Via the National Economics Editorial.
A Fool & His Money Are Easily Parted
America’s generous and stupid.
We’re generous—and by “we” I mean the government, who’s taken it upon themselves to graciously give our money away on our behalf—because we gave away over $190 billion dollars last year.
We’re stupid because:
- The money went to corrupt, and occasionally evil despotic regimes or organizations.
- We have more than enough problems at home that could’ve used that money.
Show Me The Money: Where Does US Foreign Aid Go?
We let almost $200 billion slip through our fingers every year?
1. Basic Foreign Aid Funding
Last year we spent over $30 billion in foreign aid—the budget for 2017 is $34 billion.
What is foreign aid?
Ideally, the main purpose of foreign aid is to help people in developing countries: we give them money to build things like roads and schools, and everybody’s happy. It’s like America’s ‘just think of the children’ fund.
But in reality it’s mostly a basket of money for “deplorables”.
And no, I’m not talking about your red-hat wearing average American patriot—I’m talking about countries with murderous dictators like Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, who evicted half a million white farmers from their homes, and murdered 20,000 of his own people in the Gukurahundi killings.
We’re giving him $160 million—yes it’s earmarked for Zimbabwe, but it’s a de facto dictatorship—Mugabe gets the cash. Period.
I guess that since he hasn’t committed genocide in a while we’ve forgiven him.
Who else gets money? Egypt. They get $1.3 billion.
I guess the fact that they democratically elected the Muslim Brotherhood wasn’t a big enough wake-up call. Perhaps we shouldn’t be injecting money and weapons into an already destabilized, and potentially hostile country.
Or maybe that’s exactly what we should be doing. The government things so.
They’re also giving $740 million to Pakistan—the nuclear-armed country where Osama Bin Laden hid out.
The icing on the cake is Syria: they get $240 million in American foreign aid.
Where will that money go? Your guess is as good as the State Department’s.
Maybe Assad will get some, maybe the “moderate rebels”, maybe ISIS. Hard to say—the place is a total mess.
2. United Nations Operational Costs
America’s funding for the United Nations (UN) will cost us just over $5 billion in 2017.
I don’t have a lot to say about this one—at best it’s a giant waste of money that gives a voice to dictatorships like Saudi Arabia and Cuba; at worst it’s a dysfunctional and corrupt pseudo-government.
Saudi Arabia sits on the UN Human Rights Council—the country’s clearly a bastion of freedom, if you couldn’t tell.
3. Defense & Military Subsidies For Our Allies
Here’s the big kahuna: the US spends $150 billion on foreign military bases every year, according to David Vine’s bestselling book Base Nation.
That’s a lot of money. Especially since a lot of it goes to defending wealthy places like Germany or Japan.
Japan, for example, is defended at a cost of $5.5 billion a year. Japan’s rich.
America’s South Korean bases cost us $2.2 billion a year. Korea’s rich.
They can afford to take care of themselves—or they could pay us to do it.
I’m With Stupid: What We Could Buy Instead
This may come as shock to some, but a nation only works if it’s accompanied by a little thing called nationalism.
No nationalism, no nation.
And I’m not talking about the waving flags and flipping burgers on the 4th of July kind of nationalism.
I mean real nationalism—that means prioritizing your own citizens above those of other nations. Without this, the whole system falls apart.
With that in mind, here are 3 things America could have spent that money on:
1. US Department of Veterans Affairs
We all agree that our veterans don’t get the medical or vocational rehabilitation they need—the US Department of Veterans Affairs is underfunded:their budget is only $182 billion.
By redirecting the money we spend caring for other country’s people, we could double spending on our veterans—without raising any new taxes or cutting any services.
2. Helping the Homeless
There are over 500,000 chronically homeless people in the US—not to mention the 23 million who are unemployed. These people are totally destitute, they live on the streets like the refugees everyone cares so much about—these are our countrymen.
If we’re going to give the money away, we should care for our own people first.
Here’s a fun fact: given that the median price to build a new home (2470 square feet) is $290,000, we could build every homeless person in America a brand new house for $145 billion—less than what we give away every year.
NASA needs money—their budget is only $19 billion a year.
We can’t even put an astronaut into space anymore, it’s a national disgrace—we could fund 10 NASAs for the cost of our ‘generosity’.
We’re On The Same Side
Most people want to help their fellow man—and they want the government to do it for them.
We’re left with a choice: we can either endlessly debate the role of government, which never seems to get us anywhere.
Or, we can focus on how to best allocate the money we’re currently spending.
Let’s go with option number 2 and put America first.