Robert Winner


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One in five in the USA go hungry.

I just read a NBC Poll that said 1 in 5 in the USA go hungry. It stated this was a telephone poll. I wonder what the questions were?

Did they ask do you own a cell phone ... have cable TV .... on food stamps .... Don't get me wrong .. there are plenty out there who are struggling ... but one in five seems awfully high. We spend trillions in welfare programs .. school breakfasts and lunches ... food stamps ... church programs ... etc ...

I know and visit many people just making it but food was not their problem ... many sell the food stamps for cash to buy other things like booze or drugs.

If it is true that 1 in 5 are going hungry ... we should revisit all of the trillions of dollars spent on programs that are not working.

Do you believe this poll? Do you think the programs are working? If true what is the solution?

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    Sep 16 2013: a poll about hunger ... over the phone. only in the USA.
    • Sep 16 2013: Thank you for pointing it out, I laughed out loud.

      It seems like sacrilege to say it, but can a country become too rich for its own good?
  • Sep 15 2013: In my opinion that poll is nonsense. If you can't find free food in this country, you are not looking for it.

    Perhaps it was faulty questions. Yes, I get hungry every day just before supper. Many people who are trying to lose weight are hungry much of the time.

    A much bigger problem is the number of people who are malnourished because they choose a diet of the wrong foods.
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      Sep 15 2013: I agree. I am a people watcher. When we go to the store I look at the people and what is in the basket. The amount of people who get a ride cart ONLY because they are grossly over weight always amazes me. As I look at their cart I see beer, chips, soda, canned meats, candy, quick meals, etc ..... It is hard to not agree with the argument that we are getting fat and lazy.

      Barry, do you think there is any connection to all of the easy programs, generational welfare, and the ease that the media has blamed the rich for all of the ills thus creating a you owe me attitude in the poor?
      • Sep 16 2013: I think the "you owe me" attitude is overblown and exists in only a very small minority of the poor.

        Most poor people that I have met are working very hard to better their lives. Some of them are working four part-time jobs, scheduling them around their school classes. Generational welfare certainly exists, and I think it is a product of poorly designed government programs combined with poor education. I have seen documentaries about this problem in which the government social workers are clearly part of the problem, even discouraging their clients from trying to find work.

        I tend to think that people are just people, trying to deal with their situation as best as they can. I think it is useless to see people, or their attitudes, as the problem. Some of us are certainly getting fat and lazy, and I hope we will always have the freedom to do so. You can make a case that the whole of society pays for the health problems associated with obesity, but individual freedom is precious.

        I am not sure that it requires anything at all to instill a "you owe me" attitude into people. Some people seem to be born with that attitude, and it seems that those people never become very productive.
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        Sep 16 2013: I am not certain what a ride cart is, but I don't see how one could know that a heavy person uses such a cart only because of weight. Similarly, when someone takes a seat in the front of the bus, one cannot tell whether the person has an invisible underlying ailment.

        I tend to agree with Barry when he writes that most people are just people, dealing with their situations as best they can. There is plenty of research to the effect that being under unrelenting stress of some kind leads to poorer decisions, so a cycle of poor choices, poor results, and further poor choices can result.

        Banarjee and Duflo in their research on the very poor in India find that people with little hope often try to seize the little things that for the moment they can control and that make them feel better in the short run. One finding was that increasing income slightly often led to less nutritionally sensible food choices, because they used their extra income to buy tastier food rather than more nutritious food.
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        Sep 17 2013: @Mary. Thanks for the links. I never see these. They must be more common in other parts of the country , or perhaps the stores where I buy groceries are not arranged well enough to allow such carts to pass well.
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          Sep 17 2013: Off topic for a sec. Just heard a great interview with Debrah Sparr the President of Barnard College and former Professor of the Harvard School of Business one of the areas discussed was her new book .. Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for perfection.

          Great interview ... I read some excerpts and will later read the whole thing.

