Arthur Brooks, professor of public administration at Syracuse University and author of the book, Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatives, was invited on Michael Medved this past week (listen and download his interview on The Dennis Prager Show). On the program, they made mention of his recent WSJ article, Conspicuous Charity:
Mr. and Mrs. Cheney gave 78% of their 2005 income to charity. That’s not a typo — the couple donated $6.9 million [over the course of his Vice Presidency, I do believe- not what he gave in 2005-wordsmith], including the proceeds from stock options and book royalties that Mrs. Cheney routinely gives away. Their giving went to three nonprofit causes in health, higher education and services for inner-city youth.
Curt provided the audio to the Medved Show with Arthur Brooks in an earlier post. Listen in, 15 minutes into the 2nd audio (interview with Arthur Brooks). It’s information that really deserves to be more widely known. The Food for Peace Program was started in 1954, and for over 50 years, America has helped to feed over 3 billion people in 150 countries. More than 60% of international emergency food aid comes from the United States. What President Bush has come to realize, is that simply "throwing free food" at the problem, doesn’t help to lessen the problem. Our requirement for the program has always been that if we are to send food abroad, it had to have been grown in the U.S. This ends up hurting local farmers in Africa, who are trying to get a start at growing food. So what President Bush has proposed, in an attempt to get to root causes of hunger, is that 1/4th of all the food aid given by the U.S. has to be bought by the U.S. from local farmers. From the NYTimes:
It was here in Kansas City, at the 2005 food aid conference, that the Bush administration pushed for a fundamental change in food aid that would have diminished profits to domestic agribusiness and shipping companies. It proposed allowing a quarter of the Food for Peace budget to be used to buy food in poor countries near hunger crises, rather than buying only American-grown food that had to be shipped across oceans.
And Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns spoke at the conference on Wednesday to again make the administration’s case for the same idea, contending that such a policy would speed delivery, improve efficiency and save many lives.
This is compassionate conservatism. Finding practical solutions that go beyond creating "feel-good" policies that achieve nothing, and sometimes only succeeds in making matters worse. I believe that both liberals and conservatives care about the environment, want to be charitable to those less fortunate, etc. We just have different ideas on how best to make the world a better place. It is worth noting, as Medved does, that
Former President Bill Clinton recently said at a fund-raiser for Bread for the World, a Christian group that lobbies on hunger issues, that it was to Mr. Bush’s "everlasting credit" that he had proposed buying food aid in poor countries. Such a policy had never crossed his mind when he was president, Mr. Clinton said, but he thought it was a great way to help farmers in Africa and buy food more efficiently.
On a gratuitously lighter note… The call from Granny Mary in Chicago is priceless! She’s an 84 year old liberal who would vote for Michael Savage if he ran for President!
A former fetus, the “wordsmith from nantucket” was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1968. Adopted at birth, wordsmith grew up a military brat. He achieved his B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles (graduating in the top 97% of his class), where he also competed rings for the UCLA mens gymnastics team. The events of 9/11 woke him from his political slumber and malaise. Currently a personal trainer and gymnastics coach.
The wordsmith has never been to Nantucket.