This one came after what one could expect after a natural disaster; the bumper sticker sound byte that the US doesn't donate enough in foreign aid and charity. It kind of miffed me because you'd think all those "generous" European countries would be thankful for that great doling out called "The Marshall Plan" that allowed them to be so generous today. That aside, the key issue is that the media (surprise) only looks at government spending, not private donations to charity (presumably because the public sector is the only thing that matters).
Regardless, these are some handy charts to save on your memory stick when you get into it with a liberal that demands the US spend more on international aid.
Tis the holiday season and like most normal folk, economists are in the midst of the Christmas/New Year festivities. Which means that like most people we too are festive, over-eating, visiting family and friends, and above all drunk.
But as I have mentioned before, drunk economists are not something to be released into society. We should be treated like hibernating bears;
DO NOT DISTURB!
Alas, leave it to the idiots in the media to rattle our cages and disrupt us from our holiday drunken stupor and incur our wrath.
The idiot that has awoken us is no one individual in particular, but the choir of leftists, democrats, liberals and other varied sorts of socialists whose opinions just happen to be succinctly culminated in an article about the "stinginess" of Americans in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
No more than three days into the horrific events of the earthquake-triggered tsunamis do you have some spoiled brat, daddy paid my way through journalism school, never had to support myself, blame-America-first, editorialist already deriding America and George Bush for their "appalling" lack of response to the tsunami tragedy. This idiot is even so arrogant as to suggest the attire President Bush should wear when giving a theoretical speech about the disaster in south east Asia. But what is even more appalling is that a major "professional" publication would provide this moron a medium by which to spew his garbage to the masses.
But the particular issue I have with this is not stupid editorialists with agendas or stupid publications with agendas, but a leftist myth that almost everyone swallows and you'll be sure to see surfacing as this tsunami tragedy unfolds;
The US donates less than most any other developed nation as a percent of its GDP.
Again it seems the remnants of the Soviet empire and their abandoned pot-smoking, Baby Boomer, 1960's agents of communism are at it again, never sleeping, always trying to destroy capitalism, freedom and all that is good, via misinformation, brainwashing, indoctrination and outright lies.
Sadly they disrupted a slumbering, boozing, hibernating, holidaying economist in the process. And we all know what that means;
A riposte of empirical data and evidence! (a socialist's worst nightmare!)
First off, let's give the leftists their due; they're right.
When it comes to official foreign aid, they're right. The US government does donate on the lower end when it comes to a percentage of GDP. Forget that we don't have to donate this money in the first place. Forget that because our economy is so large and faster-growing than most we can nominally contribute more than anybody else and have it be a smaller percentage of our wealth. And forget that debt forgiveness is not included. Let's just let them have this one and go from there.
The problem is "official foreign aid" only accounts for government contributions. Thus it should be no surprise that countries like Denmark, Germany and France where the government fully accounts for 50% of GDP that they'd be more generous with their taxpayers' money. When private foreign aid is considered, the US is considerably more generous, but then again, when your citizens are not taxed to death, they can afford to be more charitable.
The second issue I have is that "official foreign aid" doesn't account for the largest foreign aid program the US has been running for years. And this foreign aid doesn't go to pits like Sudan or The Republic of Chad, but rather to our developed, 1st world nation status European friends. The program is called "The US Military." The way this program works is that we have this big huge military that is practically omnipresent...so that they don't have to have one! Things like NATO, all our military bases set up during the Cold War, not to mention we forbade Germany and Japan from having militaries, allow countries to cut back spending on tanks, guns and soldiers and allows them to spend money on foreign aid. All one needs to do is look to our Canadian friends to the north. Whilst good hockey players and normally nice folk, capable of repelling a Chinese invasion they are not. Of course they don't have to worry about that because their imperialist warmongering bible-thumping American friends to the south would not let such a thing happen to them(well, maybe Oregon). Alas, a good measure would be to see how much of our GDP is spent on military (pre-Iraq/Afghanistan War) compared to those countries who are so altruistically uber-generous with their taxpayers' money.
It seems being the world's adult....er...I mean "policeman" is not without its costs.
But the larger issue here isn't who spends what on the military or who spends the highest percentage of their GDP on foreign aid. The issue is that in the time it took me to write this blog, no doubt the estimated death number from the tsunamis has increased by 25,000 and the amount of aid the US has pledged has increased by $20 million. With such a dynamic and developing situation that could never beget an immediate finite and final response, how can the left can be so eager and sure to criticize the US and President Bush? It only belies the fact they're being infantile and using the tragedy of 100,000+ people for political gain.
I'm going back to hibernate in my cave.