Tuesday, February 24, 2009

U.S. Foreign Assistance: Too little, too late!

Source of graph: The Economist

France, Germany and the United Kingdom together have a population of about 205 million compared to a population of 304 million in the United States. They have a combined GDP of $7.15 trillion compared to $14.58 trillion in the United States. Yet they provide $32 billion in foreign aid compared to $21.8 billion from the United States.

Notice that the United States is providing about half the percentage of its GDP as official development assistance as do these relatively large European nations, and less than one-quarter of the percentage provided by the Scandinavian countries and Holland.

There are explanatory factors. We spend more on the military than do other countries. We also provide tax breaks to our citizens who donate to charities, and thus provide tax financing to charitable organizations working in international development. Still, the United States could and should do more.

Incidentally, put the U.S. contribution in the context of the stimulus bill of the bailout of the financial industry and the inadequacy of $21 billion to the problem of world poverty is very clear. Moreover, that $21 billion in not directed to the places where it would help the most poor people, but is focused on support of our political objectives in places like Iraq, Israel and Egypt.

No comments: