four infants in diapers
Paul Ryan hates white babies. He hates babies in all other colors too, but since the majority of babies, infants and toddlers who get fed via the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) are statistically listed as “white” by our government, my assertion is justifiable—when talking about babies who didn't get born from elite wombs.

If I was discussing ethnicity it probably should be “Paul Ryan hates Latino babies,” since a majority of Latinos in the data self-report or are listed as "white."

Pie chart showing racial distribution of WIC particpants
No matter.  

Ryan and his conservative contingent of cads want babies to go hungry, while he promotes more tax pork for the wealthy. His "Path to Prosperity" plan should more aptly be named "The Ryan Path to Poverty."

They want millions of babies, infants and pregnant moms to go hungry.

During Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, the number of women, infants, and children receiving WIC benefits each month reached approximately 9.17 million. For the first 8 months of FY 2011, States reported average monthly participation just below 9 million participants per month. In 1974, the first year WIC was permanently authorized, 88,000 people participated. By 1980, participation was at 1.9 million; by 1985, 3.1 million; by 1990, 4.5 million; and by 2000, 7.2 million. Average monthly participation for FY 2008 was approximately 8.7 million.

Children have always been the largest category of WIC participants. Of the 9.17 million people who received WIC benefits each month in FY 2010, approximately 4.86 million were children, 2.17 million were infants, and 2.14 million were women.

Ryan has three children—Elizabeth Anne, Charles Wilson and Samuel Lowery.
Romney has five—Taggart, Matthew, Joshua, Benjamin and Craig.

They had the privilege of never knowing hunger as infants. Those born without that privilege are scapegoated and targeted. You would think that being a parent would give them some empathy for other parents, and children, but it is clear that "empathy" is not a word, or ideal in the Republican lexicon. Unless it applies to eggs and fetuses.  

Right now the media is awash in stories about rape and Republican insanity forcing women to give birth—all under their banner of touting “life.” This of course is rank hypocrisy writ large. You cannot be "pro-life" if you don't give a damn about the lives of the living.

I remember George Carlin's words on this:

Boy, these conservatives are really something, aren't they? They're all in favor of the unborn. They will do anything for the unborn. But once you're born, you're on your own. Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don't want to know about you. They don't want to hear from you. No nothing. No neonatal care, no day care, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you're preborn, you're fine; if you're preschool, you're fucked.
I miss George Carlin.

The modern day Republican agenda is about denying food—food for the poor, food for the under-employed, food for the unemployed, food for those around the world facing drought, floods and famine.

There are films, books and organizations addressing these issues, but unless we have a Congress willing to confront them, instead of taking food away from those who need it most, nothing will change.

Without food, we die.

Without adequate nutrition, we get sick.  

Infants are particularly vulnerable. They can’t go out and scrounge for food. Paul Ryan is the architect of a plan to introduce massive cuts to food assistance programs—including the one that feeds babies.

There is a maxim about wisdom coming “out of the mouths of babes.” Perhaps we should amend it to "Republicans want to snatch food out of babes' mouths."

We already know that Ryan has been described as a zombie-eyed granny-starver, and his Medicare plan has been likened to pushing Granny off a cliff.

Granny can still vote (unless she is a person of color with no birth certificate in states repressing voter registration).

Infants can’t. So the baby lobby depends on us all, and for those of us with no children, often their needs get overlooked in the political circus.

I’m one of those people with no kids. But I was a kid—60 years ago. When times were rough, growing up, my mom often apportioned the larger share of limited food in the house to me and my kid brother. There was no WIC or SNAP program then.

I got an education about child hunger in America (rather than just globally—my mom would say, "Eat all your vegetables ... there are children starving in Europe, Africa, Latin America" etc.) when in the late 60s I worked daily feeding kids in the Black Panther and Young Lords free breakfast for children program.

I learned that hungry kids didn’t do well in school. Feeding empty bellies fed the brain.
But we didn’t cover infants, unless our free food packages contained formula—which was rare.

(Continue reading below the fold.)

pregnant woman holding fruit
These days, when I go food shopping at my local supermarket, I stand in the checkout line and observe. My working-class neighborhood in upstate New York is mostly white. The young women in line ahead of me have toddlers in the shopping cart seat. Some are pregnant, or have an infant in a backpack. They all hand the checker a WIC EBT card/or voucher.

I see the food items they are allowed to get. It's good to see whole wheat items, fresh fruits and veggies being purchased.  

But at a time when the need for WIC is expanding, Republican legislators demand cuts to food programs.

How deep those cuts will be is not yet clear, since the budget for WIC and SNAP are part of the Farm bill, and we are nearing the Sept. 30 deadline for its re-authorization, which may have to be extended.

As progressives, we should be fighting to not only extend existing benefits, but also expanding the scope of the program.

Have you ever had, or raised, a baby? Not only do they and nursing mom's need healthy food, but few people are aware that WIC does not cover the purchase of disposable diapers.  

Why disposable diapers instead of reusable cloth ones?  

While cloth diapers may save money in the long term, they require an initial investment of money and time that many low-income families can’t afford. To use cloth diapers a family must either hire a diaper service at a monthly charge or have reliable access to laundry facilities. Also, most laundromats prohibit the washing of cloth diapers in their machines for sanitary reasons.The vast majority of daycare centers only accept disposable diapers and do not accept cloth diapers. Not having diapers can lead to a day of missed work for a parent because their child was turned away from a daycare provider.

The Diaper Difference advocates for change. Huggies currently has an "Every Little Bottom" campaign.

As progressives we have a lot of important issues on the table-climate change, war, jobs, housing, racism, the economy, gender and sexuality.  

Sometimes we forget about the needs of our most vulnerable citizens—infants and children.

Let's make sure they have food on the table.  

Last year, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, a mom and grandmom, said it all for me. It's well worth revisiting her impassioned words from the floor.

“Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it’s 6:00 across America, or at least in the Eastern time zone. Families across America are getting ready to sit down for dinner. At their kitchen table, many homes in our country, parents, moms are saying to their children, ‘Eat your vegetables, eat your dinner.’  

“But in some homes in America, there isn’t adequate food on the table. There isn’t adequate nutrition for our children. It’s hard to imagine that, that one in five kids in America may go to sleep hungry tonight, with pains in their stomachs because they just didn’t have enough food to eat.  

“In its wisdom, our United States of America established the WIC program a while back for women, infants and children to make sure our nation was strong, was to make sure that we fed our children. Our country made the decision that feeding our children was a priority. It sounds so obvious. Families make decision about their budgets, that they are going to feed their children. They wouldn’t think of saving money by not feeding their children, but for some low-income areas and for others, now this is into the middle class. It’s very hard to make ends meet.  

“And so you wonder, these people who are sitting down to dinner, how the Congress of the United States should decide that in trying to reduce the deficit—which we are all committed to do, that’s important to our children as well—why we would decide to balance that budget on the little tiny backs of our children—our children, many of whom don’t have enough to eat.  

The future of our nation is on the table in the next election.

I'm voting to put food on that table.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Aug 26, 2012 at 10:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by I Vote for Democrats, Barriers and Bridges, and The Federation.

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