Just a quick note to voice my thoughts on a discussion concerning foreign aid that I heard on NPR this morning. Many participants had called in voicing frustration that the federal government continues to donate billions of dollars in foreign aid when people here in the states are suffering from economic crises.
1) Our donations abroad equate to approximately 0.17 percent of our GDP, which is less than pretty much any developed nation. Last time I checked, the numbers were around 13 billion dollars per year. Our military spending is close to 500 billion dollars per year. So the money, while it's still a lot, is not even a drop in the bucket comparatively. It's America and these are our priorities (apparently), but stopping both wars we're in would do FAR more to help the people here at home than refusing care to suffering Haitians.
2) Of that 0.17 percent, 40% of that aid goes to two countries. Care to guess which? ISRAEL and EGYPT. We basically pay billions of dollars to each country to keep them from killing one another. I could go into this a whole helluva lot further, but I'll just leave that little factoid with y'all to ponder. So a big fat chunk of this money isn't even going to countries who qualify as "third world" or are in need of it. Getting control of our lobbyists would probably help this money to be better spent.
3) I have really conflicting thoughts on foreign aid, as I have alluded to in prior postings, but basically it comes down to this: We, the United States of America, substantially contribute to the general fucking-over of many downtrodden nations. And if we're not actively contributing to this fucking over, our past actions have done so. We have a moral debt to pay. We should pay it. And it should be more money than we're paying out now, irregardless of how many people in the US are hurting. However, that money should be carefully monitored to assure that it reaches people who need it and governments who will allocate it with wisdom and integrity.
4) All that being said, I think it's totally understandable that people are frustrated and angry.