Monday, April 21, 2008

Not Funny One Liner

It amazes me just how close you have to read everything, no matter how busy you get. Sure, this applies to food labels most of all, but it also applies to things like news articles. Just one tiny sentence may sneak in there, and that one line makes all the difference.

Like this article from Reuters on $200 million in U.S. food aid to starving nations. Good thing, definitely. And a bit of a surprise, the Bush administration plans to buy the food from nations nearest the need so that the aid can be maximized for quantity of food over transport costs. Sort of "buying local" on the global scale, right? Then the tiny one-liner:

"U.S. agricultural interests have resisted the idea."

So, we're talking about $200 million for starving people here. Let's put this grievance in perspective. ConAgra made $12 billion (with a b) in net sales last year, and record profits with the high prices of commodities at the moment. Much of the other "agribusiness" companies are in the same "yacht" currently. If the entire $200 million went to ConAgra, that would be less than two percent of net sales for last year. The same $200 million spread among these various companies is basically table scraps from a feast. Bread crumbs.

Table scraps that would save lives. Now, that's just appalling that they would resist a plan that would enable more food for people who need it most.

However, in a surprising ethical turn, W. resisted and is going ahead with the more localized plan. Stunning, but yet, miracles can happen.

7 comments:

katiez said...

That sounds almost too mych like a miracle.... is it a Lame Duck move ya think?

jen said...

i hate corporate greed.

tut-tut said...

My head is in my hands, these days . . .

Rachel said...

It was totally atypical, but I was so grateful nonetheless. This will make such a difference to African farmers. We can be grateful for small acts of gracefullness, even from Dubya.

Big Agra? Come the revolution, they're getting theirs. It's coming.

MamaBird said...

huh, curious. good job dubya? would love to hear the backstory on that one...

Janet said...

Believe me, I'm no Bushie, but for some reason I can't figure out, his USDA's farm bill proposals were much more progressive than anything Congress wanted, including caps on direct payments. Go figure.

Expatriate Chef said...

The driver is his motivation to cut any and all domestic spending (not, however, war spending). So, from this same goal comes both good (the farm bill subsidy reform) and evil (killing S-CHIP coverage expansion).

Can't explain the upturn on food purchase, maybe there just isn't an eighth layer of hell to sink to?