While Muslim protesters in Yemen stormed our embassy and wished us death, American taxpayers helped fund food security that fed 46 million people in 48 countries last year.¹ While a scroungy troublemaker decried U.S. tyranny for fear that his nuclear ambitions might be stunted, millions of our own people went hungry in the Obama economy, but we still managed to budget for humanitarian assistance and U.S. food aid. Are we foolish to hope that our record of feeding the hungry, including aid to Muslim countries like Yemen and Somalia, speaks for itself while the White House goes out of its way to atone on our behalf for America’s sins?
U.S. food aid gets shipped overseas, too.
We have been hearing a lot less about the good things we send overseas and too much about the bad. While regulation forces our businesses to seek profit elsewhere, USAID continued to help make U.S. food aid the largest contributor to global food security, accounting for one-half of international food assistance.²
The president spent tens of thousands of dollars to prove to the world that America regrets the video that gave Muslims another excuse to riot in the streets. He mentioned U.S. food aid in his speech to the United Nations, but he should have forced the point and stressed the $73 million in humanitarian assistance or the $11 million in food vouchers we provided to the people of Yemen³ so they could muster the energy for their cries of “Death to America.” Mr. Obama mentioned Somalia. He could have added that the population of that African nation is nearly 100% Muslim and that we have been providing Somalia with U.S. food aid on an annual basis since 2006.4
Food insecurity strikes home.
In 2011, 6.8 million Americans were classified as having very low food security. 3.9 million households had food insecure children5 and USDA figures show that 13 million American kids don’t get enough food.6 We battle over the upsurge in spending for the food stamp program and engage in legislative stalemates over whether to extend unemployment benefits when joblessness is at historic highs. Meanwhile, the United States shelled out $1.7 billion for U.S. food aid in 2011.7
Let ‘em Starve?
Is American humanitarian assistance based on the delusion that U.S. food aid is a precursor to democratic ideals, or is it a cynical calculation based on dreams of nation-building? Perhaps we believe that people in developing countries are in such need that we can balance what we do for our people with the helping hand that we lend to theirs. Or perhaps U.S. food aid is part of what this country is all about, even when those we help wish us gone and use every imaginable excuse to show their hatred for everything we stand for.
Four more years of Obama and we may all be a little hungry. What do you think will happen when America goes begging?