Friday, June 17, 2005

U.S. Foreign Aid

In 2003, the United States government allocated one percent of its budget to foreign aid. As a country we give about 0.1 % of the gross national product in foreign aid. This is fairly embarrassing, even if the U.S. donations are the largest in dollar amounts (because we are the richest guys on the block). Embarrassing, because countries such as Norway, Sweden and Luxembourg donate a much larger GNP percentage. The Netherlands gives almost one third of the American portion and there are not very many Dutch people in this world.

Against this background, consider the following news item:

Rebuffing President Bush's wishes, a Republican-led House panel slashed the administration's request for a program that aids global development.

Under the Millennium Challenge Account, countries are eligible for extra aid only if they control corruption, invest in health and education and encourage trade and private investment.

In 2002, Bush called for "a new compact for global development, defined by new accountability for both rich and poor nations alike. Greater contributions from developed nations must be linked to greater responsibility from developing nations."

He requested $3 billion in the fiscal 2006 budget, but the House Foreign Operations Subcommittee on Thursday recommended $1.75 billion, which is $262 million more than last year.

The U.S. military budget is about 350 billion dollars, excluding emergency funds for the continuing wars.

Might it not be cheaper to control terrorism by giving more foreign aid?