          Just wanted to pass this on.
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          Sep 17 2013: Wow Fritzie, that is really surprising.

          I guess living in a big city, we have a lot of things not found in other places.
          Not sure if that's a good thing.
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        Sep 17 2013: Bob, I missed the I was walking out the door this morning when she came on.

        The host of the show announced her by asking the question, "Should women want to have it all?"

        You might enjoy the interview from CBS this this the interview you watched?

        NPR also did a write up on her book:
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          Sep 17 2013: I am in a city also. I suspect that the explanation is different. It may be that those who are less maneuverable through the aisles do their shopping when the store is more empty and I on the weekends when it is full.

          I read the interview after Bob recommended it, but I won't comment here as it would be off topic and possibly a good subject for a new thread.
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          Sep 17 2013: The last one is the NPR interview. As I watched the first one the CBS interview ... five people saw what was lectured differently ... As Debrah explains the social movement for equality and the feminism movement are different and have many parts and confused many young women.

          I liked the part about happiness and expectations ....

          I think she has powerful observation, interview skills, and the ability to communicate the results.

          What did you think ?????
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        Sep 17 2013: I think you should seriously consider starting a conversation on this topic.

        You can link the videos and the NPR article.

        :) Mary
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    Oct 13 2013: There may be 1 in 5 going hungry. I am beginning to believe it is not that food is unavailable or overly expensive, I am beginning to believe it is because they are not eating or not being fed.
    There is some number who actually are so deprived they have no food or the means to eat.
    Children who are hungry and only eat in school, will tell you that they are not eating at home. Too often it is because their parents are not feeding them. I have heard these parents cry poverty and then hold up your response to answer their iphone. How many like this? That Poll hasn't been taken as far as I know.
    Our metropolitan area has a $400 mil. facility to help the homeless. Many have been helped, but hundreds of homeless are still living on the streets begging for money for Food? Alcohol? Drugs?
    Then there is the food stamp card holders with grocery carts loaded with cases of low-cal soda and varieties could eat the sum total of that cart and still die of starvation.
    There are private groups and church affiliated "soup kitchens" that do provide food to the hungry that are scraping by to provide services but the billions spent in massive Federal programs like all massive Federal programs.... may have been better used to fuel fire barrels to keep the homeless warm.
  • Sep 20 2013: I think another way to look at this is that the Census Bureau stated the number of people living under the poverty level is 48.6 million or roughly `15% of the population of the US
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      Sep 24 2013: Wayne, I am a big fan of the US Debit Clock and use it as a base for most of my figures ... not that others are bad or mine is better.

      My figures would be US population 316,748,117 .... living in poverty ... 46,902,895 = 4.67% of pop.

      I use the clock because it states what the source of the data is and I can go to that source and verify or reject. By the way the cencus was the source for both of the clocks numbers I gave.

      If you put your pointer of the area it explains the source and the means used.

      Just info to keep all informed of how I got these numbers.

      Now the question is why are our numbers from the same source so different?

      Thanks. Bob.
      • Sep 24 2013: I just divided 46.9 by 316.7 and I get 14.8%. i just checked the number above the number living in poverty which is the number of disabled and i get close to the % you have.

        By the way, like the debt clock - thanks for pointing it out to me
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    Sep 17 2013: I have a little neighbor friend that sits and talks to me about the cafeteria food they serve at school.

    Seems like they are spending all this money to feed kids for free, and guess what?
    They kids don't touch the stuff......most of the time they play with the food.
    The other day they served fish sticks.......The kids created mini dramas on their trays. Each fish stick represented a soldier in battle.........the ketchup..........yep you guessed it ........blood!!!

    Those kids went home hungry.

