In his State of the Union Speech last
night, George Bush proclaimed
a goal of "extending American compassion throughout the
world." That sounds wonderful.
But apparently our compassion will
have to be extended without much -- if any -- additional funding for that
purpose, since it was reported
earlier that very same day that the Bush administration has blocked a widely
supported international plan to double worldwide foreign aid to poor
Many readers may be thinking to
themselves "We already give more than anybody else, so much money, we
just can't afford to give any more." The facts are quite the
Out of all the industrialized
countries, the United States gives the least in proportion to its
resources. We spend one-tenth of one percent (.01%) of our Gross
Domestic Product on helping those abroad. Some of the industrialized
nations devote ten times that percentage of their economic output to foreign
Is it just some fuzzy-headed liberals
who are advocating this plan to double global foreign aid?
Hardly. This effort is supported by Canada, Britain, several other
European nations, the United Nations, and last but not least, that bastion
of radical left-wing, bleeding-heart hand-wringing, the World Bank.
It's only us, by far the richest bastards in the world, who can't seem to
find the moral compass to support the plan.
The American foreign aid budget is $10
billion, a mere 1% of our federal budget. It hasn't been increased for
10 years. Measured as a percentage of our overall economy, you would
have to go back before World War II to find it at a lower level. We're
becoming ever-more stingy and hard-hearted.
Bush has a history of grandiloquent
speech about the Third World poor unaccompanied by any real investment in
doing anything about it. The very first Daily Diatribe six
months ago noted Bush's moving words to the effect that
The needs are many and
undeniable. And they are a challenge to our conscience and to
complacency. A world where some live in comfort and plenty, while
half of the human race lives on less than $2 a day, is neither just, nor
Unfortunately, back then, as now, Bush
didn't appropriate any resources to accomplish his lofty goals.
Bush's words allude to morality
("just") and self-defense ("stable) as reasons for helping
the Third World poor. I don't really expect morality or compassion to
ever move Bush and his ilk to act, but after 9/11 wasn't there widespread
agreement that it was just that global inequity described by Bush which
provided a breeding ground for terrorists?
So far, though, Bush seems to want to
address the security issue by massive increases in our military
expenditures, not by fostering more justice in the world.
Bush's rhetoric both six months ago
about "a challenge to our conscience," as well as last night about
compassion throughout the world," is as hollow as his heart.
article: "America the Most