Cost of Hunger in America
States are facing steeper bills to help those in need
- Duration 7:12
- Date Oct 13, 2011
States are facing steeper bills to help those in need
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Okay what you know -- recession has actually brought as well a number of Americans who are dealing with hunger in their own lines and I know we don't think about hunger.
And in America but it is a real issue an and one of my next guest is some.
-- -- -- -- pushing the senior fellow with the American program progress think we're.
-- -- me and talking about 30% increase.
In the number of households that are experiencing hunger that would be twelve million Americans first of -- -- welcome.
And you're talking about a subject that is kind of foreign to a lot of Americans because we go into the supermarkets have received.
I'll -- isle of food stacked upon food and we can't imagine that anybody in America's hungry but that's not the case.
Why are there so many hungry Americans.
Well actually as you know when you walk to the thousands supermarkets these days the prices keep going up.
So what other reasons that more and more Americans are finding it hard to put food on the table every day is because the price of food going up but their wages aren't where they're having a hard time finding a job.
So the recession has really swelled the ranks of people who can't reliably know every day and every night how they're gonna put food on the table for themselves -- their children.
One of the things that that is in this report because there's a report on the beat the number of people who -- actually experiencing.
Hunger but they offer no real solutions.
And -- talk about the supplemental nutrition assistance program.
Which is how many people and it's basically about 94 billion dollar project.
-- is expanding this part of the solution or not.
-- -- totally right -- part of dealing with America's hunger crisis which we estimate costs a 167.
Point five billion dollars a year.
In terms of volunteer time health care costs that could be avoided and undermine educational outcomes.
One of the ways to deal with that would be to do amounts expansion in this to food stamp program which is now called snap.
The challenge and that is that's not a long term sustainable solution for anybody Americans want to work.
They don't want to be dependent on food stamps and so the real solution here.
Is to expand the economy increase the number of jobs and Begin to focus on the fact that we need to drive up wages for the -- -- income Americans.
There isn't long term solutions so if we do the first two jobs and wages if we can address those which are the sort of bedrock American principles.
Then we only need to expand snap for the people who aren't able to make -- in the labor for.
Well and one of the problems when you talk about expending any kind of program is that it usually means a tax increase which is a very very difficult thing to do at this time -- -- 9% unemployment we've got a recession.
And all of those things that actually cause.
People to go hungry so what would really be the solution besides.
Raising taxes in some -- Well remember to increase this this supplemental assistance nutrition program wouldn't necessarily require -- tax increase.
I'm in total we're spending 95 billion dollars or nutrition programs but the snap program is soft -- 65 billion.
If we -- to expand it to address all of the Americans who face food insecurity and hunger.
We would be spending another 83 billion dollars and a budget that's one point four trillion dollars so you don't necessarily need to make a tax increase need to make a different choice.
But we're not suggesting that we spend 83 billion dollars to expand the snap program we're suggesting that we need to focus on economic solutions that boost jobs.
And that boosts wages in America and only expand to the degree that we can't that there -- individuals who aren't able to make it into the labor force so nobody's advocating for a tax increase to increase to address hunger.
Where and advocating for economic policies that make it possible for more Americans to go to work because that's what they want to do.
You -- let's get to the numbers because I wanted to we've got a couple of graphs here that to to show people first of all of hunger in America by year look at that 2007.
36 point two million it's and households.
Percent of the population is 12% and you look.
All the way down there -- two.
Also steady increase although it -- decreased slightly from about 2009 to 2010 but still there is this.
Reflection of a growing a recession and growing hunger explain those numbers more a little bit to me Donna.
Sure so what's been happening has unemployment rises so does.
Food insecurity and hunger.
And the reduction that you see in 2010.
Which you point on is just modest.
On the census isn't sure whether that's just an aberration and in 2011.
We'll see that number rise again or -- But the fact is we have too many people who don't know where their next -- coming from.
Honest and as you know in that report we point out that -- numbers of people are stunning the costs are alarming.
One way or another we're paying for the cost a hunger or whether it's directly through the federal budget.
Or the costs.
You know emergency health care the costs of spending money for special education.
We're all paying for the cost of hunger and really this is a rally cry this report to say that there's got to be a better way to do this.
That cost -- and every American much less.
One of the things -- also we house some statistics showing the cost per state.
And for people looking at this look good to see if you find your statement number one -- -- fla.
Net -- the increase the percentage increases 61 point 9% almost 62% there.
Florida clearly the leader in hunger issues and -- you can see California Maryland Washington and Hawaii.
Is as you know Florida has suffered terribly as a result of the mortgage debacle and so with so many foreclosures in Florida.
People losing all their equity losing their homes.
Losing their jobs as a result.
Many of them don't have the resources to put food on the table that's one of the reasons you see your rise in in.
Another reason they theorize in Florida and California is because there are many new Americans who are in fact here legally.
Who also are having a hard time making ends meet in the labor market.
And -- of those two issues at play although -- isn't the greatest number.
Of people in hunger and -- food insecurity obviously California is because it's such a big state.
But it is a place that is AM senator red flag if we continue down this path we're going to be seeing large jumps and more and more states and as you -- -- -- -- states -- -- you'll see every -- seeing an increase in food insecurity since the recession.
Thank you welcome don't think it reminds Donna Cooper.
Here is an expert on that from the American progress.
He's a senior fellow American progress talking about hunger in America thank you so much.
Were talking about this issue.
Thanks for having me thank you.