Posted by frank, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, 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.