America is almost the only nation in the world which has never had a famine. While people in other countries must spend most of their waking hours scrounging for food, we have had the best, the most, the largest variety, and the cheapest food any nation has ever enjoyed.
Now, overnight, for the first time, we are facing shortages of essential foods. Prices are skyrocketing, and people with deep freezes are hoarding meat. We are told that beef may disappear from our markets, and that milk and eggs may be rationed. What happened?
Our food problems were not caused by war, or bad weather, or insects. They have been caused by deliberate Government policies. Just 13 months ago, the Nixon Administration staged one of its most dramatic announcements at a double-barreled press conference on both coasts. The Soviet grain deal was simultaneously announced by President Nixon and Henry Kissinger at San Clemente, and by Agriculture Secretary Earl Butzat the White House in Washington. They enthusiastically boasted that it was the biggest grain transaction in history.
Senator Henry Jackson, whose Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee recently opened hearings on this Soviet grain deal, has now discovered that it was “gross negligence, at best” and possibly another Watergate-type scandal.
We are now adding up the costs of shipping one-fourth of our 1972 wheat crop, plus other grains, to the Soviet Union. The General Accounting Office officially charged that this Soviet grain deal caused “higher prices for bread and flour-based products, increased prices for beef, pork, poultry, eggs and dairy products, resulting from higher costs for feed grains.” The Soviet grain deal also resulted in higher costs and shortages of other items because of the “severe disruption of transportation facilities.”‘
Our Government spent $300,000,000 of the taxpayers’ money in export subsidies in order to enable the Soviets to buy U.S. wheat at the bargain price of $1.63 per bushel, whereas the price Americans have to pay rose rapidly to $3.00 per bushel. In addition, our Government used another $500,000,000 of the taxpayers’ money to give the Russians a loan so they didn’t have to pay cash for the wheat! Yet, the Soviet Union is the second largest gold-producing nation in the world!
As the price of meat goes up and up, some Government officials say, “Eat fish instead.” But the price of fish is even higher because the U.S. has permitted Russian fishing ships to take 50 percent of the fish off our Atlantic coast. Other countries prevent “overfishing” of their continental shelf by foreigners; our State Department does not.
It makes no sense to tax Americans in order to ship our food to Communist countries at bargain prices or on credit supplied by the U.S. taxpayers, while food in our own markets is priced out of our reach. We need a national policy of “Feed America First.” If we are going to sell to the Soviets, let it be at a cash price at least as high as Americans have to pay.