Talk about an affluent society! According to the February 4th edition of Time Magazine, Americans spent $35.9 billion on their pets in 2005. $35.9 billion! I contributed to that, and I don’t even own a pet! (My brother-in-law’s dogs get Christmas presents, too.)

I’ve got nothing against pets. I can understand that Fluffy has an important place in the family, and deserves to be fed and vaccinated. It’s just that, so do people. My point is simply this: If we can fork out $35.9 billion for our pets – just one category of discretionary spending – can’t we do better in making sure everyone has enough to eat? And if so many of us are willing to take on the responsibility of caring for pets (and, boy, are we willing!), can’t we do the same for people?

Just think about it. If Americans gave as much money to one poverty-fighting group (may I suggest the ELCA World Hunger Appeal?) as they spent on their pets in a year, it would create an organization nearly the size of the Gates Foundation. Think what we could accomplish…