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Foreign Aid
Old 06-09-2011, 03:27 PM   #1
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Foreign Aid

With the country in the fix it's in, the economy in the tank, unemployment at very high levels, spending is out of hand and everyone trying to get a handle on it, I ask a question. What are your thoughts on foreign aid? I could never figure out why we do what we do for other countries and then get the finger for doing it. Why don't we just stop all foriegn aid? Bring all the troups home, keep all the money at home and set up the most formidable defense the world has ever seen. Nobody gets in anymore. No more visas. Seal up this country like a drum. Put most of our returning troups on the borders.

On the other hand, I have heard that foreign aid is really a money making proposition. A lot of the foreign aid is not in the form of cash, rather goods and services. I don't necessarily agree with this but thought I would ask this very knowledgeable forum. What say you?
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Old 06-09-2011, 03:44 PM   #2
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Yea, this keeps me up at night. It must be, what, 1% of our budget?

http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pi...nadara/670.php
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Old 06-09-2011, 03:52 PM   #3
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Old 06-09-2011, 03:58 PM   #4
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Yes, typically foreign aid is in the form of a coupon good for $100 million worth of goods from US manufacturers (or other country, according to who the donor is). It's a kind of ongoing economic stimulus plan. Opinion seems to be divided as to how effective it is.

That said, 1% of US GNP would raise the standard of living of everyone in the US by 1%; it potentially makes a hell of a difference in other countries.

If you include military aid, Israel (plus countries who are paid to leave Israel alone) probably accounts for the biggest share. Other big recipients are Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. I guess that in some cases it's cheaper to have them slightly onside than totally ticked off; in others, there's probably a sense of guilt at what outside intervention has done to their country economically.
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Old 06-09-2011, 04:10 PM   #5
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That said, 1% of US GNP would raise the standard of living of everyone in the US by 1%; it potentially makes a hell of a difference in other countries.
It is 1% of the budget, not 1% of GDP. Big difference.
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Old 06-09-2011, 04:42 PM   #6
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Foreign aid is mostly bribes, and as been pointed out not a big deal. But any benefits are likely a push at best. But some of the other issues mentioned by OP are much bigger fish- like the defense budget. It is going to be cut, if for no other reason than so much money will be going to interest that our geniuses in government will have no choice.

Why not get clever and do it now?


And, does anyone other than military and the defense industry think our colossal "defense" budget is more important to our welfare than SS and Medicare?

I know how medicare and SS helps me; how making dedicated enemies all over the muslim world helps me I am still trying to understand.

Some young people may think, Oh I don't like mom and dad much anyway, let them swing. But it may not go down that way. Nothing to prevent legislation that would put the grateful kiddies on the hook.

Ha
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Old 06-09-2011, 05:00 PM   #7
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I told the Taliban to make sure they get you when they come.

The rest of us though will be spared.

And by the way, you could zero out the defense budget and yet SS and Medicare (together) will still bankrupt the country. And if you do that (zero defense) how are the do-gooders going to keep bombing the likes of Libya and Yeman until they like us better.
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Old 06-09-2011, 05:49 PM   #8
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Easy now.
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Old 06-09-2011, 06:17 PM   #9
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Easy now.
I think this is merely banter.

Ha
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Old 06-09-2011, 08:57 PM   #10
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So you say the defense budget is coming down? Would it not help then to bring all the troups home? I'm talking ALL troups. Japan, Germany, England, Iraq, all over the middle east, etc. Know why we can't do that?
No jobs for the returning troups. So that idea will not work.
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Old 06-10-2011, 07:43 AM   #11
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Some young people may think, Oh I don't like mom and dad much anyway, let them swing.
While we probably will not be around to see it, it would be interesting to observe what they feel when they are our age, and their own childern have the same thoughts ...
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Old 06-10-2011, 07:50 AM   #12
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Foreign Aid = Diversion. It ranks second to "Waste" in the red herring department.

Both are flogged endlessly by those who live in the fantasy land where you can cut taxes, maintain benefits to the elderly, and balance the budget.

