Company's giving money too. It's a pretty warm and fuzzy piece, buried at the end of which are these statistics: Feeding America says demand at food banks is up about 25% across the country over a year ago, including a surge in first-time clients. More than one-third of those Feeding America serves live in a household where at least one person is employed; about a third of its clients are children, 10% elderly and only about 12% are homeless.

The grubby, not so fuzzy reality is those food banks wouldn't need more cash if companies paid American workers enough to feed their families.

Think the companies can't afford it? Think again.

The Journal's blockbuster feature today reports that while regular people's wages have remained stagnant for almost thirty years, even as productivity and the economy grew, corporate America made out. And even CEOs heading up the industries now looking for a handout from us left their jobs with millions.

Home-building exec, Dwight Schar, for example, of homebuilders Ryan Homes made more than $625 million in the last five years, nearly all of it from selling stock, the same stock that's plummeting now. Mr. Schar's own home these days is an 11-acre oceanfront compound in Palm Beach, Fla., with a tennis court, and two pools, purchased in 2004 and 2005 for $85.6 million from billionaire investor Ronald O. Perelman.

So much shameful stuff in one single issue of one paper. I wish cleaning this imbalance up was as easy as washing newsprint off our hands.

Laura Flanders

Best-selling author and broadcaster Laura Flanders hosts the The Laura Flanders Show, where she interviews forward thinking people about the key questions of our time.  The LF Show airs weekly on KCET/LinkTV, FreeSpeech TV, and in English & Spanish in teleSUR. Flanders is also a contributing writer to The Nation and Yes! Magazine (“Commonomics”) and a regular guest on MSNBC. She is the author of six books, including The New York Times best-seller, BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species (Verso, 2004) and Blue GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians (Penguin Press, 2007). The Laura Flanders Show first aired on Air America Radio 2004-2008. You can find all her archives and more at Lauraflanders.com or via Twitter @GRITlaura

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