    It is no wonder that little neighbor of mine takes his lunch to school.
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      Sep 18 2013: There are millions of kids on Earth who would eat those fish sticks from the cafeteria dumpster. . . gladly. My point is there are degrees of hunger. In Navy survival school they gave a group of 60 of us three live rabbits after 3-days of going without food. I remember eating an eyeball. . . gladly. Those kids playing with their food are not "hungry".
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        Sep 18 2013: I'm going to have to agree with you on that one.

        Although they went home hungry, in the sense that they not eat lunch.......they were not hungry in the pure sense of the word in I have no food to eat and I wonder where my next meal is going to come from.

        I will share something else with you.

        There are parents who give their kids a great breakfast each morning, and tell them they will eat lunch when they come home at 3:00. So their little bodies are already accustomed to having all those hours of non-food intake.

        I don't know what that is doing to their little bodies, but none-the-less it happens around here.

        The sad part of it is, these same kids are on free lunch. So, we (and by we I mean us tax-payers) are paying for their free lunch, which turns out to be food-for-play..................and in the meantime back in third world countries.............tsk tsk...........I'm still trying to wrap my brain around all this myself.

        Many see the US as a wasteful nation.
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          Sep 19 2013: Perhaps someone can verify this, but I believe the challenge for poor families is almost never an inability to obtain enough calories to prevent hunger but rather that nutritious foods cost more than near-empty calories. Specifically, a family may be able to afford to put adequate calories on the table, but the kids may be missing essential micronutrients and protein.

          Where I live, I have noticed food banks in seeking food donations asking people to consider donating more the kind of nutritious foods they feed their own families, as there is apparently a much more frequent practice of putting nourishing food in the cart for the family but then buying the cheaper, more sugary cereals and so forth for donation.
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        Sep 19 2013: @Fritzie

        It would be interesting to see the results of a study on the nutrition for poor families.

        I think perhaps people donate the processed foods for the food banks because of the shelf life?
        What do you think?

        I think some people just have poor eating habits.
        They prefer convenience rather than nutrition.

        It would be great to do exit polls at local supermarkets......

        But let me be clear, the families I am talking about are not poor.
        A lot of families qualify for free meals at school, and trust me, they are not poor.
        They just know how to work the system.

        I think a lack of education on nutrition might be the culprit behind the poor eating habits.
        Many come from a country where variety is not available.
        They subsist on certain staples.
        Once they come here, and see the abundance and variety, then they want all the sugary, greasy, tasty food their taste buds long for.....whether or not it's nutritious.

        This is my community. I cannot speak for the rest of the US.
        But in the over four decades I have been observing this area, there has been a decline in a lot of things........nutritious eating is a major one, especially for the kids.
        Some parents are under the impression that Lunchables are good nutrition.

        Look at what the Huffington Post printed on them:

        I remember my youngest wanting lunchables because he saw other kids eating them.
        I said, that is not real food.......but he really wanted to try it.

        Sooooo, I bought a box..........One bite, and he spit it out.
        Every time he sees a little kid eating lunchable, he shakes his head.

        But how do you compete with all the great tasting stuff they have out there.
        I mean, there is a lot of science involved in getting people to buy all this junk.

        It's really sad, I don't have any answers.
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          Sep 19 2013: The NBC poll said people "go hungry". I, perhaps wrongly, assume that means they do not have enough food, regardless of the nutritional value, to rid their bodies of hunger pangs.
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          Sep 19 2013: I am familiar with the work in this area by MIT's Poverty Action Lab. But that was not for the US.

          Edward, I think "go hungry" may be poetic license. The underlying survey almost certainly did not use that language, and modern research uses the term "food insecurity."
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        Sep 19 2013: Polls are such a difficult thing to understand........

        Also think about this Ed. Just because you feel full, doesn't mean your body has the nourishments you need. It's like downing a 240 calorie caramel macchiato for breakfast.
        (Read what starbucks writes under the nutrition information)

        You might feel full. But have you given your body what it needs first thing in the morning.
        Tell Mrs. L that I've seen kids arriving at school drinking Starbucks coffee. :/
        I've seen it all Ed.....
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          Sep 19 2013: Agreed. I am looking for the intended meaning of the NBC poll regarding the phrase "go hungry". Do the pollsters intend to say 20% of Americans are not optimally nourished, or do they mean 20% go to bed longing for food to stop the hunger pangs but they have no edible substances available to them because of poverty?
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        Sep 19 2013: Look what I found................

