How we choose to spend taxpayer money

This is a knee-jerk reaction, but this report suggests we could work miracles for millions of hungry people with a fraction of the amount of money we are spending on trying to resuscitate the banking system. Why are we so unwilling to spend money on those living in abject poverty, while we are willing to commit trillions of dollars to a government bailout and recapitalization of the financial system?

In general Americans don't like sending their tax money abroad. Also, the public thinks a much higher percentage of the budget is used for foreign aid (15-20 percent) than is actually used (a fraction of one percent); it's amusing to ask strangers how much of the US budget goes to foreign aid and hear the responses. Much of the money that's been lent in the bailout is expected to come back to the government, in dividends or loan repayments. Money spent on hunger has dividends (more crops, healthier population, fewer deaths) but these are not benefits that will be paid back to the US taxpayer any time soon.

Furthermore this is not an either/or situation. The money that the government spends on the bailout is not money that would otherwise be spent on food programs (although increased government spending/taxation may reduce charitable giving).

The bailout crisis is "recent" - it's been in the news lately. While the lack of food in third world countries is also an urgent crisis, it's been an urgent crisis for years and will continue to be a crisis for at least another decade.

Despite the complaints of the US people, from a utilitarian perspective our money is being grossly misspent. Everyone knows our real wealth will fall and the economy will slow down, painfully. And by pain I mean companies will go bankrupt, Americans will lose jobs, and homes will lose value. Our stomachs should not suffer as much.

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