Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - December 10, 2010

Letters

Spend money on Americans

Dear Editor,

It's obvious we, as a country and as citizens, are mired in financial difficulty. Unemployment is too high, home foreclosures are too high, our debts are too high, and excess amounts of labor are exported to other countries. We need to address this issue promptly.

One alternative may be to dramatically reduce our foreign aid to other countries. We are in a jam and need to cut back our expenses -- just as we have to do at our homes.

Let us help ourselves by reducing foreign aid by at least one half. We can't go on helping other countries when our own citizens are hurting so much. Put that foreign aid savings in domestic programs relieving our debt, unemployment, foreclosures, etc.

What is your response to reducing foreign aid using those dollars to relieve some of our financial mess? We request your answer.

Howard and Emilie Seebach

Comments

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Dec 10, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Folks, your suggestion is interesting and as I was growing up as a child I recall people complaining about how much the U. S. was spending on "foreign aid". At that time we were still spending large amounts re-building the European countries devastated during WWII. But that was long ago and until now I have heard no one in many years now suggesting we are spending large sums on foreign aid. I wish you had put out some numbers, so readers could decide for themselves whether your suggestion can actually meaningfully contribute to a solution of the problem of our current economic crisis.

So, a little research on the web comes up with about $28B spent by the U. S. on foreign aid in 2007. If one adds foreign military aid of $13B to this number (not war costs), we arrive at $41B. More recent numbers - I have not yet found, however, the sources for 2007 show past years numbers indicate this number has not grown year over year.

So how does $41B compare? If half of this amount were re-directed, where can it help? And how does this amount compare to other foreign expenditures?

Here is a snippet for a September Congressional report:

"With passage of the FY2010 supplemental, cumulative war funding totals $1.12 trillion including
$751 billion for Iraq, $336 billion for Afghanistan, and $29 billion for enhanced security. In FY2010,
Afghanistan receives about 60% of the total and Iraq 40%, a reversal of the previous year." $41B is really quite small compared to these numbers.

If half of $41B were re-directed.... The tax cut bill currently being considered has $56B for unemployment extension benefits paid over two years, part of the $900B addition to our deficit that this bill will produce. About ten months of the extended benefits could be covered with the re-directed money suggested in this post. This would leave the proposed deficit produced to be around $880B.

I leave it to the reader to make other comparisons of what could be done with half ($20B) of the annual foreign aid stipend....and how far it would go in solving the current economic crisis.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 10, 2010 at 8:49 pm

Where does the $1.12 trillion go to? Does it just vanish? The money has to go somewhere? So where does it go?


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Dec 10, 2010 at 9:16 pm

The number in the congressional report is "cumulative war funding totals", which means you are looking in the rear view mirror. Much of the $1.12T is money already spent fighting the wars. Is it hard to understand where the $776B went fighting the Bush-justified war in Iraq? This obviously was real money spent.


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