Thursday, January 17, 2008

Presidential candidates offer views on hunger

Will Perreault and Isha Plynton, who are Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellows with the Congressional Hunger Center, helped put together a voter education guide (.pdf) to the current Presidential Election.

The guide sought to be nonpartisan, but the major Republican candidates sat out this conversation about hunger and hardship for low-income Americans.
The following candidates were mailed this questionnaire and contacted by phone but did not respond by the announced deadline: Chris Dodd, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Gravel, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, Alan Keyes, Dennis Kucinich, John McCain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Tom Tancredo and Fred Thompson. People who are interested in their views on this matter should contact their campaigns directly.
Here is one of the questions from the questionnaire:
In your eyes, what is the single most effective policy measure to enable food insecure individuals to become food secure? What will you do to promote this policy?
Hillary Clinton's response to this question highlights economic issues.
We need to address the root cause of the food security problem – economic insecurity. I have proposed a new economic blueprint that will put us on a path toward shared prosperity by creating more good jobs, restoring fairness to our economy, & renewing the bargain that if you work hard you can get ahead.
Barack Obama's response emphasizes the Food Stamp Program.
Our food stamp program targets those who need it the most & expands in times of economic trouble. It also helps its recipients eat more healthily. I will increase funding & protect it from cuts. Most importantly, I will provide the leadership this country needs by speaking about the key role that food stamps play in alleviating hunger.
If you were one of these candidates, would your own response have emphasized economic issues or food assistance programs?


Sarah-the-Yente said...

I think in some ways I agree more with Hillary on this one. Increasing the food stamp program is all very well and good, but it's more of a bandaid solution than an actual one. That said, I think one of the major parts of making the food stamp program more effective is reevaluating the poverty line. In that sense, I agree with Obama-- we need to do more to step up the food stamps program, though I would argue that it's less about simply adding to that line item and more about recalibrating our concept of poverty in America-- something I don't see either of them advocating.

Aliza said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aliza said...

hey sarah w-w :) I agree to some extent- Obama's answer was somewhat wimpy and un-nuanced, but at the same time, i don't think it can necessarily be tied completely to economic security or poverty. i think it's often related but solutions that only deal with the economic often end up with unhealthy solutions b/c of larger structural problems in the US with the prices of healthy vs. unhealthy food, values, priorities, time, etc. I think some combination of the two would have been a better answer.