Americans are ‘Cheapskates’ over Lack of Foreign Aid Spending?
By: Warner Todd Huston
Leave it to a liberal to claim that Americans are “cheapskates” because our government does not spend enough money on foreign aid. In the L.A.Times for April 13th, that is just what we are treated to with Rosa Brooks’ screed titled, “To the rest of the world, we’re cheapskates” and subtitled, “The U.S. international affairs budget — which helps fight AIDS, poverty and more — is just 1% of total spending.” But, by attacking our country over its record on charity and foreign aid spending, Brooks proves that she neither understands the nature of American generosity, nor the American character.
So why is it that Brooks contends that we are “cheapskates”? How is it that we supposedly show that we don’t care about the rest of the world? Brooks contends that it is because we don’t have enough government spending on the international affairs budget.
In fact, the international affairs budget is a 98-pound weakling of a budget, a puny thing that regularly gets sand kicked in its face by the big bruisers over at the Defense Department.Weighing in at $36.5 billion for fiscal year 2008, the international affairs budget annually accounts for only about 1% of total federal expenditures.
Wow. We are “cheapskates” now because the budget of one of our government programs is somehow too small? With this, Brooks proves she completely misunderstands America and also that she is just another boring big government liberal.
Someone should remind Mz. Brooks that it isn’t the American way to show its character and generosity via compulsory government spending. In fact, Americans constantly give more money to charitable causes than any other people in history and certainly more than any other nation today.
According to the the Giving Institute, charitable giving in the USA has been increasing steadily for several years. In 2003 Americans gave $240.72 billion to charitable causes which was a 2.8% increase over the amount donated in the year 2000. In 2005 giving rose a more amazing 6% with a grand total of $260.28 billion in donations to philanthropic causes.
By contrast the rest of the world isn’t nearly as giving as Americans. According to CAF International, Americans individually give 1.67% of GDP whereas the UK gives only .73% while Canada gives only .72%. From there the bottom drops out with Australia giving only .69% and the rest at 40% or less. Unsurprisingly, France brings up the tail with .14% of GDP.
Americans are far and away the more generous people, so don’t tell us we are “cheapskates”, Mz. Brooks.
Still, what does this mean to that â€œthe rest of the worldâ€ Brooks imagines is looking down on us?
And the rest of the world has taken note. In January, a BBC poll found that around the globe, only 29% of people now think that the U.S. has a “mainly positive influence in world affairs,” while 52% considered our influence “mainly negative.”
Ridiculously, Brooks links the assumed paucity of the budget of a US program to this perception by foreigners that we are “less influential” these days. And Brooks gives us nothing to back up her claim other than her assumptions that it is so. No cause and effect is proven, no stats or polls linked to the program are revealed.
Just Brooks’ claim that it must be so.
Americans do not gauge their generosity by Federal spending. And, looking at those countries that have high government spending on social programs and the like we see a corresponding and grossly lower amount of individual charitable giving.
Brooks shows herself to have far more in common with Europeans than she does her fellow citizens in her thought processes and her linking of charitable generosity to government spending is unAmerican.
â€¦ but it IS oh, so liberal.