GWU Issues Management

A blog established for the George Washington University School of Political Management's Issues Management course.

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Location: Washington, D.C., United States

A middle aged white guy, who likes to think, talk and, too infrequently, write about politics, religion and gadgets.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Teach a man fish

“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”— Author unknown.

Today's New York Times describes a Bush Administration intiative on Food Aid. How would you use this policy proposal to advance your position on the Farm Bill?

As you all know, I'm not a big fan of George Bush, but I believe this proposal is one of the most enlightened things he's done as President.


Blogger Danny said...

When I first saw this post I thought I was gonna be able to talk about fishing. This is false advertising! He he he.
Anyways, from the perspective of the sugar users, this proposal is actually pretty good. It's quite obvious that the agricultural sector in the US is dead and it is only kept alive by government spending and interference. This proposal is a clear example that the government is starting to understand this reality and is begining to cease it's efforts to sustain unprofitable farms. Eventually this will work it's way over to sugar farmers and we will see a reduction in subsidies and tariffs, allowing US sugar users to purchase sugar at world market rates. Hopefully the US will but an end to many of its ridiculous subsidies for other types of farms. This program should also have the intended effect of making it easier for foreign countries' agricultural sectors to flourish and make them more self sufficient.
If they can't get their act together with farming, I'll go teach them to fish. Or club baby seals, eh?

9:27 PM  
Blogger rach a said...

Perhaps this initiative is an opportunity for small farmers to produce their community's own ethanol with help from one of the four agribusinesses in the USA, or an opportunity for small farmers to demand some of the ethanol resulting from the conversion at the big businesses' conversion sites.

Then, small farmers can continue to be a critical part of their local environment, while staying in business, and then as we say in military strategies, provide "oil spots" of ethanol producing communities, which helps build and maintain pro-American, and American products.

Under these parameters, overseas farmers especially in corrupt countries would benefit since they would not have to pay for the cost of shipping corn to the US, and the government would increase taxes on outgoing port shipments, which would hold them more accountable for their government expenditures, leaving only the big overseas agribusinesses left to ship the actual corn to the United States.

This program woudl benefit ethanol producers since they get subsidies for this conversion, and benefit both small farmers here in the US (pro-American heavy message) and small farmers who need help overseas. Only the governments of those countries, and the big businesses who transport the corn over to the US would bear any great burden, and the businesses have incentives with the rise of NGOs and the cross-lateral transportation logistics revolution, to ship this corn to the US.

Ultimately, this program would unite the interests of providing Food Aid.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

I read this article Sunday morning, and I was more than a little shocked that such a good, socially responsible idea came from the Bush administration - must be a hold-over from the Clinton administration under a different name...just kidding...

As an issues manager for the Mars corporations, I agree with Danny (except for the clubbing baby seals part). We could use this program to appeal to legislators and activists on the left to gain their support for the liberalization of the U.S. sugar policy because it is a shift away from protectionism to consideration for the living and working conditions in other parts of the world. Because so much sugar is produced in developing nations, allowing these farmers to sell through U.S. aid programs as well could do some good. Plus, by increasing the demand for sugar on the global market, the price of sugar will increase, which will help both American and foreign growers.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

What a great idea this was...I know that often after disasters I often read that organizations such as the Red Cross would prefer money to actual supplies b/c the shipping/sorting/etc. costs are too wide and it's much easier for people to get what they need and what they are accustomed to nearer to where they are than for it to be sent in from all over the country or I applaud Bush's initiative to do the same here.
In terms of our position in regrads to the farm bill, since we represented the American Cattleman's Beef Association I would say that we would be okay with it. It would allow for more grown food which we need to feed our cattle to be available to us.

6:45 AM  
Blogger Brandt said...

As the Ethanol Industry, I would say that this is a good proposal, since it will help to build infrastructure in foreign companies. As the Ethanol industry I would say that we need another market for our corn growers to not suffer from the loss of this market. Thus we should provide the support to build infrastructure here to help give the corn growers here a new market to tap into and that market is Ethanol. By making Ethanol more readily available it will help the environment and increase the demand for corn to help these growers.

8:29 AM  
Blogger alison m said...

We represented the American Cattlemen's Beef Association. I think the ACBA would not be in favor of this change at all. Using the money to buy the food from other countries to make shipping costs lower hurts our business and our ranchers. However the ACBA also realizes that to keep poor people hungry just to maintain our own profit is not charitable and is a terrible PR move. Therefore, the ACBA would (begrudgingly) support this adjustment.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Christopher said...

I don't see any reason why the American Cattlemen's Beef Association would oppose this policy being advocated by President Bush. Buying food in poorer countries will allow for a greater percentage of the American-grown grain to be used as cattle feed. In addition, the food being purchased in those foreign countries will almost certainly be cheaper than the food grown in the U.S., allowing more food aid to be sent for the same amount of money. This proposal seems to benefit all involved, and deserves the support of the ACBA and every other organization.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Brooke said...

Representing the ACBA, I believe they would support this initiative in the long run, specially because it helps our cattle. I also agree with what Sec. Johanns said in regards to the policy speeding delivery and saving lives, and this is why I believe the ACBA would support this great cause along with everyone else out at Morton's STEAKHOUSE (of course we're on board)that evening.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

I'm surprised at the Bush Administration's willingness to propose such a bold initative. Just as I was surprised to learn that U.S. food aid must be domesticially grown. Such a policy makes no practical sense. It makes so much more sense to buy food from farmers in countries where aid needs to go for many reasons. American farmers are the biggest welfare recipeients in this country and its time that they were weaned from the proverbial government teat. This could be a good step in the right direction.

As far as sugar goes, this policy makes sound fiscal sense. Since the U.S. overpays for food products (as do all Americans) because of our artifically high sugar prices, this is another method that will help reduce costs and get the fod aid where it needs to go. It will help open foreign markets and if a steady purchaser for foods grown in these countries can be found (i.e.- the U.S. buying food), it will be of a big help in developing needed infrastructure improvements.

Its rare to see Bush propose anything that makes a lick of sense, so I'll give him credit where credit is due, and they deserve it on this.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Justin P said...

The position of the ADA is that food stamps, which are a major part of the country's solution to inequality and poverty, should be accepted in a wide range of markets. By including "farm fresh" produce in their diet, food stamps recipients can improve their diets.

I would sieze upon the attention focused on this proposal and attempt to get on some talk shows and electronic media (blogs, webcasts) expanding awareness of the importance of changing the farm bill. Though perhaps not directly related, the overall subject matter is close enough for us to bandwagon and steal some of the momemtum.

3:42 PM  
Blogger John B. Neurohr, Jr. said...

From the point of view of the American Dietetic Assosciation, we may want to favor such a bill in order to branch out and promote healthy diets worldwide instead of just domestically. If, by buying from farmers in other countries, the government is able to save money and, in turn, provide food and the possibility for a healthy diet to MORE people around the world, then the ADA should favor it regardless of the economic ramifications for domestic farmers.

The ADA could partner in the program and run a campaign to teach those in poorer nations about the basics of a healthy diet utilizing the kinds of foods they have available to them.

10:48 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

this proposal actualizes the vision of a benevolent economic policy in a unipolar world. it has long been this administration's position that socio-economic weight of US hegemony should be used to better those regions of the world that demonstrate substantial need. i think this specific measure is one of the larger international examples of principle morphing to policy. good job.

4:11 PM  

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