U.S. is no cheapskate in foreign aid

  • Article by: John Norris , Foreign Policy
  • Updated: December 29, 2013 - 4:53 PM

American stinginess is a myth based on measures that don’t measure completely.

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mobydick1Dec. 29, 13 7:01 PM

I, rather wonder why we spend our greatest amount of foreign aid to Israel, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. I can understand that the aid to Israel is probably a political effort to garner votes. Pakistan and Afghanistan don't even like us very much.

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albundy74Dec. 29, 13 8:42 PM

We can't maintain our national infrastructure but we can put foreign aid at the top of the list for credit card debt of 17+ trillion dollars.

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decembersueDec. 29, 13 9:07 PM

This is the usual misdirection by conservatives whose long term goal is to slash US foreign aid. The "private donors should count" argument is utter nonsense, because the numbers for other countries don't count private aid either (apples to apples, folks), and much of America's private "aid" is self-serving projects that advance the interests of american companies or provide recruiting opportunities for churches. That we give a dollar amount greater than other countries is to be expected, as there are more of us (we're one of the most populous countries on earth) and we are richer, per capita, than most other countries on earth. Switching raw dollars for per-capita numbers is another little trick these isolationists play. What is far more embarassing than our low foreign aid numbers is how much we spend on military adventures - the budget of the Iraq war alone could have built and funded free schools for every child in pakistan. and it would have been a better investment.

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bigtmnDec. 29, 1311:15 PM

Does the amount of foreign aid supplied by the U.S. include the money spent protecting other countries?

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saoirseDec. 30, 13 6:55 AM

mobydick1 is right. In FY 2013, the US gave $8.5 million per day to Israel. It's public information, hidden from the public. Meanwhile, American incomes are declining, our infrastructure is deteriorating, etc. What kind of "ally" demands we keep shoveling money at them when we're hemorrhaging internally? Some friend. No supporter of Israel has ever been able to explain that one to me.

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hermajestyDec. 30, 13 9:47 AM

albundy74:Actually, foreign aid is only a small component of the national debt. The two largest component is the military budget, especially the recent and still ongoing Iraq and Afghanistan wars (closing in on about $1 trillion each) and all the previous wars of my lifetime, starting with Vietnam. Those wars are the majority of the principal of the national debt, but the interest on the debt is the second largest component.

By the way, it's a mistake to count only the Pentagon budget as military spending. There are also military programs under the Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security, not to mention paying for long-term care for the veterans of all our current and previous wars.

In fact, one of the shameful things about American foreign aid is that so much of it is either military (often used to suppress their own people) or a way for corporations to dump products that they can't sell here.

Furthermore, a lot of foreign aid never shows up in the treasuries of the "recipient" countries. Say that Third World Country X wants to build some roads. The U.S. government pays some U.S. companies to ship outdated road building equipment to Thid World Country X, and it counts as "foreign aid."

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bigbadbeanDec. 30, 1310:12 AM

Foreign aid serves many purposes. One is to buy foreign governments, even those that appear to be hostile to us. Us giving these countries money versus China or Russia giving them money makes sense. "keep your friends close but your enemies closer". James Clavell

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Slider451Dec. 30, 13 1:58 PM

The US can't be compared apples-to-apples with other rich nations, because our gigantic military influences all aspects of this discussion. How do we properly measure DoD money spent in responding to natural disasters around the world? It seems like the US military is always front and center in responding to catastrophes. Also, because we are the western world's policemen, our allies are able to maintain smaller armies and redirect their resources to foreign aid and elsewhere, boosting their credibility at our expense. Change the military balance around the world and these other numbers will all change, too.

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selfmadeDec. 30, 13 3:22 PM

Who on earth would thing the US is miserly?? We waste, I mean "give", billions upon billions of welfare, I mean "aid" to countries who hate us and complain we don't give them enough...I say cut ALL aid to EVERYONE until we get our own country back in order...

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rlwr51Dec. 30, 13 3:54 PM

If we can do this for foreign countries why can't we do it for our own people?

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