Our nation is reeling economically. Regardless of whether it has impacted your life on a large scale or just in minor ways, it cannot be denied that a major problem exists, and it is not going away. Gas prices are the first item we normally bring up when talking about monetary burdens, but there are so many others we don’t often think about. Have you seen the rise in food prices? These cost increases span nearly every genre of food at the supermarket. Our national credit rating has dropped for the first time ever. Our currency value lags below many others. Unemployment remains stagnant. Healthcare costs continue to rise sharply with the creeping implementation of Obamacare. You don’t even want to know what’s on the horizon come January 1st, 2013 (which we’ll be discussing between now and the election). One major cost to our nation that you probably don’t even think of is aid to other foreign nations, coming directly from our tax dollars. Guess what? That cost is skyrocketing too.
Just to ensure we’re all on the same page, foreign aid is the money the United States sends to other nations, which is then used for specific items or projects those nations need. Problem is, those dollars aren’t always used in the way they were intended, especially when providing funds to dictatorial nations. We won’t delve into that part of the subject, but it’s a fact worth noting in this discussion.
According to the U.S. Treasury, from 2008 through 2011, the Obama administration increased our foreign aid spending from $11,427,000,000 to $20,599,000,000 – an 80% increase. The 2012 totals for foreign aid are expected to eclipse the 2011 levels. To put this into perspective, that 2011 total is 76% more than this administration spent on our national border security. Prior to President Obama’s inauguration, our foreign aid spending had been decreasing by billions in the previous four years, all while two wars were raging.
So why does this matter?
First of all, the homeland should always come first. As has been noted, we are in dire economic times. Our government spending has caused the debt to rise above $16,000,000,000,000 – over $5,000,000,000,000 during the Obama administration alone. That’s right. Nearly one-third of our national debt has been racked up in just over three and a half years. Seeing as it has been 236 years since we declared our independence from Great Britain, that’s a colossal number.
Now let me disturb you a little bit more. If every man, woman and child in the United States today were to contribute an equal amount to bring the debt to zero, we would all owe $138,345 apiece. You may have credit card debt, loan debt, etc., but nothing can compare to the debt you are now forced to cover due to the spending of our government. Every new baby born into this country owes our national treasury the moment it enters this world.
When debt can be seen and experienced at a personal level, it really put things into perspective, huh?
It also matters because of the nations themselves. Take a look at this sampling of the countries receiving foreign aid since 2009:
• North Korea
Notice that the majority of these nations are seen as enemies and dangers to our future existence. Some are constant threats while others, like Yemen and Egypt, are now becoming much more anti-American. We are providing funds to these nations that can then be used against us. Just as we funded Osama Bin Laden and Afghanistan against the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1979, this could easily come back to hurt us.
The main point of this discussion is twofold. First, we cannot provide twenty billion dollars a year to other nations when our own country is in deep trouble. Though that number is a drop in the bucket compared to our overall debt, it is essential that certain items are cut from our spending list. It is the job of our leaders to ensure that our economic solvency returns, and this is one place where a big chunk of money can be removed from our future expenditures. Secondly, the money sent to these nations goes right to the hands of their leaders, who then decide where the money goes. Many of the nations we provide aid to are ruthless dictatorships. Those leaders hoard the money for themselves, never reaching the intended destinations. We cannot control where the money goes once it is out of our hands, making it even more essential that we do not spend one more penny that is not guaranteed to end up where it belongs.
Even George Washington showed concern for this subject in his Farewell Address of 1796:
“The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in
extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political
connection as possible… Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of
any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of
European ambition, rivalships, interest, humor, or caprice? It is our
true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of
the foreign world.”
In 2012, it’s now time to focus on domestic aid instead.