As distressed as our economy is, the United States continues to spend about $1.4 billion per year on sending food aid to other countries.
President Obama is proposing a major change to the foreign food aid program that could greatly impact Florida, which ranks seventh in the nation in food exports.
As of now, food is purchased from American farms and then shipped to the recipients of our aid. Shipping costs take up a large portion of the money designated for the program.
The international food aid program feeds approximately 17 million people a year worldwide. I'm not debating whether it's good to help people in need, but this should not mean less food at home.
Obama's proposal suggests the $1.4 billion should be used to buy food in the countries we are shipping to instead of the current policy of buying food from American farmers. This would decrease shipping costs, but the U.S. economy is still in a funk.
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Who the hell do we think we are to give money away? Foreign aid should be completely eliminated until we get our economy back on track. We are in no condition to play the big, benign benefactor right now. Or at least we should continue the program as is. Not because it's the smartest thing to do, but because we'll get some of that money back into our pockets. Our farms, farmworkers, and shipping companies make some dough and we can keep pretending that we're still big enough and bad enough to be handing out money instead of broke as hell and sucking on Asian teats.
The current policy is inefficient in every possible way, but it's preferable to just handing over $1.4 billion to people who don't even live here. The real solution here, one that I am surprised neither the Obama administration nor Congress have considered despite all the back and forth on budget cuts, is to completely eliminate foreign aid until we have a budget surplus. Only when our refrigerator is stocked, can we think of giving away some of our food.
Follow Ily on Twitter @realily.