Feed Americans Now

JULY 2014

Poverty in the U.S. continues to plague our country. In the meantime, the federal government devises new ways to transfer our tax dollars overseas. Why are we more intent on sending cash to other countries while so many of our citizens live in squalor and go to bed hungry?

In the past, the beneficiaries of American altruism appreciated our generosity. The U.S. reaped the rewards of its goodwill in many ways and created great alliances. Today, the global community of nations periodically comes to the United Nations in New York City and bashes America. In spite of this disrespectful behavior, the U.S. continues to pay 22% of the U.N. regular budget and 27% of the peacekeeping budget. In 2011, we donated about $2.7 billion to the U.N. Why are we so generous to this organization, when so many of our citizens are starving? In fact, why do we continue to be host to a hostile U.N.? The cost of doing so is immense.

Every day 17 million American children go to bed hungry and 50 million are in hunger risk. 17.9 million American households are food insecure. One out of five children are at risk of hunger; one third of African American and Latino children are at risk. Yet, 40% of the food served to Americans is discarded each day. This equates to about $165 billion, which could feed 25 million people annually. This is a colossal waste that also needs to be addressed.

14.7% of Americans are food insecure. The greatest problems across the U.S. are Mississippi (20.9%, Arkansas (19.7%), Texas (18.4%), Alabama (17.9%) and North Carolina (17.0%). While politicians continue to endorse increased global assistance for indefensible reasons, their constituencies are hungry.

The following countries lead assistance to foreign countries:

U.S. $30.46 billion
U.K. 13.66 billion
Ger. 13.11 billion
Fra. 12.00 billion
Jap. 10.49 billion

Twenty-one government agencies funded economic assistance activities in 2012, including the State Department, USAID, the Treasury, USDA and HHS. I wonder what the administrative costs of these operations total each year. In any case, 2012 donations totaled $48.4 billion for economic ($31.2 billion) and military ($17.2 billion) purposes and were delivered to 182 countries.

The primary recipients were Afghanistan $12.9 billion ($3.5 billion economic), Israel $3.1 billion (all military), Iraq $1.9 billion (only $.5 billion economic), Egypt $1.4 billion (all military), and Pakistan $1.2 billion (all military). Of course, expenditures for the Department of Defense are not included in these numbers. The DoD represents a huge source of funds that can be redeployed.

I believe the point is clear. The U.S. is paying billions annually to fictitious allies. Is Iraq an ally? Is Egypt and ally? Is Afghanistan and ally? U.S. altruism is a farce. We no longer gain significant benefits from a national security perspective, or any other perspective, for these outlays. Expenditures should be radically decreased and redeployed to feeding Americans.

The current welfare system, in my opinion, is a disaster. It regenerates itself and discourages its prisoners from becoming self-sufficient. Many would quibble with this characterization, but few (liberal or conservative) would be averse to feeding hungry citizens. There is common ground. And, cutting back the expenditures to the ungrateful nations delineated previously could easily offset the cost of a national feeding initiative.

A feeding initiative could create new jobs as hungry people feed other hungry people for a living wage. Current food banks and other eleemosynary organizations are plentiful and could be the basis of the new effort.

As an American, I am appalled that somehow our government sends assistance overseas while our neighbors are hungry. Altruism beyond our borders should happen only after every man, woman and child in America goes to bed with a full stomach.


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