Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Foreign Aid is Stupid

I'll be honest. I'm no expert on this subject - specifically International Trade. It's a dizzying complex set of scenarios that requires a deep understanding of both macro and micro economic principals to even begin to get a basic grasp of the problem set. I only know enough to be dangerous in this area so in this particular case, I'm going to be relying fairly heavily on sources that have some credibility. If you think my sources are poor, please provide alternatives. To keep it simple for stupid (me), I'll be breaking down the discussion into a kind of Frequently Asked Questions for Foreign Aid.

Q: What exactly is the U.S. Foreign Aid policy, how much do we spend on it and what do we hope to get out of it?
A: This little document right here is a real page turner. In it, it describes the history, policies and objectives of our current foreign aid program. To put it succinctly - it's money spent out of the federal treasury to foreign nations in which we hope to achieve the following results:
  • Promote transformational development, especially in the areas of governance, institutional capacity, and economic restructuring;
  • Strengthen fragile states;
  • Provide humanitarian assistance
  • Supporting U.S. geostrategic interests, particularly in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt, and Israel; and
  • Mitigating global and international ills, including HIV/AIDS.
"Promote transformational development?", "Geostrategic interests?", WTF?

So how much is the bill then, doc? In 2004, it was greater than $20 billion with a b NOT including Iraq reconstruction (another $20+ billion) or food aid apparently. Let's see... combined that would put us at least a 50 year high, since the early 1950's - and even if you exclude Iraq, it's at a 30 year high adjusted to today's dollar. Beat that Cold War!

Q: What constitutional authority does the Federal government have to spend money on foreign aid?
A: Absolutely none, whatsoever. Common defense? Nah, not really. General Welfare? Nope. The section where the members of Congress get to play Santa Claus to all the world's children must have been left on the cutting room floor of the Constitutional Convention.

Q: Do the people that get the foreign aid, want it?
A: Yes and No. Let me explain, a lot of the people that get the foreign aid are the corrupt political leaders of 3rd world countries. They certainly want it. The people in those 3rd world countries rarely actually get the aid. But do they want it? Signs point to no. You absolutely must read this article: http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,363663,00.html

Q: So, why do we do it if it doesn't work?
A: Ron Paul nails it once again -
It is money that goes to help foreign elites, who in turn spend much of it on contracts with US corporations. This means US tax dollars ultimately go to well-connected US corporations operating overseas.
Q: You're just a cold hearted SOB aren't you?
A: Absolutely not. Charity given at the point of a gun is not charity. The government collects taxes from all of us and then sends it over seas. That's not charity, it's robbery.

Q: So how can we help those countries that do have poverty, educational and medical needs?
A: Individuals helping individuals is always best. Dumping billions of foreign dollars into an economy, dumping thousands of tons of food, and giving foreign governments weapons doesn't do anything but destabilize economies and give more power and control to the elites. Give what you can and tell our government to stop hurting these countries with our reckless foreign policies. Oh, and you could throw some support Ron Paul's way, too... if you're so inclined, as he's the only one running for Prez that will make it happen.


Denver Obsession said...
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Denver Obsession said...

I find your blog to be more than insightful... it's actually entertaining!

Keep up the good work! :)