With the state of the US economy, should the government continue economic foreign aid?
|The United Nations World food program is asking for urgent relief to assist and prevent a food shortage in North Korea. They are warning that a humanitarian food crisis is about to take place. Why is North Korea in a food shortage? A self imposed economic isolation and refusal to even discuss and reveal their nuclear testing and development program. Not to mention the recent bellicose rhetoric to the South, with the North cutting off nearly all official contacts with the South because of the disapproval over the North's Presidents policies. According to the North it says that aid and economic non-cooperation with the South is causing the North to go without the transfers of South Korean rice and fertilizer it has received for years.
The United States is preparing a donation of half a million tons of grain to North Korea this month through the World Food Program at the United Nations.
There are a number of U.S. lawmakers currently urging the Bush administration to do more to help alleviate food shortages in Haiti. President Bush recently ordered over $200 million of food released from a special reserve in response to appeals from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Members of Congress agree but go further, they want debt relief for Haiti. New York Democrat Gregory Meeks calls for the US to "deal with this humanitarian crisis" in Haiti. Democrat of Michigan, Carolyn Kilpatrick states "We call on President Bush today, help the people of Haiti, feed the children." Two other Democrats from Jan Schakowsky of Ohio and Yvette Clarke of New York argued that the money needed to support this humanitarian crisis is about seven hours of what is spent in one hour in Iraq. Going on to state that they believe the US should be able to scrape up the money to relieve the crisis in Haiti.
Even civil rights leader Jesse Jackson spoke "We can't just look at the Haitian crisis, and people roaming the streets in desperation [and] political upheaval and shrug our shoulders and make this part of the bureaucratic rhythm ." It is estimated by the Center for Global Prosperity that the "official foreign aid" from the US is $15 billion. Americans privately gave $34 billion to overseas aid. US foundations give approximately $1.5 billion per year, US businesses give $2.8 billion annually, American NGs give $6.6 billion in grants, goods, and volunteers, US colleges give out $1.3 billion in scholarships to foreign students and some $18 billion is given by personal remittance from the US to developing countries. Bill Gates in 2002 made a massive donation of $100 million to India over ten years to fight AIDS.
It is expected that 3.5 million people will experience homelessness in a given year. With 1.35 million of that number are children. These numbers are staggering and provided by the United States Census Bureau. The poverty rate is officially 36.5 million people in the US.
In 2006 the U.S. Government spent $406 Billion on interest payments alone to the national debt. In the latest budget projects Community Economic Development Programs, Job Opportunities for Low Income Individuals, Emergency medical Services for Children are all seeing cuts in their budgets. Try to find the exact dollar amounts that are spent on foreign aid is difficult. Every agency, every law maker, and every faction of the government reports different amounts dependent on what they determine as foreign aid verse humanitarian aid verse military support and the war on terror.
There are five major categories of foreign assistance including bilateral development aid, economic assistance supporting U.S. political and security goals, humanitarian aid, multilateral economic contributions, and military aid. According to the Congressional Research Service reports two new foreign aid initiatives were implement - The Millennium Challenge Corporation and the Global AIDS Initiative - which makes the bilateral development assistance the largest of all U.S. aid categories. Some 150 different countries receive some sort of foreign assistance from the U.S. government.
The CRS reported that in Economic aid supporting U.S. political and security objectives using the House and Senate Appropriations Committee reports accounts for 25% of the total dollars spent. Humanitarian assistance accounts for 12% of the assistance, 8% goes to the multilateral assistance, and 23% goes to military assistance. Although the numbers do not equal 100% there seems to be no definitive reporting of the remaining 20-25% of the aid.
The price of gas is creeping closer and closer to the $4.00 mark. The minimum wage in the U.S. is $5.85 more and more people are finding it costs more to go to work than to go on unemployment. Foreclosure rates are skyrocketing. Homeless shelters are full and at times having to turn people away. Food banks are desperate for donations. Schools are underfunded and are having to cut programs. Police are having to park their cruisers rather than patrolling to save gas. The story gets bleaker as the country is in an economic crisis of its own. A humanitarian crisis. A food crisis. A housing crisis.
So my question to the President and Congress, why are we spending trillions of dollars to help other nations in there economic crisis, humanitarian crisis, food crisis, and housing crisis? Why are we even considering sending foreign aid to North Korea when they will not even negotiate with the UN Security Council? Why is every child in the United States not fed, clothed, housed, and educated? Why? That is a question that is not being asked and answered by the politicians. Every U.S. citizen needs to make the U.S. government officials accountable for their actions. Accountable to the children. Accountable to the unemployed. Accountable to the homeless. Accountable to the seniors who can not even afford medication. Accountable to you - the tax paying and voting citizen of the country they represent - The United States of America.