Roman Stoad’s Rules for the Road: Stop Signs on the Highway to a Better World

2011 January 31
by Roman Stoad

All Foreign Aid

Given the recent insurrection in Egypt, it has come to the public’s attention that we are giving the Egyptian dictator 1.6 billion in aid every year, and I believe we are giving the Israelis twice as much—some 3 billion every year. Most of this is going to their respective militaries. In the case of Israel, a third goes to the construction of the settlements; we are therefore financing the main obstacle to peace negotiations.  My point is this: America could go some (admittedly small) way in solving our deficit problem by declaring a moratorium on foreign aid for perhaps ten years. Let the world fend for itself while we put our own house in order. What could go wrong?

Apparently a lot. Many believe that if the US stopped supporting Israel, that country would simply be gone in a few years. This may be true. Or they may be forced to give in and make a peace agreement with the Palestinians, (something which, thanks to wikileaks, we now know they have no  interest in).  In either case a major world headache will be over. This would be superior to the “nuclear wasteland solution” in which Jerusalem and its surrounds are turned into a toxic desert and there is nothing more to fight over. Indeed, without our “aid” all sorts of world problems might melt away. Think of the dictators who could be overthrown. In hindsight, maybe even the Shah might have been gone early on and we could have a democratic Iran today. One might even think of cutting foreign aid as a “Peace Cut.” We could, as well, use the money we save as a stimulus against our recession. If we divided the money we give to Israel and Egypt alone amongst our own population, every individual would get more than $1,125/year (or three times that if we cancelled foreign aid altogether). That should get the economy rolling.

Total US foreign aid is about 21 billion per year. Granted this is a small fraction of our GDP, (14.12 trillion) which incidentally is about ten times our deficit, (1.48 trillion and counting). No one intends to pay any of this aid back and no one is reciprocating with their own gifts, so why are we doing it, especially when we can’t even afford to take care of ourselves. Plenty of other budgets get the axe: education being one. Remember, Bush cut 3.1 billion for education and he seemed to think that would make a difference. Even as I type this Cuomo is cutting the education budget for NY State.

Now neither Israel nor Egypt is a “developing” or needy country, so let’s stop giving them money. This is not to say we should not engage in humanitarian aid to countries suffering from disasters or chronic poverty. Bangladesh could probably use more than the 80 million they get.  I am sure Palestine would like to get at least as much as Israel, or even as much as Jordan, for that matter, which is paid some 400 million to leave Israel alone.  The strategy doesn’t work.  America is like a bad parent giving money to the prettiest kids; it almost guarantees the others will turn to crime.

Rand Paul agrees with Roman on this. Here’s a excerpt from a Wolf Blitzer interview with Rand:

Interviewer Wolf Blitzer then asked about foreign assistance, asking if he wanted to end “all foreign aid.” Paul said yes, and Blitzer asked him about aid to Israel.

“Well, I think what you have to do is you have to look,” Paul said. “When you send foreign aid, you actually [send] quite a bit to Israel’s enemies. Islamic nations around Israel get quite a bit of foreign aid, too.

“You have to ask yourself, are we funding an arms race on both sides? I have a lot of sympathy and respect for Israel as a democratic nation, as a, you know, a fountain of peace and a fountain of democracy within the Middle East.”

Blitzer pressed, “End all foreign aid including the foreign aid to Israel as well. Is that right?” he asked.

Paul answered, “Yes.”

The tear gas canisters flying through the Egyptian air are made in the USA, as is much of the military hardware.

Therefore Roman says “Go Rand!”
Rand Paul is a member of the Tea Party.
Roman Stoad is a member of the Substance Abuse Party (SAP)
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