Tuesday, March 11, 2008

With the Economy Tanking, it’s no time to propose increasing Foreign Aid

While perusing the many proposed changes that our presidential candidates have offered during this primary season, I ran across one proposal that really dazed me. Senator Obama is sponsoring a bill to give an additional 845 Billion dollars in foreign aid! Wow! That’s a huge number.

The bill would actually span over 13 years and provide 65 billion in aid the first year. That’s billion with a B. Those are big numbers and it’s hard for any of us to really grasp the magnitude of this bill.

To get this in perspective, I went back to take a look at the proposed 2008 federal budget. Maybe if I have an idea of how much is spent on other items, then this 65 billion would make more sense.

For instance, I found that the US budget has allocated 17.3 billion to NASA and another 5.9 billion to the National Science Foundation. These two groups are dedicated to the exploration and advancement of science and are keys to investing in the US and ultimately improving this world. So, the U.S can only afford to spend 23.2 Billion on science, but give away nearly 3 times that amount to other governments?

For some other comparisons: The Department of Housing and Urban development receives 35 Billion, while the Veterans Administration gets 39 Billion. These are big government programs, yet even these figures are dwarfed by the Billions that this foreign aid bill would ship overseas.

But, the real kicker is that according to some sources foreign aid does more harm than good! A real eye opening article on foreign aid can be found here. This ABC
news article asserts that:

In the past 40 years, Western governments have given Africa more than half a trillion dollars. Yet Africa is even poorer than it was before the foreign aid began.

These are your tax dollars. The US will hand this money over to foreign governments to disperse and use on programs within their countries. Unfortunately, the majority of this foreign aid ends up in the hands of corrupt government officials. It’s estimated that some 70% of the aid that we currently dole out ends up in the wrong pockets.

I want some respect for my tax dollars. I want some accountability. In times like these, when we are experiencing an economic crisis, record breaking budget deficits, job outsourcing and endless war fighting debts, I expect more responsible actions.

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