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Right Intention: Welfare for the World

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Welfare for the World

Here is yet another article on how cheap the US is:

Global poverty can be cut in half by 2015 and eliminated by 2025 if the world’s richest countries including the United States, Japan and Germany more than double aid to the poorest countries, hundreds of development experts concluded in a report Monday.

Oh is that all? Just double the amount the US gives now, which is multiples of anyone else? And I'm sure the editor forced the journalist to include Japan and Germany, to give the illusion of balanced reporting. But the target of the article is the US.

I have tremendous sympathy for the world's poor. That said, I cannot sign on to the welfare concept. It doesn't work. Simply giving people stuff ultimately fosters dependency, resentment and a sense of entitlement. The best way to help the world's poor is to help their countries create responsible governments so that the private sector will invest. Why the left puts so little value on economic development I'll never understand.

But trying to get the United States and the other rich nations to double or triple the amount of development assistance they give is expected to be an uphill struggle — and the target of a major lobbying effort.

Good luck trying to convince the American public to double or triple our already generous contributions. I get the sense that Americans are growing weary of the demands constantly placed upon us.

“The required doubling of annual official development assistance to $135 billion in 2006, rising to $195 billion by 2015, pales beside the wealth of high income countries — and the world’s military budget of $900 billion a year,” the report said.

The United States now spends only about 0.15 percent of its GDP on development aid, well below the 0.7 percent figure, Sachs said.

Considering the US military budget is around half the world figure, it's clear the author is complaining about us again. Spend less on the military and more on welfare for the world. Oh, and by the way, keep all your existing military commitments. Keep defending Europe for free, keep all the sea lanes open, give our soldiers and equipment to the UN for peacekeeping duties, etc. Again the expectation is for the US to do everything.

And don't you just love the calculation the NGOs use for generosity? The "0.15 percent of its GDP on development aid" nonsense? It conveniently ignores all other types of aid such as food aid, or our exceedingly generous private donations, or our military, which is more or less an international police force. The twisting and contorting that these NGOs have to go through to find a statistic that makes the US look stingy would make a gold medal winning gymnast look stiff. I wish I had a girlfriend that flexible when I was single. The fun I would have had. Sigh.


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