Starving Kids in America

From 1979 to 2007 the income of the top 1% soared 275%. Meanwhile, income of the bottom 20% went up 0.5% per year.

15 thoughts on “Starving Kids in America

  1. Ted, you should do a cartoon about the 20 NY cops supposedly injured by OWC protesters. A long line of them in hospital beds…A doctor with clipboard reporting ten with hemorrhoids, five overdosed on steroids, and the last five psychiatric cases. It might be fun.

  2. People over here in Europe don’t even believe there are poor people in the USA – one of my students, when confronted with the facts, simply said it would be much better to be poor in the USA than to be poor here. None so stupid as those who refuse to listen, huh? – a lot of them in the USA too!

  3. Aww how cute, people are pretending to care about the homeless in America. of course its mostly college students that play beat the bum and other lovely games.

  4. People have been saying save the starving in Africa for years, and that is nice I guess, but I always wonder about the starving and homeless here, people pretend they don’t exist which is kind of weird in itself, or better yet, they are all mentally handicapped, well if its true and the homeless and starving are handicapped or have some mental illness, what does that say about our society that we let people who can’t take care of themselves wonder the streets until they die of some horrible disease or starvation, most likely exposure to the elements though.

  5. I assume the numbers in the cartoon are corrected for inflation.

    Further I imagine the correction probably only accounts for officially reported inflation, which since the Reagan era has become more and more an Orwellian fiction. According to, from 1979 to 2007 real consumer prices increased by a factor of about 2.6 above and beyond the change in the official CPI. This amounts to just about exactly three and a half percent per year.

    So really what we’re talking about (if “soaring by 275%” means multiplying by 3.75) is rich folks’ real income actually increased by, er, about 44% over three decades (hardly shabby) and poor people’s buying power actually SHRANK by 3% every year.

  6. Mr. Rall, I love your stuff. This one doesn’t seem as original as most of your work though. It is very similar to a 70’s Doonesbury strip where then Ambassador Duke is attending a dinner function and a Chinese diplomat is arguing with his finicky child exclaiming that “There are starving children in West Virginia that would give anything for some nice jellied ducks web”.

    • @Hoople:


      When the idea for this comic occurred to me, it felt so simple, obvious and classic that I Googled the phrase “starving kids in China” and variants to find out if another cartoonist had done it before. I also asked several cartoonists if they knew if it was fresh or not.

      Originality is job one for me. I worry about using something that someone else has done, obviously. I also worry about coming up with an idea that is so obvious that my colleagues will do it too. In the profession, this is called a Yahtzee (sp?).

      I haven’t read Doonesbury in decades (it doesn’t run in my paper) but that old gag must have been rattling around my brain all these years since then. What’s bizarre is that my syndicate also distributes Doonesbury yet they didn’t catch this either.

      Totally mortifying.

  7. Ted, you took me right back to the 40’s when that trope about starving children in China was used to encourage brats like me to eat up. Talk about Memory Lane !…


  8. @Ted Rall Thanks for the reply. It wasn’t my intent to try and embarrass you. I hadn’t thought of that old strip in years and seeing yours jogged my memory. I enjoyed comparing the two strips in my mind because the political and economic context in which each was written is so different. The world has changed and so have I. I enjoyed Doonesbury in the 70’s because of its political commentary and it made me laugh. I read yours now because of its political commentary and the fact it doesn’t make me laugh.

    • @Hoople,
      It’s never easy to admit when you’ve fucked up, even when it’s unintentional. But I can’t very well expect integrity from politicians unless I express it myself. Great lines at the end of your comment, BTW.

  9. Is it fair to compare the top 1% as saying their income went up 275% over thirty years and say the bottom 20% went up .5% a year?

    Why not just say the bottom 20% went up 15% during the same time?

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