Swift suggests that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies. This satirical hyperbole mocks heartless attitudes towards the poor, as well as British policy toward the Irish in general.
Although child-care costs are soaring since 2009, tuition and fees at 4-year public schools are up 71% in the last decade, and real median household income has generally been falling since 1999, that sort of satirical "modest proposal" hyperbole could never happen in America!
As seen at Whole Foods:
Facebook: "Boneless Skinless Children's Thighs"
From the comments:
A Modest Proposal?
D'oh! I stand corrected. The rich gentlemen and ladies? Let them eat