D. Houghton: Cut foreign aid

Where is all the taxpayers' money going? I would like to know when the public gave the government the right to send billions of dollars to any and all other countries that have their hands out? Did we ever vote to do that? Then the U.S. ends up borrowing money from China each year.

We could use the money sent to other countries right here for education, housing, roads and bridges, and feeding hungry citizens right here in the U.S.

I know that most of the money sent to other countries is to convince those countries to let the U.S. tell those countries' officials how to run their own countries. A fine example of that is being debated now with billions in aid to Egypt  being held up until officials there can get a government in place that is acceptable to U.S. officials.

Can we stop that practice?

Daveen Houghton, Carthage

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Paul Parsons's picture

Agree and disagree

We are definitely neglecting the needs of people in this country. Education, repair of our transportation network and infrastructure, and feeding the hungry are all challenges that I would grade this, the richest country in the world, with much less than an A rating at handling. And being in debt to a country like China doesn't seem too wise either.
Furthermore, a lot of our foreign aid is not wisely spent. The cholera epidemic in Haiti that resulted from the UN presence shows the negative consequences that can follow well-intentioned, but poorly planned, humanitarian missions. This follows a long history of the western world exacerbating problems in places it felt duty bound to try and help.
But here is where I would make a footnote. This article does not mention the black-hole that taxpayer money continuously gets sucked into with no forseable benefit, and that is the military budget. Our military spending is more than the rest of the world combined, so we could cut it in half, have billions freed up, and still have the most powerful military force on the planet. Yes, I know for the past decade detractors have tried using 9-11 to rebuke that claim, but I don't see how the bulk of our military ventures since that time have done more than the creation of the TSA to prevent a repeat of those terrorist attacks.
As for our foreign aid, as big an expenditure as the media makes it seem, we rank dead last among developed countries in how much of our overall budget we appropriate to humanitarian aid. Oh, but we are the biggest arms manufacturer, and if not for the small-arms trade (which the NRA has been defending) a lot of these war zones would have no use in training child soldiers. But still I do think the foreign aid we do give should be more focused on educating women and promoting birth control, both of which I believe will do the most to help raise more of the Third World out of poverty, thus putting less pressure on us to give so much emergency aid or take in so many refugees. That is what I would call a return on our investment.

 's picture

Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

I think you are mixing two concepts together: (1) foreign aid distributed by the federal government and (2) charitable donations by private citizens and groups. Under (1) I'm sure you're correct that we're dead last, as a percentage of the budget. Under (2) I'm pretty sure we're dead first. See this article in The American. The ratio looks to be around 9 or 10 to 1, private vs. public dollars. In many foreign countries, especially in Europe, the ratio is reversed. Most if not all charity is dispensed by government. Many "news" and other advocacy groups, foreign and domestic, tend to overlook private giving so they can label us stingy by their terms.


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