Published: April 3, 2009. In this final installment, Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH), offers his solutions for ending hunger in America. The good news Berg argues, we can accomplish this feat, but we need the federal government to streamline the many separate food nutrition assistance programs into a single program, and increase its access, and benefits to the poor.
Many people today are particularly outraged that a certain large financial insurance giant, requiring bailout by the government to the tune of hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, recently paid some of their employees huge scheduled compensation bonuses, some amounting to millions of dollars each.
While not addressing this particular issue directly, in the myth of the self-made man, Berg goes to the true heart of the matter. The bonuses are a symptom of a much deeper societal problem: a philosophy that justifies huge compensation benefits to a few percentage of people at the top, but not a living wage to the many workers near the bottom. In a 2005 article, Wages and their impact on hunger and poverty, Berg suggests that since we pay CEO’s salaries so many times more than the average worker, this directly prevents companies from offering all their employees a living wage. He provides the following graphic example: “the average worker took home $517 in their weekly paycheck in 2003; the average large company CEO took home $155,769 in their weekly pay.”
Paying people living wages for their work, and consolidating and expanding upon the Federal Food Assistance programs, according to Berg, would end hunger in America. Berg suggests that citizens who care enough about this issue, to donate money to food organizations that help the poor, even better, to write your local State and Federal government representatives, and tell them you want a comprehensive program to end hunger in America.
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