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Clinton, Trump and child hunger

Donald Trump’s campaign officially promised the Republican Party on Friday a new and improved candidate. His obnoxious, racist personality was, they said, …

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Donald Trump’s campaign officially promised the Republican Party on Friday a new and improved candidate. His obnoxious, racist personality was, they said, “only an act.” From now on, he will, magically it seems, appeal to minorities, women and Mexican voters in a general election.

Not that anybody believes he will do it, but the billionaire demagogue could begin his hopeless effort to sell a palatable image of himself by rejecting a child nutrition reauthorization bill that callously attempts against the health of millions of kids.

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), who chairs the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, introduced the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016.

As described by Hunger Free America, the Republican majority’s bill would make it more difficult for hungry children to obtain school meals. It would also increase bureaucracy and paperwork for local school districts, roll back nutritional improvement in school meals, and provide inadequate funding for summer meals and child care feeding programs.

“It’s as though Dopey and the Grinch teamed up to create the dumbest and most heartless policy imaginable,” said Joel Berg, Hunger Free America’s CEO.

How heartless this policy is becomes clear once you know that there are 15 million children facing hunger today in the U.S. Hunger, always tragic, is never worse than when it affects children. And if it happens in the world’s richest country, then the tragedy becomes a crime.

As the five remaining presidential hopefuls gear up for the primary vote in Pennsylvania, Berg is asking all of them to register their opposition to this criminal bill.

 “All presidential candidates, from both parties, should immediately denounce this inane, callous, and counterproductive bill. The futures of tens of millions of American kids are at stake,” he said. Will at least the two front runners do it?

As I said before no one expects Trump –“new” or old--to condemn Rokita’s bill, of course.

On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton has mostly avoided discussing poverty –and its sequel, hunger--during her current campaign. But no one should forget her role in helping her husband,  then President Bill Clinton, to rip out the safety net from under the most vulnerable members of society.

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She encouraged him to sign, and lobbied for, the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, that pushed an unprecedented number of black and Latino children into abject poverty.

“I agreed that he should sign it and worked hard to round up votes for its passage,” she proudly remembers in Living History, her 2003 memoir.

Her reasons for doing so are indefensible: The plan to “end welfare as we know it,” really was a plot to entice whites back to the Democratic Party by going along with the stereotypes about lazy and “dependent” black and Latina mothers on welfare.

As a presidential candidate Clinton must denounce the Rokita’s bill. But, will she?

“All candidates of all parties should re-commit to bi-partisan efforts to cut child hunger and give all our kids happier, healthier, lives,” Berg said.

Absolutely. But, just in case, don’t hold your breath.

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