Wednesday, December 29, 2004
On American Generosity
Is $1 trillion a year "Stingy"?
Ok, the UN this week provide a great example of why they have close to zero credibility with the U.S. voting public. U.N.'s Emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland said that rich countries are 'stingy' with their foreign aid. In particular he cited that some of the richest countries (i.e. the U.S.A), give less than 0.2% (again the U.S.A) of their gross national product to aid poorer nations. Mr. Egeland's criticism doesn't tell the whole story.
Each year the United States gives direct foreign aid of around $24 billion dollars, which pales in comparison to what we spend on defense, but is more than any other nation.
Second, every year private citizens of the United States give $238 Billion to private charitable organizations to do work in poor areas around the world. That's nothing to sneeze at, but this money is funneled through NGO's and it is hard for governments and the U.N. to get a cut of it. (Maybe that's why it isn't mentioned much).
Finally, every year the people of the United States buy $600 billion more in goods and services from around the world than we sell. This means that every year we transfer $600 billion dollars of our wealth to other countries who produce goods and services we need. Even with lower pay rates such as those in China, our purchases provide a good living for workers in those countries.
So, while I'm all for criticism where criticism is due, the notion that the U.S. is stingy is beyond the pale. It's too bad that the Mr. Egeland and many of the more liberal bloggers can't see beyond their desire to believe the worst about the U.S.