I have been thinking about "Everything is Awesome", the infectious lie of a song from The Lego Movie. Everything is not awesome...far from it.
The Right-wing's war on the poor and the "useless eaters" through cuts in food assistance programs is not isolated to the United States. American exceptionalism, and the myopia it produces, is a problem across the ideological spectrum. Of course, appeals to nationalism and American exceptionalism do different types of political work for Democrats and Republicans. But, an unwillingness to locate American domestic politics within a global framework is a failing common to both sides.
Food stamps and other anti-poverty programs have faced draconian cuts under the guise of "balancing the budget", "sequestration", and the other types of distracting language which exist only to mask a basic fact: there is a war on the poor in the United States. The Rich have won.
Republicans want to kill more poor and working class people in order to enrich the coffers of the 1 percent and the corporatists by creating political and economic insecurity among those in the (former) middle and working classes who are struggling to maintain a basic and humane standard of living.
Democrats march in the same direction as Republicans in their obsessive need to cut and prune the social safety net. Their defense? We are protecting the interests of the American people by "only" cutting "some" monies as compared to the gross fiscal amputations offered up by the Ayn Rand Tea Party GOP.
To quote the master wordsmith and philosopher Redd Foxx, the Republicans want to kill you with lightning, all at once. The Democrats just want to shock you a little bit at a time. The result is the same either way.
Neoliberalism and Austerity are not new policies. Nor, were they applied in the United States first. The United Kingdom, and countries such as Argentina, were the test cases for reorganizing social and political life not around an expansive view of citizenship, biopolitics, and the state's obligation to the Common Good, but instead by applying market principles to every area of society under the the mantra-umbrella "profits over people".
People are starving in the United States. Food insecurity is killing people both directly and indirectly (stress; worsening health; long-term illness and disease). Austerity and neoliberal policies and policy makers are doing the same thing in the United Kingdom--and have been for decades.
The working, middle classes, and the poor are under attack in a global conflict. Unfortunately, a myopic national politics and media have focused almost exclusively on American elites and policy makers as the sole cause, when in fact they are part of a global reorganization of resources. American exceptionalism is a poisoned chalice that too many drink from while their bellies are increasingly empty.
From the British Medical Journal:
Food poverty in the UK “has all the signs of a public health emergency,” warn experts