Tuesday, January 20, 2015
AMERICAN “HUNGER GAMES”
When I watched the first "Hunger Games" movie, it was with an overwhelming sadness. For all I could think was, "this is exactly where America is headed!" So it was interesting to see this analysis in US News and World Report recently.
To date, the “Hunger Games” movies have grossed over $400 million in the US alone. Scene after scene of the fictional country the movie is set in reveals a poverty-ravaged nation filled with destitute children and families. That country, Panem, is based on a future version of America. Although "Hunger Games" is a heavily dramatized fiction, the film underscores several things that are also true of the state of poverty in America:
· Working parents don’t make enough to feed their kids. 62% ff families with children receiving SNAP benefits were employed, but only 18% of all recipients had incomes above the poverty line.
· Political rhetoric in both Panem and the US blames the poor. Panem’s dictator, President Coriolanus Snow, emphasizes that the poor districts have brought all of the war and destruction upon themselves. In America, unsubstantiated claims still remain that the values and behaviors of poor people are responsible for their situation. But in reality poor people do not spend their welfare money on drugs and alcohol, and SNAP fraud, or exchanging food stamps for money, is just 1%.
· Children have no voice, yet suffer the most. In the "Hunger Games", children are chosen randomly from each district to fight to the death. As in Panem, US children our poorest citizens. While the adult poverty rate is 13%, the child poverty rate is 22%. Yet policies aimed at children, such as food stamps and Medicaid, often come under fire because of the idea that they are handouts to parents that disincentivize work.
Source: US News & World Report, 12/3/14, Hunger Games