In a rationale world where "everything is on the table" 'everything' certainly includes foreign aid. But it mostly includes the much more important things like taxes, SS, Medicare and defense.
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Old 06-10-2011, 09:13 AM   #13
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I'm ok with spending the 1% or so of our federal budget on foreign aid. A 50 lb sack of rice or a whole series of immunizations for a village of youngsters that will save lives is ok with me. I don't mind my proportionate share of taxes ($50 or so??) going to these purposes. A dollar means a lot more to a poor family abroad getting by on a few bucks a day than it does to a "poor" family in the US who is getting by on dozens of dollars of subsidies every day. I say that with a little perspective - DW grew up in developing nation dirt poor conditions and quite literally starved during her youth before coming to America. Now some in her family here in the US get many thousands of dollars every year in various forms of welfare, but they don't really need it.
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Old 06-10-2011, 09:36 PM   #14
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if you haven't read the book by Peter Singer "the life you can save" or visited his website you should. Here is an article, along with a link to a paper on exactly what foreign aid the US gives. the mentioned book outlines how you can give money that actually will make a difference in someone's life.

Misconceptions about foreign aid | A Thinking Reed

and a government document that outlines exactly what we give ( almost all to Israel, Afghanistan and Egypt)

http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/124970.pdf

It isn't as much as most people think, and a lot of it goes to wealthier nations, not the poorest of the poor.
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Old 06-12-2011, 12:25 PM   #15
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And, does anyone other than military and the defense industry think our colossal "defense" budget is more important to our welfare than SS and Medicare?
Even Mullen and Gates recognize that defense needs to be cut. The sky won't fall down (and the Taliban won't invade us) if we follow Gates' suggestions. I'm making the assumption that he knows more about the state of the military than, say, defense cheerleaders on the internet.
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Old 06-12-2011, 12:36 PM   #16
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I recall reading, many many years ago, an item written by someone in situ, (somewhere in West Africa, I believe), about an aid shipment, grain or somesuch, that came from the US......as the sacks rolled down the conveyor belt an individual was slapping labels on them, written in the local language, that said "A gift from the people of the USSR".
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Old 06-14-2011, 07:16 AM   #17
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Even Mullen and Gates recognize that defense needs to be cut. The sky won't fall down (and the Taliban won't invade us) if we follow Gates' suggestions. I'm making the assumption that he knows more about the state of the military than, say, defense cheerleaders on the internet.
Talks of defense reductions always makes me think of the draw downs of the early 90's. The Air Force was on track to meet the Defense Department's goal within the required timeline. Congress, however, wanted it done quicker than their initial timeline. As a result many good people left the service and essential items were not purchased. The cream left and the people who stayed were those unable to find a good job in private industry or the zealots. The zealots were great you knew where they stood and what they wanted the others were idiots and made life hell. I remember skipping firearms qualifications, because we did not have ammo to shoot. I also remember airplanes being cannibalized because there weren't any parts for repairs.

As long as any draw down is done rationally by the military leadership, without the meddling of Congress, it should be fine. I just don't see that happening. Congress has a tough time not meddling in things it knows little about.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:32 PM   #18
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It is 1% of the budget, not 1% of GDP. Big difference.
I just read thread and have been thinking about deficit issues in relation to foreign aide. Obviously eliminating it won't balance the budget. But I guess I think of it in terms such as, why does a person get food stamps, yet has a cell phone and cable tv? Obviously eliminating the cell phone isn't going to give them enough money to pay the food bill, it's just the principle of the matter. If people are going to lose any Medicare or SS benefits down the road, they would expect the foreign aide to be reduced first as a matter of principle, right or wrong.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:39 PM   #19
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I just read thread and have been thinking about deficit issues in relation to foreign aide. Obviously eliminating it won't balance the budget. But I guess I think of it in terms such as, why does a person get food stamps, yet has a cell phone and cable tv? Obviously eliminating the cell phone isn't going to give them enough money to pay the food bill, it's just the principle of the matter.
In my state, qualifying for food stamps means you also qualify for a free government provided cell phone.
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:53 AM   #20
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Misconceptions about foreign aid | A Thinking Reed

and a government document that outlines exactly what we give ( almost all to Israel, Afghanistan and Egypt)

http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/124970.pdf

It isn't as much as most people think, and a lot of it goes to wealthier nations, not the poorest of the poor.
I recall reading an article in the late 80s that stated that at that time about 90% of foreign was going to 5 countries.

Israel - Help them protect themselves from their neighbors
Egypt - Keep them from attacking Israel
Philippines - Strategic position in the western Pacific. This was when we had military bases there.
Pakistan - Strategic position in south Asia with respect to the USSR and China.
Turkey - Control USSR access to the Mediterranean.

The take-away was that most foreign aid was going to further our geo-political interests.
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