Let no one here declare me politically one sided...our President is a maritime idiot!

I cannot criticize the current Administration anymore that the very wise and prescient Tony Munoz

[B][U]American Winter: Obama Turns His Back on Mariners and Farmers[/U][/B]
The Administration’s New Budget Will Put Thousands Out of Work

April 08, 2013

As the 2012 Presidential election wound down, President Obama became increasingly vulnerable due to his lackluster performance in the debates and the fact that unemployment was hovering at 8.2%, an unacceptably high level for an election year. And despite declining membership, labor unions remained a powerful political force with an estimated 14.3 million members, and President Obama needed their support.

So, in conjunction with the AFL-CIO, the Maritime Labor Alliance–consisting of the American Radio Association, the Inlandboatmen’s Union, the International Longshoremen’s Association, the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, the International Organization of Master, Mates & Pilots, and the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association–endorsed President Obama, and nearly 65% of union members voted for him.

But, since winning the election, the Administration has turned its back on unions and the maritime sector. A few months ago, in a backroom deal, it cut cargo preference for food aid back from 75 to 50 percent, and a lot of jobs were lost in the maritime sector. Now the Administration wants to eliminate American participation in the food aid program entirely and simply send the money overseas to NGOs and foreign governments.

Washed His Hands and Sealed Their Fate

According to the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), there are seven billion people on the planet, and about 13% or 925 million of them are starving. FAO also says the recent increase in starvation is due to three factors: (1) neglect of agriculture relevant to very poor people by governments and international agencies; (2) the current worldwide economic crisis, and (3) the significant increase in food prices over the last several years, which has been devastating to those with only a few dollars a day – or week – to spend.

The U.S. also spends $14.1 billion on USAID projects each year, which is 1% of the federal budget. The federal government provides $1.5 billion in food aid per year to feed over 47 million people in poor countries, and the NGOs and charities would have us believe that the U.S. Merchant Marine and American farmers are the reason people are starving?

The NGOs simply want to control food aid funding at the expense of American jobs in the farming and maritime sectors. Losing more jobs in the U.S. will be devastating to a weak economy still trying to recover from the Great Recession. Since its inception in 1954, more than three billion people in 150 countries have benefitted from U.S. food aid. In renaming it the Food for Peace program in 1961, President John F. Kennedy famously said “Food is strength, and food is peace, and food is freedom, and food is a helping hand to people around the world whose good will and friendship we want.”

President Obama must understand that ending the current food aid program will change the game forever. NGO budgets will rise; foreign governments will pocket more money, and thousands of American farmers and mariners will lose their jobs. The impact will be felt both here at home and in the stomachs of millions of poor people around the world, who will be much hungrier. – MarEx

Tony Munoz is the Editor-in-Chief of the Maritime Executive Magazine & MarEx eNewsletter. He has 30 years of experience in the maritime industry, which includes working for West Coast steamship lines and PR consulting for some of the industry’s largest companies. He can be reached at tonymunoz@maritime-executive.com.

Hear, hear Tony!

Obama has been a horrible maritime president as witnessed by the wretched Ray LaHood as Transportation Secretary and utterly hapless David Matsuda as MarAd chief. This latest move by our great Administration is only further proof that the White House knows nothing about ships and seafarers and chooses to not care or even try to learn about what they contribute. Throw em under the bus is the motto!

Of course, if Romney had been elected it would have been just as horrible!

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I agree with Tony 100% but…

If he really wants to make a difference he needs to take his ass out of south Florida and have a visit to Washington. He’s constantly complaining in these editorials but I’ve never seen any real action from him or anyone associated with Marex except from the sales team. He’s all talk imho.

Well said

I can’t add to that.

Dumping food(food aid) into poor countries puts the power(food) into the hands of the elite. Local farmers cannot compete and so they stop farming. In some countries, do to these policies, the local farming knowledge has been lost.

They are totalitarian welfare states.

We would be better off teaching them to be independent.

And yes, this government sucks.

[QUOTE=c.captain;105101]let no one here declare me politically one sided…/QUOTE]

Like it would MATTER

[QUOTE=seriously;105147]Dumping food(food aid) into poor countries puts the power(food) into the hands of the elite. Local farmers cannot compete and so they stop farming. In some countries, do to these policies, the local farming knowledge has been lost.

They are totalitarian welfare states.

We would be better off teaching them to be independent.

And yes, this government sucks.[/QUOTE]

I have to agree. Munoz, unfortunately along with most of our union leadership, have been ignoring the facts on food aid. One particular misstatement is that NGOs are behind the proposed reforms in Food for Peace: many of them signed a letter against them because they fund their programs by selling the food we ship.

For a better explanation:

The U.S. is both the world’s largest food donor and the only major donor still shipping physical food products to crisis areas. A majority of the food is not given away directly but [I]monetized[/I], meaning that it is given to aid agencies to sell at a market rate in a developing country with the proceeds going to fund their programs in that same country. This practice of distribution takes up one third of the resources that could be spent on actual humanitarian assistance, or $219 million out of $722 million in 2010, according to the Government Accountability Office.

A 2005 report by Oxfam International titled [FONT=inherit][I]Food Aid or Hidden Dumping[/I][I]?[/I] makes the case that this monetized aid system is simply an export subsidy labeled as aid to avoid discipline by the World Trade Organization and efforts to make world trade fairer.
There is no question that [FONT=inherit]PL 480 is designed to assist big agriculture: government websites even brag that countries that receive aid later become importers. The report also notes that the largest aid gifts have come after bumper crops in the U.S. and have no relation to when the aid was most needed, and that growers successfully lobby for their produce to be purchased for aid whenever prices are low. The cycle of lower aid volumes as prices rise and higher volumes when prices fall make aid an unreliable food source for needy countries.[/FONT]