Thursday, February 23, 2006


Outsourcing full stomachs?

How good are things? Not as all as good as various people would have us believe. More and more people are sliding into the quicksand of poverty—or, if not right into the quicksand, they’re standing right next to it. That’s not good. Wages haven’t just stagnated, they’ve actually shrunk, when you consider buying-power. Nobody says too much about this, because it’s very scary.

Yet the boy emperor is still telling us how wonderful—except for the dreadful frightful terrorists, of course—everything is. Why, people in India are busy buying products with American names on them! That benefits all of us! Except, he doesn’t tell us how it benefits us...
Food Bank Network Served Over 25M in '05

The Associated Press
Thursday, February 23, 2006; 12:38 AM

WASHINGTON -- More than 25 million Americans turned to the nation's largest network of food banks, soup kitchens and shelters for meals last year, up 9 percent from 2001.

Those seeking food included 9 million children and nearly 3 million senior citizens, says a report from America's Second Harvest.

"The face of hunger doesn't have a particular color, and it doesn't come from a particular neighborhood," said Ertharin Cousin, executive vice president of the group. "They are your neighbors, they are working Americans, they are senior citizens who have worked their entire lives, and they are children."

The organization said it interviewed 52,000 people at food banks, soup kitchens and shelters across the country last year. The network represents about 39,000 hunger-relief organizations, or about 80 percent of those in the United States. The vast majority are run locally by churches and private nonprofit groups.

The surveys were done before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast in 2005. After the hurricanes, demand for emergency food assistance tripled in Gulf Coast states, according to a separate report by the group.

The new report, being released Thursday, found that 36 percent of people seeking food came from households in which at least one person had a job. About 35 percent came from households that received food stamps.

Cousin said the numbers show that many working people don't make enough money to feed their families. She said the food stamp numbers show that the government program, while important, is insufficient.

"The benefits they are receiving are not enough," Cousin said.

Government reports also show the number of hungry Americans increasing.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture report released last year said 13.5 million American households, or nearly 12 percent, had difficulty providing enough food for family members at some time in 2004. That was up from about 11 percent in 2003.

Jean Daniel, a USDA spokeswoman, said private groups play an important role in supplementing the government's safety net.

"We have said all along that the government cannot do this alone, nor should it," Daniel said. "Their efforts dovetail very nicely with ours."

Some local food-assistance groups saw big jumps in their numbers of people seeking food, despite an improving economy.

In Washington, the Capital Area Food Bank served more than 383,000 people last year, a 39 percent increase over 2001, said Kasandra Gunter Robinson, the food bank's spokeswoman.

Of those people, nearly half had jobs, she said.

"It is the working poor who are struggling," Robinson said.

Robinson said skyrocketing rents and real estate prices in the Washington area have drained family budgets and increased hunger.

Lisa Koch of the Greater Chicago Food Depository said she interviewed people at a Chicago soup kitchen who were on their lunch breaks from work. About 39 percent of the households in the Chicago survey included at least one adult with a job. The agency served a half million people last year.

"Even though the economy might be changing, it isn't creating the kinds of jobs that allow people to make ends meet," Koch said.


On The Net:

America's Second Harvest:

U.S. Department of Agriculture:
© 2006 The Associated Press

Posted on Thu, Feb. 23, 2006

Bush insists outsourcing to India has its benefits

By Jim Puzzanghera
Mercury News Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - To people in Silicon Valley and around the country concerned about the outsourcing of jobs to India, President Bush on Wednesday offered something to make the practice more palatable.


It's just one of the U.S. products that India's rapidly growing middle class is developing an appetite for, Bush said in a speech to the Asia Society as he prepares for a trip to India and Pakistan next month. While acknowledging the individual trauma of Americans who lose jobs when companies move operations abroad, Bush said India's economic growth is an overall plus for the U.S. economy.

``India's middle class is buying air-conditioners, kitchen appliances and washing machines, and a lot of them from American companies like GE and Whirlpool and Westinghouse. And that means their job base is growing here in the United States. Younger Indians are acquiring a taste for pizzas from Domino's, Pizza Hut,'' Bush said to laughs from the audience at a Washington hotel. ``Today, India's consumers associate American brands with quality and value, and this trade is creating opportunity at home.''

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