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Congress: Food Aid Budget Cuts a Disaster

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Congress is fiercely debating budget cuts to save money. That is fine. Most people agree reductions in government spending should be made.

But did common sense also have to take a cut? Look at the massive reductions to food aid being proposed in the budget. We have humanitarian disasters underway around the globe and others looming. Overall there are nearly one billion people who suffer from hunger in countries like Afghanistan, Yemen, Sudan, and Kenya.

First, let’s make clear that even if you cut all food aid, it would not even make a dent in the federal deficit. Global hunger fighting programs make up less than one tenth of one percent of the entire U.S. budget.

In a given year, we might spend a few billion on overseas food aid. Contrast that to the cost of our nuclear weapons, another arm of our foreign policy, which is at least $52 billion a year — a stunning figure when you consider we are in a post-Cold War world.

So there is just simply not much for Congress to save by going after international food programs.

What these cuts will do is put millions of lives at risk across the globe. They will diminish our foreign policy and national security. Hunger breeds political instability and chaos around the globe. In the countries where there have been uprisings, the people share a common bond: hunger and poverty. If we do not have a food-for-peace policy, then we just plain do not have an effective foreign policy.

With these proposed food aid cuts, we can expect more lives to be lost, and increased instability around the globe. Who knows what kinds of chaos might unfold? More hunger will lead to increasing levels of disease and hinder the education of generations of youth.

Herbert Hoover called hunger a force more powerful than armies. When hunger is on the march, it can claim anything in its path. We need to realize the impact of reducing our leadership role in fighting hunger.

The current Congress is obsessed with budget cuts and that is good to a point. But cutting food aid will also sentence future generations to pick up and pay for the pieces of a disastrous foreign policy now tragically being forged by our representatives.

See what is being done to protest the budget cuts. Read the World Food Program USA story Why I’m Not Eating for the World’s Hungry People.

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About William Lambers

William Lambers is the author of several books including Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World. This book features over 50 interviews with officials from the UN World Food Programme and other charities discussing school feeding programs that fight child hunger. He is also the author of Nuclear Weapons, The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Open Skies for Peace, The Spirit of the Marshall Plan: Taking Action Against World Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, From War to Peace and the Battle of Britain. He is also a writer for the History News Service. His articles have been published by newspapers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Buffalo News, San Diego Union Tribune, the Providence Journal, Free Lance-Star (VA), the Bakersfield Californian, the Washington Post, Miami Herald (FL), Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriot Ledger (MA), Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail (WV), the Cincinnati Post, Salt Lake Tribune (UT), North Adams Transcript (MA), Wichita Eagle (KS), Monterey Herald (CA), Athens Banner-Herald (GA) and the Duluth News Journal. His articles also appear on History News Network (HNN) and Think Africa Press. Mr. Lambers is a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio with degrees in Liberal Arts (BA) and Organizational Leadership (MS). He is also a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.