        Never mind that the site is called "In Plain Sight"..........I spent 1/2 an hour using google to try and find this article.........ENJOY!!! or not. :/
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          Sep 20 2013: You are tenacious for Truth! Bravo. Drat! I cannot open it. I will try a cut and paste. Should we censure Robert for not linking it?
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        Sep 20 2013: In Plain Sight is a special initiative by NBC to report on poverty in America.
        It is supported by a Grant from the Ford Foundation.
        Lots of Grants being discussed on TED lately.......hmm

        The article I linked, but which is no longer available, basically stated how people struggle due to the increase in food prices.

        It's a shame they took it off. I wonder why?

        Here is a link to the homepage on poverty.

        Let's not be too harsh on Robert..........chances are the link would have been cut also.
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          Sep 20 2013: Say what? The NBC article was about rising food prices? I agree (at least) 20% of Americans are concerned about rising food prices, but that is a far different subject than actual hunger. Hmmm.
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        Sep 20 2013: I found a blurb on the actual article and news cast:


        Updated 1:17 p.m. ET, Thurs., Sept . 12, 2013

        Many Americans are still struggling to put food on the table, a full four years after the global recession ended, a new poll by Gallup shows. Indeed 20 percent of people polled last month said that they sometimes didn’t have enough money to ...


        It is too bad that they removed the page.

        I think this whole ordeal teaches us a great lesson.

        Many times what is said, and what we hear, are two different things.

        Well, that's it for me......I'm off to other investigative assignments.......Data sleuth Mary over and out!
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          Sep 20 2013: Boldly go where no others have gone girl! And remember, 20% of the people you encounter are "hungry", even the ones with the $500 phones! Hey! Someone should develop an edible app. I am not scoffing at hunger, I am scoffing at convoluted statistics.
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        Sep 20 2013: I think you and I are on the same wavelength.

        And did you know that "Convoluted statistics" make me hungry?.......I'm off to have lunch. :)

        Enjoy your weekend!
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    Sep 16 2013: This debate goes to Politics. Therefore I offer this quote from Marx (not Karl, but Groucho): "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies." I think all four elements are clearly evident in this issue. I do not believe the poll results are accurate.
  • Sep 15 2013: Let's see;
    1 in 5 go hungry. If the poll is accurate, IF, why the question, "do you think the programs are working?'
    Of course they aren't.
    You Americans have at least four (4) times the amount of food available to you than you actually use.
    Much of it is thrown away!!! Are you kidding me?
    Why don't you American'ts simply make sure all people are fed? Please don't say you don't get it.

    Where does all that money go? Into someone's pocket. You people are so "willfully blind" it is a ludicrous
    Read what Theodore said below:
    "Report get distorted when they are in the press. I found this statement online,
    "Almost one in five Americans say they have had trouble paying for food at least once during the past 12 months."
    Is this the same thing as "hunger." My answer would be "no."
    Again, not being able to purchase food is, "not hunger!!!!!" Not being able to eat is, 'not hunger!!!!!"
    And willfully skipping eating because of money is also not hunger!!!!!!
    You people should really step of your country to really see yourselves.
    You look and sound like idiots.
    Even one person going hungry when there is absolutely no reason for it, doesn't constitute rational, sober, intelligent
    discussion, no matter how you break it down.
    It's just hunger insecurity. Fear of hunger insecurity.
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      Sep 15 2013: At the risk of, as you say, looking and sounding like an idiot ... I think your right. We are probably the worlds largest consumer of political koolade. I have traveled and agree that the USA cannot be compared with real hunger issues.

