Former Rep. Tony Hall leading anti-budget cut fast

Posted on March 28, 2011


A former local Congressman is coming back into the spotlight with his method of protesting proposed Republican spending cuts. After representing Dayton and Ohio’s 3rd Congressional District for 22 years, former Rep. Tony Hall is leading several anti-hunger organizations in a fast that begins tomorrow to register his anger at budget cuts that target foreign aid and WIC cuts.

Former Rep. Tony Hall (D-Ohio), the head of the Alliance to End Hunger, told The Hill Friday that Democrats are not doing enough to ensure the cuts do not become law, and he is fasting to give a “voice to the voiceless.”

He will be joined in his water-only fast by Rev. David Beckmann, the president of Bread for the World; Jim Wallis, the president of Sojourners; Ritu Sharma of Women Thrive and Ruth Messinger of American Jewish World Service. Beckmann said in an interview that so far 350 others have pledged to join the fast and the groups are seeking more support. While in office, Hall protested 1993 budget cuts to food programs through a 22-day fast.

A lot of the uproar over the Republicans proposed $60 billion in budget cuts seems to me to be much ado about nothing. After all, we’re talking about cuts that represent less than 2% of the annual budget, cuts that would only have accounted for one-fourth of the budget deficit of February 2011.

But every program is sacred and has a place in the vast pantheon of government programs. I agree with Rep. Hall that foreign aid represents a much smaller portion of government spending than many Americans think – but I also believe that we need to fulfill our obligations here at home before engaging in worldwide government charity. (Not to say that there aren’t worthy targets for private charity – there is quite a distinction to be made.)

In any event, I’m glad Tony Hall has decided to do something constructive and head up an anti-hunger organization, no doubt a worthy cause. But fasting to protest budget cuts seems like too much of an overkill for me. Despite what demagogues will have you think, women and children aren’t going to be starving to death in the streets as a result of almost miniscule cuts, and besides, that charge has almost lost any sting due to constant overuse.

Heads-up from Gateway Pundit.

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