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    Greg and Beth

    the political and personal musings of two
    mountaineers living in west-central Florida
     
    On Foreign Aid Comment
    Gregory Morris, 5/5/08 11:06:03 am
    You hear things like this almost every year. The US spends huge amounts of your money to provide the poor, starving people in far-away lands with food.

    As far as I can tell, there's nothing "humanitarian" about this. Hear me out. We are basically putting a US flag on a bag of rice, and making sure that starving people in third-world nations learn to rely on it. The truth is, the goal of foreign aid, food or otherwise, is to promote US interests in other countries. Saying anything else is dishonest. (Actually, the Bush administration isn't lying. In fact they are very specific about why the food is being sent, and it has nothing to do with feeling good and helping the needy.)

    So, is the cost to taxpayers worth the results? If it is about denying terrorists a safe-haven, then I'd say yes, at least in the short term. Gathering support for the US is developing nations is a Good Thing. The problem is, giving food to someone doesn't help them prosper, it only makes them rely on us. That means in order to stay in their good graces, we must continue paying the bribes.

    Of course, quite often that food doesn't even reach the people it was intended for, at least not without the local warlord tax. It is futile to attempt to "help" starving people by giving them food anyway. You know the old saying about teaching a man to fish... In the long-term, giving food to a needy nation is a poor solution. Encouraging economic and in turn social stability, will create a place where terrorists are not tolerated. Ultimately extremists lower the quality of life wherever they are in control. In America, we've learned that capitalism and liberty leads to economic prosperity. Economic prosperity, in turn, abhors extremism.

    That's why I'm happy when I find organizations like ECHO. Basically, they are a non-profit organization near Ft. Meyers, FL that figures out ways to grow food and cash crops in places where it usually is thought to be difficult or impossible. They provide both seeds and education for potential farmers in third-world nations. They also do research and help develop new strains of plants to meet the needs of farmers in different areas.

    And it doesn't cost $2.1 billion dollars of your hard-earned money. It does take money to do, but organizations that run on donations only use the money (and time) that is given to them willfully by their donors.

    I'm not saying that I am entirely against US aid in other countries. I'm all for disaster relief, for instance... but any time you hear about a large-scale, long-term aid package, consider why the government is doing it, how much it is costing you, and how much it will actually help.

    [Comments are closed after a month.]

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