Reading the story about the recent buyout of Smithfield meats by the Chinese got me thinking. My first thought was not the same as most Americans, that the Chinese would be sending inferior food to the United States, but rather that the United States would be sending superior food to the Chinese. My second thought was, how much would that cost American taxpayers?
I then saw two other articles that gave me the same concerns. One was about hurricane season, and the other was about the end game to the war in Afghanistan. American taxpayers are the link between each of these stories.
In the story about Afghanistan it was suggested that the United States might have to continue subsidizing the war on terror after American troops were withdrawn. We spend money so Afghanis will be safer. The hurricane story got me thinking about how NOAA does a wonderful job of tracking hurricanes and how many ships and countries in the Caribbean benefit from this taxpayer-funded organization.
In the case of Smithfield meats, our government spends a great deal of money educating farmers, tracking diseases and inspecting the final agricultural products before food reaches our tables or gets put on ships to feed some other nation. Again, American taxpayers are paying for someone else's safety.
I don't know how much we pay for the benefit of the world's people, but it created one additional thought: If we could somehow turn this around, so that the world paid us for these services, wouldn't that help us balance the budget?
Steven A. Enkemann