Foreign Aid: Is it making anything better?
Our government handed out $54.5 in foreign aid in the year 2012. This aid goes to many countries; even to our supposed enemies. But, does foreign aid make anything any better for the government or the people of those countries receiving aid?
First we’ll deal with the governments. We start out with a harsh, tyrannical regime, in, lets say, Egypt. Our government hands millions and perhaps billions to the Egyptian government, for free. No directions on how to use the money, or anything. Do you think any money will get to the poor and oppressed? No way! Instead, the money will either be used to strengthen the regime by bribing political figures domestically or in other countries or by increasing their military, or even to buy votes among the already wealthy citizenry. The poor get nearly nothing from the government. The aid only managed to stifle whatever aid there would have been from the country giving the regime money. In fact, even food given to a regime is only resold in local markets to civilians capable of buying it. Very little, if at all, gets to the poor and needy.
Now, lets deal with the needy themselves. Lets say that they do receive the aid. Are they going to be any more likely to try to improve their situation? Why should they, if they can live comfortably at other people’s expense! Why should they grow food to support themselves? Why should they earn a living? They already get what they need.
Lets try to see what happens if the President woke up one morning and cancelled all foreign aid, but not only that, gave the money back to the tax-payers by lowering their taxes. Imagine what a difference that would make! People would have X more dollars to invest in what interests them. The economy would become that much more productive, and then, when a random person, who has benefited along with the benefited economy, hears about starving people in Kenya, he isn’t just going to assume the government is going to increase aid to that country, or that the U.N. is going to intervene between a regime and the people. He is going to try to help, more than likely, by giving to an organization that is there, on the scene, trying to make people’s lives better. There are many instances of private aid that didn’t involve bribing regimes in other countries, and that have had tremendous success in places like the Philippines.
So, we don’t need the State to go intervene in other people’s affairs. And, besides, why should the government stick a gun to one person’s head, steal that person’s money, and then go hand it to some other person? Why can’t the first person give the money instead, without using violence or the threat of violence to achieve that same goal?