It currently costs the American public $90 billion a year in the form of charitable donations, reduced productivity and health care costs to meet the needs of those people who cannot afford the basic necessities of life such as food, clothing, and shelter. According to J. Larry Brown, a researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health, these costs could be largely eliminated if the Administration were to address the issue and boost the federal nutrition program by $10 billion to $12 billion a year. Brown believes that Hunger in America can be solved if Congress will step up to the plate and end it. He states that it actually costs more to maintain the current status quo than it would to end hunger in the U.S.
It is an atrocity to this writer to discover that in 2005 alone 35 million American citizens frequently went without enough to eat. Brown’s study separated the annual cost of hunger into three categories: Charity, illness, and reduced productivity. He found that American’s spend about $14.5 billion a year on such things as soup kitchens, food banks, and other voluntary efforts. That another $66.8 billion was spent by local and state governments on illnesses such as anemia and depression that were directly linked to hunger and were found particularly in children and the elderly who are unable to supplement their income. Lastly, malnutrition was proven to hamper brain function, lowering school and job performance at an estimated price tag of $9.2 billion.
To address the problem, Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern is currently working with the House Hunger Caucus to provide $20 billion over five years to expand federal nutrition programs with the basis that it will cost less in the long term to provide hunger relief today. However, libertarian, Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute, believes that hunger should be addressed through its underlying causes such as inadequate public education, out-of-wedlock births, and unemployment since mental and physical problems cannot always be addressed by writing a check.
Given that, however, how do you create a different mindset for children who are destined to suffer physical or mental problems due to the lack of proper nutrition and basic care unless you first address those human needs first. To do that it may take additional federal funds but investing in children is an investment in the future and well worth any sacrifice and these funds could be made easily available if the nation’s current fiscal office holders would take a look at the devastating effects that their current policies are taking on American morale, as well as, on their standing in the world-wide community at large.
[tags]Hunger in America, Hunger, Federal Nutrition Program, Food Stamps, Effects of Hunger, Jim McGovern, House Hunger Caucus, Michael Tanner, Cato Institute, Larry Brown, Harvard School of Public Health, reduced productivity,Cost of Hunger[/tags]