Column Date 2006-11-25

Good news! No more hungry people in America!

Bet you didn’t know that.

And it’s actually hard to grasp the idea, considering all the soup kitchens and food banks we see in almost every city in America.

But it’s true: there are no more hungry people in America, at least according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

No, they haven’t eliminated hunger, they’ve just, well, kinda changed it.

According to the Dept. of Agriculture, there are no longer 35 million “hungry” people in America -- we now have 35 million people who are suffering from “low food security.”

“Hunger” is gone; “low food security” has arrived. You can read all about it in their latest report.

Make no mistake: we’re talking about the same people here, people with the same empty, gnawing feeling in their stomachs. But now, they’re no longer hungry.

Which all goes to prove that no matter whether Republicans or Democrats win elections, bureaucratic lunacy is alive and well in Washington. (I’ve always wondered how all those curious, enthusiastic little kids I see running around playgrounds grow up to be Washington bureaucrats. It must be painful, like a butterfly squeezing back into its cocoon and becoming a caterpillar again.)

Of course, it’s been getting weird for the past few years, particularly in the U.S. Congress. Our representatives have become fond of calling congressional bills the opposite of what they actually are. They passed the “Clean Air Act,” for instance, knowing full well that it was going to foul up our air even more.

And have you also noticed that, in the corporate world, nobody has been “fired” for years? People are now excessed, terminated, downsized, etc. Our society probably has more words for “fired” than the Eskimos have for snow.

But the Dept. of Agriculture has taken this word game to a whole new level.

And I have no doubt that other government agencies, as well as our large corporations, will soon follow suit. Before you know it, we’ll be reading headlines such as:

POVERTY ELIMINATED IN AMERICA! POOR PEOPLE DISAPPEAR! GOV’T ALSO NOTES HUGE EXPANSION OF PEOPLE WITH “LOW INCOME INCLINATIONS”.

FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES END OF ARTHRITIS PAIN. MILLIONS OF PATIENTS NOW SUFFER FROM THE ANNOYANCE OF “PERIODIC MOVEMENT DISTRESS”.

MAJOR DROP IN BANKRUPTCIES COINCIDES WITH HUGE RISE IN “SERIOUSLY CREDIT BEREFT” HOUSEHOLDS.

YANKEES NOT IN BATTING SLUMP, STEINBRENNER SAYS, MERELY “CURVE BALL HARASSED”.

“SNOWMOBILE NOISE NEUTRALIZATION” ACT OF 2007 TAKES EFFECT IN JANUARY. TRANSMISSION NOISE CUT IN HALF, ENGINE NOISE DOUBLES.

HOMELESS DISAPPEAR FROM CITY. NUMBER OF “APARTMENT DISENFRANCHISED CITIZENS” GROWS.

And so it goes – remember Humpty Dumpty talking to Alice in Through the Looking Glass? “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.”

The bureaucracy would certainly agree.



©2006 Peter Tannen