Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Ah, food. People love it (me & my office-mates), people hate it (anorexics), people can't get enough of it (developing countries).

While doing research on the G8 Summit in L'Aquila, my thoughts wandered to the wonderful thing that is food. What a dichotomous thing food is...the demand for certain types of food is elastic (remember that word, nams? If wheat bread gets too expensive, I'll just buy white bread!) but the demand for food in general is inelastic.

I think people in America should think about this. If you and your children were starving in a desert, you would gladly trade a $1000 bill in your wallet for a bottle of water and some food for your kids. But what if you didn't have $1000? What if your annual salary were ~$1000, and the people who promised you food argued about where to purchase the food from while your children withered away and died?

Such a situation is not too far from the truth, I suppose.

There will be over a billion hungry people this year. But sure, why shouldn't the U.S. government care about its own farmers first? Surely, the right thing for Americans to do is support what the Council on Foreign Relations called "a Byzantine system of handouts and insurance benefits [in which] only households making over $1.5 million a year will see any reduction to their subsidies—and even those restrictions can be avoided through loopholes."

The G8 Statement on Food Security makes me hope that U.S. policies in the future will be more focused on effectively executing their purposes. The Minister Counselor and I met with a few economists yesterday, and one of them stated that policy in the U.S. is in a state of transition. As my friend Nami and I realized while working on various policy recommendations, the biggest challenge in making policy recommendations does not lie in modifying details. Rather, it lies in garnering support from people with divergent views and guaranteeing a positive reception from the media and the public at large. Just look at what Harry and Louise did to Hillary's Health Security Act!

OMG! it's 12:22 (2 hours past my bedtime!) Must go to sleep.

Tomorrow is packed, but it looks like fun!

Trade, Aid and Security Coalition

American Leadership for Global Development

Wednesday, July 15, 2009, 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.


8:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. Registration

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Opening remarks: Rep. Jim McDermott (WA-7), Committee on Ways and Means, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-3), Committee

on Energy Independence and Global Warming, Committee on Ways and Means, Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, Former

Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Covington & Burling, LLP

[Room: Metropolitan East]

10:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Panel I: National Security: Economic Development, Trade and Investment

Featuring: Rep. Adam Smith (WA-9), Select Committee on Intelligence, Committee on Armed Services; Tim Reif, Office of the US Trade Representative, Rudy deLeon, Former Deputy Secretary of Defense, Center for American Progress

Moderator: Doug Wilson, Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, The Leaders Project, Harvard University, Howard Gilman Foundation

[Room: The Hill]

Noon – 2 p.m. Luncheon: Business Innovation and Partnerships for Development

Featuring: Jane Nelson, Harvard University, Brookings Institution, Daniel Runde, International Finance Corporation, Angela Hofmann, Wal Mart

Moderator: Claude Fontheim, Trade, Aid and Security Coalition, Business Council for Global Development, Fontheim International, LLC

[Room: Metropolitan East]

2:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Panel II: Climate Change and Economic Development

Featuring: Rep. Brian Baird (WA-3), Committee on Science and Technology, Chair of the, Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, Manish Bapna, World Resources Institute, Jim Lyons, Oxfam America, Walter Grazer, National Religious Partnership for the Environment

Moderator: Frank Loy, Former Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs, Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy

[Room: The Hill]

4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Panel III: Investing in Women

Featuring: Rep. Joseph Crowley (NY-7), Committee on Ways and Means, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Ritu Sharma, Women Thrive Worldwide, Mary MacPherson, Vital Voices Global Partnership

Moderator: Katrin Kuhlmann, Trade, Aid and Security Coalition

[Room: The Hill]

5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. Reception: Remarks by Rep. Charles Rangel (NY-15), Chairman, Committee on Ways and Means; Rep. Debbie Halvorson (IL-11), Committee on Agriculture, Rep. Kevin Brady (TX-8), Committee on Ways and Means

[Room: Metropolitan East]

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