COMMENTARY | Foreign aid is often caught in a tug of war between supporters claiming it's merely a small overall percentage of the bloated US budget, and opponents claiming it provides $50 billion in foreign welfare annually and the impact to American taxpayers is unconstitutional and immoral.
Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) is a strong opponent of foreign aid, a position which is finding growing support from fellow Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. The difference between Paul and his opponents is Paul's black and white approach; an approach which he clearly defines and embraces, while others attempt to blur the lines of their own positions. According to Paul, "No foreign aid should exist. Foreign aid is taking money from poor people in rich countries and giving it to rich people in poor countries." The positions of Romney and Gingrich are that, "All foreign aid should be zeroed out and reevaluated" as stated in a recent GOP debate. Zeroed out certainly could mean ending foreign aid, however it could also mean starting over and increasing foreign aid; notice the blurry lines.
If you track who we send our tax dollars to and why, you will understand why stopping all foreign welfare uniformly is a must; we can't pick and choose recipients because doing so will lead us back to where we are right now.
America pays Pakistan to increase their military so they can assist the US in fighting terrorism. We pay Israel so they can maintain a military presence against Palestine, and to maintain superiority in the region in light of the increasing Pakistani military, which we funded. We also pay aid to Jordan so they will leave Israel alone, even though Israel is strong enough to stand on their own. And this reverse cycle of one hand washes the other often equates to the US being on both sides of a conflict; how can that be tax dollars well spent?
Supporters of foreign aid will claim that some humanitarian aid also stems from the same budget. While it is true that some humanitarian good is accomplished, it does not outweigh the harm that is caused by the budget's commitment to over 80% of its funding militarily.
Stopping foreign aid is not the same as stopping humanitarian aid. Humanitarian aid is funding provided during natural disasters to help victims, while foreign aid is the constant redistribution of American tax dollars which contributes to the creation of future victims. America funded Gaddafi's regime in Libya for decades, allowing him to amass a 300+ aircraft air force with American tax dollars; the same air force we recently destroyed, all in the name of freeing the victims we helped to enslave by empowering a dictator.
If America can't remove our commitment to foreign welfare, how will we ever cut enough spending domestically to achieve the economic prosperity we once championed?
- Congressman Ron Paul
- Newt Gingrich
- Foreign aid
- Mitt Romney