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home : opinions : opinions April 15, 2014

12/15/2012 10:00:00 PM
Editorial: Foreign aid: Small dent, big impact
The Daily Courier

The so-called "fiscal cliff" is something Washington created, in more ways than one. But the answer should not involve foreign governments.

We know that Congress has been spending too much money for decades. Just look at all of the IOUs in the Social Security account if you do not believe us. Further, when politics got in the way of the spending, stimulus and, ultimately, the debt ceiling, officials in Washington could not agree on taxes or budget cuts, and foreign governments such as China hold the notes on our debts.

That brings us to today - with looming cutbacks set to slash budgets after New Year's - and President Obama and GOP leaders are unable to agree on the remedy.

All too often critics turn their attention to an old standard: "If we weren't sending so much money overseas, we would be able to take care of our problems at home."

It is a curious predicament. Rebuilding countries with our money, while the needy struggle at home. And, clearly, both Republicans and Democrats have done this, none better or worse than the other.

Is it a valid challenge - keep our money at home? Actually, no.

The federal government sent/spent about $32 billion in 2011. That included foreign/financial aid, health care and rebuilding efforts. But that is only about 1 percent of the entire federal budget.

We deem it an investment of monumental proportions. Foreign aid has saved lives - 4 million people, for example, have been tested and treated for HIV, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

What about struggling Americans?

Consider that good health fights poverty, and goodwill instills peace. And, when the United States does not have to worry about instability overseas, it can better focus on itself.

That is why the federal government continues with foreign aid. How it spends the rest of its budget is the bigger problem.

Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

Somehow I doubt the things that 30 billion figure include. How about all the Iraq/Afganistan stuff? I bet it's like every other gubment figure, inaccurate and on the way low side. Heck, we ARE the Japanese military for godsakes. Have been since WWII. Tell me what that costs.

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: Democrats Represent The New Society

The "Give Me What I Want" and I'll vote for you society. The New Liberal attitude of today.

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: R J

In a way, we, Americans, are getting a lot of foreign aid from China and others......just so materialistic, bloated Americans can get their fill of flat-screen TV's and smart phones. We are a nation of pigs. We devote our lives to owning things we don't need.......buying them with money we don't have have. It is time for that mind set to change.....if we want to survive as a nation.

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: STOP THE SPENDING

Our tax money should stay in our own country and a "tax reform" is needed ASAP. Too much frivolous spending on alot of government programs that make no sense and cuts on the welfare/food stamp line too. Stop spending and higher the taxes on the rich to 40% and don't forget all the "rich loopholes" that keep them so rich.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Learning to Read

@ Deficit R Obama's problem.
Deficits means accruing debt, you have already spent the money, not you have more money to spend. Congress controls purse.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Childish Crap in the Paper

@James- Tip for your crush on Sarah: She eats beef. Fish is for communists.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Deficit Is Obama's Problem

Obama has created a landslide of a deficit since 2008, let him deal with it and give up his expensive Hawaiian vacation until he stops the spending. More taxes isn't going to solve the problem, just give him more to spend. Of course, his big salary is exempt from the fiscal cliff.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: James Madison

@ Gracie xx: Any one day hanging out with Sarah Palin eating Alaskan crab legs and fish would be better than a lifetime sharing tofu veggies at Prescott College with you.

No classes today???

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Steven Ayres

The embarrassingly tiny amounts of money relative to GDP that we reluctantly leak out to assist foreign governments and NGOs for humanitarian aid are indeed invaluable investments in the people they reach and our own image and security. The editor's entrapment in teevee thinking and slapdash writing unfortunately cripple him in his otherwise noble attempt to defend common sense.

Read more at Courierwatch.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Enough is Enough

Not one dollar should go outside the US borders until our budget is ballanced, SS made sound.for this and the next generation.
" Washington has a big mission in Egypt, partly because of a huge aid programme that followed Egypt's signing of a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. The United States gives $1.3 billion to Egypt's military each year and offers the nation other aid" and for what????
Greed has to stop in Washington, world peace is a pipe dream !
At home if you want welfare you by darn need to earn it, lick a stamp ,push a broom and take a pee test, Go to school with your kid you might learn something. The buck stops here!

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Gracie xx

"And, when the United States does not have to worry about instability overseas, it can better focus on itself." Yes, stability overseas, like in the middle east, like in eastern Africa, like in Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc, etc. And better focus on itself? The Congress and the Prez can't focus on this country in the first place, let alone "better" focus on itself.

Oh, and James Madison, you are letting your Sarah Palin side show.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: the wino

since when is 32$BILLION$ is CHUMP-CHANGE???
the U.S.A. has been building countries since WWII.
the WORLD is living off the U.S.$$?
great job! WASHINGTON,D.C.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Ben There

On budget items like this (and there are many others), Citizens should be given a choice whether to include an amount on their tax returns to fund it/them. I would wager that an overwhelming majority would not support it with their own hard earned dollars. Our problem is spending brought on by "scope creep", i.e., the federal government is operating far outside the bounds it is authorized to operate by the Constitution.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: There You Go Again

Hooray to the naive Courier! Once again, simplistic, wishful editorials fill our local newspaper's pages. The fiscal cliff is, indeed, a creation of the government. Both parties seem incapable of stopping over spending. For each tax dollar income, regardless of the amount or rate of taxes, has been spent over the last few decades on average. The 'cliff' is not a cliff for domestic spending or anything of value to the security of the US. Little or no domestic or political cuts have been designed in to the 'cliff' on purpose. We kick the financial can down the road again. Wake up!

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: An American

So tell me, just how much will world peace and ending poverty cost us? Because it is very obvious we have not spent enough yet.....

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: James Madison

Our "goodwill instills peace"? Where? 90% of the money we spend overseas goes right into the pockets of a bunch of dictatorial thugs somewhere.

You've got your blinders on again, writer. Then again, it's the liberal mantra you obviously believe in. "Free Stuff" to all. Makes you feel good, I'll bet.

How's that "world peace" thing working out for ya?

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Tom Steele

Yeah? I would suggest most of that 32 Billion is poorly spent overseas. Maybe food and health aid is appreciated where it is not stolen by the government and sold to their own people. As for 32 Billion being chump change? Old Everett Dirksen once said a billion here a billion there and pretty soon you have real money. Well, I don't consider 32 Billion like looking for change in the living room couch.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Steven Major

The blunder in this editorial is not accounting for the trillions of debt America has acquired by engaging in needless warfare in foreign lands... usually under the drafty cloak of democracy that has been slowly evaporating at home. Debt that cripples us now, and will for generations to come.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: David Kerr

I support giving scholarships to highly qualified young people to study in the U.S.

Google "The ally from hell."
We give billions to Pakistan which funds the Taliban. The IEDs which kill and cripple our military are provided by Pakistan. Some of the IEDs are made in Iran and shipped via Pakistan.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Angus Podgorny

The 5$ per month that a poor family donates to charity should not be what they cut to make ends meat.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Ink Blot

Impeach Earl Warren !

(Rorschach test commenced)

Well done Editor.

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