Back by popular demand, I’m here to wonksplain how our stupid Congresspeople continue to legislate with the combined IQ of a Michelle Malkin and Glenn Beck love child. Today’s topic: International Food Aid! Or, why your tax monies is going to help poor Ethernopians in the most inefficient way possible. Put on your thinking caps and grab a bottle of whiskey, cause there be learnin str8 ahead.
Contrary to maps provided by the GOP, the world consists of more than the USA (#1, bitchez), Israel, and BENGHAZI!!!1! And in some of those “countries,” there are many poors, like we have here in our country. And just like here, our gubmint does about the bare minimum to try to keep people alive, with family values conservatives trying their best to rip the food out of poor people’s hands.
But Wonksplainer, how, exactly, do we try to help the poors around the world?
Tax money (not very much –- only about a penny per few dollars of government spending) goes to buy good ol’ American foodstuff from farmers in square states. Then, the food is shipped on American-flagged ships (who knew ships still had flags?!?) across the big ocean to a port somewhere in the country of Africa. Then, the food is offloaded and sent over land to Uzbekki-bekki-bekki-stan or wherever. The process usually takes about ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-SEVEN FUCKING DAYS. Because when there is a famine, what’s the hurry? Shut up, starving kids who probably have AIDS. Be patient, k?
Well, years ago, noted war-mongerer, WMD-believer, and deficit-lover George W. Bush (you remember him, right?) decided that there could be a better way to do this. If there is a famine in Ethiopia, why not use U.S. monies to buy food from, say, Kenya? Or maybe even another part of Ethiopia where they have enough food? Then, we can spend less monies on transport and quickly help more people, you know, not die. This is called “local & regional procurement,” for those of you going to cocktail parties later. It would also help the struggling economies and farmers in poor countries. So GWB took this idea to Congress, where he was promptly laughed at and told to go eat a dick. Congress eventually relented and set up a small pilot program, which is basically Congress’s way of telling you to fuck off, here some money for your troubles, don’t come back.
And now, Bamz has come to Congress and said that he agrees with that Bush guy on more than the drone-killings, and that maybe this “LRP” thingy could be a good idea. There was even a report that found food purchased locally takes only 30-40 days to get to hungry people, which by liberal voo-doo math skillz is 100 days of less mind-numbing hunger by poor kids. So how about it, Congress? Wanna put this in the new Farm Bill?
GOP Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Monsanto), make me happy then sad:
“If we go to a system of buying the food overseas where it is most convenient and shipping it the closest way, from an accountant perspective I understand the logic.”
Whoa – he gets the logic! Right there, the fact that a GOP member of the House of Representatives gets the logic of something should be reason for celebrations!! Champagne (or Miller High Life) for everyone! So this is convenient, logical, and cost-saving! Cost-saving to the tune of 25% cheaper!! Sounds like we have a winner winner chicken dinner for the poors! But wait… time for the sad:
“A big part of the foreign food aid has been — down through the decades — the ability to say to people out in the countryside. ‘We’re using your product to meet these needs around the world. Yes, we’re paying for it with your dollars but we’re using your product’… I have to craft a coalition to keep the money in the account to make sure the food aid is there and no matter how efficient the delivery is, if we stop appropriating the money for the food, people are going to go hungry.”
So you poors STFU because Chairman Lucas just threatened to straight up take your monies and go home. Don’t you get it? He has to “craft” a “coalition,” and if that coalition of farmers and shippers wants to be inefficient and make you wait for months, then so be it. Just keep it down and stay alive so you can be grateful (and not dead!!) when we saunter over there with our charity. I don’t see you writing any campaign checks to have your voice heard.
So there you have it. Despite the fact that we could buy more food, quicker and more efficiently, it is hard work to change inefficient systems. So all you poors who are going to die in the next famine, please don’t be mad at Chairman Lucas. Changing things is just too hard, because coalitions. Take it up with Jesus – you’ll be seeing him soon enough, anyway.
DDM is a guest blogger who lives in the DC area and has to deal with Congress more than he would sometimes like. He has worked on issues like Food Aid, so he has earned the right to make jokes about starving kids dying of AIDS, and wonksplain on Congressional process. He would like government to work harder to make sure no kids die of AIDS or starvation, because he is a good liberal.