My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy is hailed by Politico as one of the top 50 thinkers, doers, and visionaries who are transforming American politics. Many, many well-deserved congratulations, Vero!
Speaking of Trump, George Will appropriately calls him a malleable mess. (Politicians routinely act as if they’re in a contest to see who can come across as the economically most stupid. Trump has a comparative advantage at playing this game.)
“Food insecurity” is a statistic designed to mislead. USDA defines food insecurity as being “uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet the needs of all their members because they had insufficient money or other resources for food.”
USDA noted: “For most food-insecure households, the inadequacies were in the form of reduced quality and variety rather than insufficient quantity.”
The definition of “food insecure” includes anyone who frets about not being able to purchase food at any point. If someone states that they feared running out of food for a single day (but didn’t run out), that is an indicator of being “food insecure” for the entire year — regardless of whether they ever missed a single meal. If someone wants organic kale but can afford only conventional kale, that is another “food insecure” indicator.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine have criticized USDA for how these statistics are contorted from a measure of household “security” into a misleading estimate that millions of individuals go hungry.