As I closed with in the last commentary, let’s call it quits and in this last piece, look at the fears and the REAL things the States would gain from ending federal foreign aid. Thanks to Tom and others (public and private comments) for their thoughts on foreign aid.
Whatever the claimed purposes and benefits of dispensing foreign aid, it is nothing but another wasteful and government-promoting scheme of those governments. Most foreign aid fails to provide any real benefit to any ordinary people – especially those really in need of assistance – and instead further enrich the wealthy and powerful, and promote criminal prosperity. Especially corruption. But these practical reasons for opposing foreign aid are not the major thing wrong with it. At the heart of the matter: there is no moral or ethical or constitutional justification for foreign aid. It is NOT benevolence, and there are better, moral and ethical ways to provide assistance to the poor and disadvantaged. (Spoiler: it is PRIVATE, VOLUNTARY ACTION.)
Many of the fears of ending foreign aid, like many of the reasons people use to argue to keep foreign aid going are pretty irrational and again NOT based on reality. So here are some “for” and “against” arguments.
- AGAINST: American jobs are at stake. Yes, some, but less than 1% of our gross national income would likely have far less affect than vaccine mandates and firing anti-maskers and anti-vaccers.
- FOR: We could reduce the federal budget and therefore reduce taxes. Yeah, right. It is a very small percent (less than 2%? – numbers vary) of the FedGov spending sprees – especially with COVID and post-COVID spending. And reduce? With all those other urgent needs? Ha!
- AGAINST: People will hate America more/love America less. History shows no correlation to this idea. For many reasons. As touched on here or worth further discussion later.
- AGAINST: We would cause the world to flip upside down. Yeah, just like we seem to do every five-ten years. Some may hate us more or love us less, but in most countries around the world, public opinion really doesn’t matter and is less than informed. For the rulers, what matters is money and power. A few local or national tyrants and corrupt gov-gangsters might lose, and others might win. A few countries’ governments might collapse. Aid might be a very tiny part of the big picture, or it might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. We can’t say.
- AGAINST: We wouldn’t be carrying out our moral obligations. In a land not as bad as Europe, but still getting worse, this is good for a belly laugh. Many of us don’t seem to care about our moral obligations to our spouses, our children, our other relatives, or our neighbors. Do they think the scales of justice will somehow tip in their favor because the fedgov used some of their money to ship surplus cheese or canned corn to a drought-stricken village in Niger?
- There would be political repercussions in the Fifty States. Yeah? So? The so-called progressives wouldn’t have one more thing to gripe about (since they already claim we don’t send ENOUGH foreign aid). The so-called conservatives would have one less issue? They have plenty enough. (Side note: how many GOP
representatives didn’t get reelected to Congress in 1866 because they no longer had slavery as an issue?) Some corporate-welfare clients (businesses, large and small) would get gored because someone overseas might buy European or Canadian stuff – or even Russian or Chinese stuff. But again, so? There will no doubt be some minor repercussions and some will be blown up to ridiculous levels of noise. But overall, hardly a blip in the polls.
So what would happen?
First, there would be a lot of corrupt chiselers and other parasites that would not have their accustomed income – both at home and abroad. They might not be able to rake off profits from selling USDA surplus corn and cheese and wheat to the poor people in their country. Products stolen several time over. But the US wouldn’t be contributing to their crimes, either. And you know they’d find other ways.
Second, even a small downward tick in the tax-and-spend is possible and cannot really hurt. Prices for some commodities might even drop. Again, there is no way to tell.
Third, if you truly want to help poor, oppressed, and advantaged people, there is a way that does not involve governments and “foreign aid.” It is called private, voluntary donations, either to trustworthy organizations or directly to the people who need it. And THAT would more than replace government programs. For many reasons. It is YOUR CHOICE.
Two last comments, from anonymous readers:
“Foreign aid is when you take money from the poor people of rich countries, and give it to the rich people in poor countries so they can buy weapons to further oppress their citizens.” (TPOL: and to enrich themselves still more.)
Writers like Thomas Woods in 33 Questions About American History You’re Not Supposed to Ask, argue that all foreign aid necessarily hinders development. This school, based upon the research of Peter Bauer, argue that because foreign aid is government-to-government grants by definition, it will invariably be inefficient at using money and will “seek assistance for projects from which it is easier to steal and where spending is harder to monitor.” Tom Woods also argues that foreign aid can “undermine the basic contract between the government and the governed” and allow governments to spend without having to raise tax revenue from productive work.