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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

The problem with claims about ‘starvation wages’

Yesterday President Biden's budget director nominee expressed support for federal funding of abortion.

Today was her second confirmation hearing before another committee, and Chairman Sanders used the opportunity to make yet another mention of “starvation wages” some people are earning.

Some people indeed do not earn much, and in high-rent areas, the proportion of their income going to rent can be north of 50 percent, sometimes significantly so.

To refer to what's left of their income as “starvation wages” is to make two claims on that income or lack thereof.

On the one hand, Senator Sanders is implying that people have so little left that they have to buy cheap food and skimp on how much they eat, so much so that they're losing weight and on the verge of starving to death.

On the other hand, Senator Sanders has also campaigned on the claim that “no one should go hungry, especially women, children, and infants. He believes that Americans who truly need assistance should not be denied access to food programs like SNAP, WIC, and the School Lunch and Breakfast programs.”

So which is it?

Must people pay for their own food and manage their own funds at the risk of “starvation”?

Or, does he intend to remain true to his promise that “no one should go hungry” and they can depend on the U.S. federal government to feed them?

Two thoughts:

1. My point here is he is inconsistent: laying claim to low wages as both a hardship for people buying their own food, and reason for the government to buy food for them.

2. As I've written before, man should work, and if he's unwilling to work, he shouldn't eat. He also should provide for his family. None of those things are the responsibility of the government. The government's responsibility is to hold people accountable for meeting their responsibilities. It already does this with laws against abuse and neglect, and that is the extent of its responsibility.

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