Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Where There’s a (Political) Will, There’s a Way

Hunger is taking a serious toll on the American people: Hunger causes childhood illnesses, developmental disabilities, and other health problems. Taxpayers pay $90 billion a year as a result of the continuing problem of hunger. Despite the severity of the hunger crisis, however, both presidential candidates largely ignored the issue of hunger in their campaigns. Massachusetts Representative Jim McGovern and 2008 World Food Prize laureate and former Senator George McGovern in a recent Boston Herald editorial said that the next administration should lead a strong national effort to solve the problem of hunger in America once and for all.

If the next President takes the lead in making real policy changes, Senator McGovern, aged 86, and Representative McGovern, aged 48, both believe that they may yet see an end to hunger in their lifetimes. In particular, they call upon the next President to allocate the necessary funds to not only end domestic hunger but also to work towards ending hunger around the world by integrating anti-hunger initiatives into foreign policy. They propose that the next administration appoint a federal hunger czar who will oversee a single, comprehensive plan to end hunger that will be supported by every sector of government. The ultimate goal of such a plan, they argue is “to increase the independence, purchasing power and food security of every human being.”

Considering the extent of hunger at home and abroad, they argue that legislators must approach the problem of hunger with the same bipartisanship and sense of immediacy as they did the recent financial bailout. “Hunger is a political condition. We have everything we need – including enough food – to end hunger in the United States and around the world. However, we lack the political will to make ending it a priority,” said Senator McGovern and Representative McGovern.

Both Senator McGovern and Representative McGovern have worked extensively on both domestic and international hunger policy. Senator McGovern’s work with the McGovern-Dole international school feeding program has sparked a global campaign to increase school feeding in order to enhance the health and education of children, especially young girls. As co-chair of the Congressional Hunger Center, Representative McGovern has overseen bi-partisan efforts to develop domestic and international hunger policy.

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