Thursday, June 9, 2005

Generosity revisited

Are you one of those who bitch, 'we're supporting every foreign country, yadda, yadda, yadda'? If you are, just shut the fuck up. Via my esteemed colleague SheaNC at Pourquoi Pas:

President Bush kept a remarkably straight face yesterday when he strode to the microphones with Britain's prime minister, Tony Blair, and told the world that the United States would now get around to spending $674 million in emergency aid that Congress had already approved for needy countries. That's it. Not a penny more to buy treated mosquito nets to help save the thousands of children in Sierra Leone who die every year of preventable malaria. Nothing more to train and pay teachers so 11-year-old girls in Kenya may go to school. And not a cent more to help Ghana develop the programs it needs to get legions of young boys off the streets.

[. . .]

According to a poll, most Americans believe that the United States spends 24 percent of its budget on aid to poor countries; it actually spends well under a quarter of 1 percent. As Jeffrey Sachs, the Columbia University economist in charge of the United Nations' Millennium Project, put it so well, the notion that there is a flood of American aid going to Africa "is one of our great national myths."

The United States currently gives just 0.16 percent of its national income to help poor countries, despite signing a United Nations declaration three years ago in which rich countries agreed to increase their aid to 0.7 percent by 2015. Since then, Britain, France and Germany have all announced plans for how to get to 0.7 percent; America has not. The piddling amount Mr. Bush announced yesterday is not even 0.007 percent. [NYT] [my emphases]

[. . .]

So stop worrying that some poor unfortunate brown or black person in some Third World toilet is getting your 'hard-earned money'. Stop saying 'charity begins at home'. We give nothing unless it suits U.S. interests and a bunch of poor spearchuckers in Africa, without oil, are just gum on the bottom of our shoes. You know who gets the money?


[. . .]

The Israeli government is the largest recipient of US financial aid in the world, receiving over one-third of total US aid to foreign countries[4], even though Israel's population comprises just .001% of the world's population and has one the world's higher per capita incomes.
[. . .]


Out of a US foreign aid budget of about $14 billion in 2003, Egypt was the second largest recipient with $1.3 billion in military aid; $615 million for social programs.

That was the bribe for them to stop shooting at each other. Israel and Egypt, Begin and Sadat, the Jews and the Pharaohs. Maybe it's time we started cutting some of the billions we send there until a realistic peace is worked out. Maybe we should send some of that to people who really need it instead of to Occupiers and Jihadists.

So, the next time you catch yourself saying 'what are we sending all that money overseas for', keep your big trap shut and don't show your ignorance. Ask yourself instead why we're supporting Egypt and Israel to the detriment of the really needy.

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