Charity is Not the Answer

July 13, 2020

Individual kindnesses can't take the place of government action.

Type “food” into Google News and you’re sure to get a bunch of headlines like this:

“Parma’s The Pantry at All Saints on the front lines of food distribution during a pandemic”

“Thousands of SC students to get free food help”

“Free Food Giveaway in Little Village Monday”

“Scott and Carver County food shelves meet communities’ rising needs”

This is heartening. And frustrating.

It’s heartening to see Americans stepping up to help their fellow citizens. And it’s frustrating because charity, as heartfelt and well-intentioned as it may be, is nothing but a stopgap. What’s needed is concerted initiatives by the federal and local governments to get food, and – especially – the money needed to buy it, into the hands of Americans who need it.

As I’ve said before, this would benefit not only them, but the entire economy, especially the food industry. There is no need to worry about things like distribution channels and storage for donated food, when we’ve already got one of the best food processing and distribution systems in the world, ready and willing to serve needy Americans: the same one that serves everyone else.

Instead, we’re bogged down in squabbling over whether to renew the increase in unemployment benefits, which ran out in June. There are a lot of controversial decisions associated with the pandemic, but this one should be a no-brainer. Let Americans have the money they need to let the food industry feed them.

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