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September 23, 2005

Idiocy of US Overseas Food Aid

It's a sad day when a Bush proposal is better than the status quo, but the present system of US food aid to poor countries is pathetic:

under the food aid program run by the United States Agency for International Development, with a budget of more than $1 billion, all food must be bought in United States markets and most must be shipped on United States-flagged vessels. Shipping costs consume 40 percent to 50 percent of the food aid budget, and delivering the food typically takes four months.
The Bush administration was proposing that 25% of that budget be used for buying food abroad closer to the countries in need, but the Senate rejected the proposal.

What the US spends on real foreign aid -- as opposed to payoffs of military allies like Egypt and Israel -- is so small that wasting it on this kind of self-interested crap is just depressing.

Posted by Nathan at September 23, 2005 01:19 AM