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.