Y’all don’t worry about me and my finances; my employer is a contractor, not a government agency, and we are operating through the shutdown until further notice. If the pile o’ crap on my desk is any indication, no one is putting me on unpaid leave any time soon.
Even so, it’s not only Fed employees who are economically affected by the shutdown; among the non-essential functions on hiatus until Congress gets over its tantrum is nutritional assistance, including WIC, which provides targeted assistance for pregnant and nursing mothers and children under 5.
Got that? Making sure small children and their gestating/lactating mothers have food on the table is considered NON-ESSENTIAL. Because of the shutdown, tens thousands of people either have lost or are likely to lose their food benefits very soon.
According to Bill Kristol, however, that’s not really a big deal:
“It’s not going to be the end of the world, honestly, even if you’re on nutrition assistance from the federal government,” Kristol added. “I believe that no one is going to starve in Arkansas because of the shutdown.”
This isn’t about what anyone believes. States are running out of funding for nutritional assistance because of the government shutdown, and many low-income families are losing their benefits as a result. That the funding for nutritional assistance will come back once the government gets running again does nothing for small children and pregnant women whose pantries are emptying out right now. Try telling a hungry kid not to worry, it shouldn’t take more than a couple weeks before his Mommy can visit the supermarket again. Go ahead, try it.
However, Mr. Kristol is effectively insulated from the experiences of low-income people, so he doesn’t have to see anyone going hungry. And if he doesn’t have to deal with it, then it’s not really an issue, right? Right? Picture some nice charities coming up with food for everyone’s tables, and call it a day. Reality is what we decide it is.