      I am sure you are also correct on the amount of cronyism, rake offs, and just plain greed that occurs in all of the programs.

      Does Germany suffer from any of these problems?
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    Sep 15 2013: Reports get distorted when they are in the press. I found this statement online,
    "Almost one in five Americans say they have had trouble paying for food at least once during the past 12 months."
    Is this the same thing as "hunger." My answer would be "no." Is there a problem in America regarding income? YES!

    "Official figures from September 2012 showed that more than 46 million Americans, 15 percent of the US population, are living in poverty, the highest rate for 40 years.

    According to a report by the US Department of Agriculture, women living alone and African-American households suffered the biggest increase in low food security.

    Around 97 percent of poor people said they cut back on the amount they ate or skipped a meal, while 91 percent said it happened often throughout the year."

    But then there is the fact that Americans are 20-30 % overweight. How do we gage what hunger means in America, compared to the rest of the world?

    "Paradoxically, Americans throw away as much as 40 per cent of their annual food purchases.
    A study released by a US environmental group, Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC), says that the huge waste occurs at all points in food production, from farms to the dinner table.
    The average American throws away ten times as much food as a consumer in Southeast Asia, up 50 percent from the 1970s.
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      Sep 15 2013: Good argument. We see all of the time how numbers are "used and abused" to serve a purpose. I am not so sure that the "hunger" issue is a matter of income ... there are many programs that level the playing field. By taking the value of the goods and services many non-working "poor" actually exceed the working stiff. As for the number of people below the poverty rate ... the Obamacare mandate that 30 hours a week is considered full time will increase those numbers as corporation have reduced the hours per week to 25 to off set the federal mandate.

      Hard to argue that we are a "fat" country and go hungry at the same time.

      Over the last year I tried to eat one serving ... boy is that hard. The plate you get when you eat out is about three servings. I grew up really poor .... I appreciate everything ... food, cloths, material things, etc ... It is hard to watch others take to much and throw food away.

      I tried to find a number of people in the USA who died of starvation ... the number is so small that records are not kept.

      I think your right ... this is about food security.
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    Sep 14 2013: Without reliable statistics, which I will look for when I can, I can only speculate. I think people now talk about food insecurity rather than hunger, which considers whether someone is ever worried about being able to provide adequate food. What is probably more common than not being able to ingest enough calories, which is what "hunger" used to mean, is not being able to afford nutritious food, such as good proteins and foods with essential micronutrients.

    The telephone poll may be asking about the family's situation before they take advantages of services available to them One in five people in my state get food stamps, which likely means they would be hungry without them. World Hunger indicates that 55% of food insecure people in the US DO take advantage of food assistance programs.

    The question of television is a little different. A family could have a television from when the wage earner was employed and still have it later. Selling an old television probably wouldn't feed people for very long. The average cost of cable seems to be $50 per month. I know many families that cut that budget item!

    Here are data for 2012, with clarification as to what the statistics mean.

    From these U.S. Government data, it looks like 5.7% of US households could sometimes during the year 2012 not meet their households' essential dietary needs by adjustments in diet or the use of assistance programs. These data do not show how many days a year they were unable to meet those needs- only that there were some days during 2012.
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      Sep 15 2013: Yeah, your right .. statistics cannot be reliable until we set some rules and define the words. I have often said that I once worked in analysis ... and that numbers say what you want them to.

      I had a conversation on unemployment ... the national debit clock says the official unemployed is11,268,289 and also shows the actual unemployment as 21,240, 964. No President wants to say that unemployment during his term was over 20%. Then there are terms such as stopped looking for work and underemployed. Now we have the 25 hour a week people ... will there be a stat of full time VS part time.

      According to the state debit clock ... your state is doing quite well.

      Thanks for the reply.
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    Sep 14 2013: Nope completly non sequitur

    Just cut the propaganda

    Similiar to unemployment ...