Search This Blog

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Let’s Begin With Foreign Aid

In this financial year we will be spending at least $1.5 billion on foreign aid and we cannot be sure that this money will be properly spent, as corruption and mismanagement in many of the recipient countries are legend. — Pauline Hanson, Australian politician

Last week USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah told the House Appropriationsrajiv_Shah_041410 State and Foreign Ops subcommittee on Wednesday that the budget plan, which would cut $61 billion in federal spending, would lead to the deaths of 30,000 kids in a malaria control program that would have to be scaled back, 24,000 from a lack of immunizations and 16,000 from a lack of skilled attendants at birth.

There's a way to do this that does not have to cost lives and we're very focused and very much want to work with the committee to identify a path forward that can allow us to be effective at doing so," he said. Shah is seeking $59.5 billion in funding for his agency, up 22 percent, or $10.7 billion, from the current level.

None of the Republicans, who control the committee, challenged what Shah called a "conservative estimate." The subject quickly changed to agricultural production in Afghanistan and food security in Guatemala.

But subcommittee member Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., sent a statement to Thursday saying, "Nearly every administration witness appearing before the Appropriations Committee has put forward nightmare scenarios and dire numbers to argue why we should not be reducing spending in any program.

"Republicans won't be drawn into a debate over what might happen based on speculation and hype," he said. "We understand that if we don't rein in these trillion-dollar-plus deficits, programs like this one may have to be eliminated entirely in the near future."

Lewis noted that the GOP plan reduced the overall USAID account but left it entirely up to the administration on how to find the savings.

"I have faith that the administration will find a way to reduce spending without leading to the deaths of children," he said.

Shah's comments contained echoes of former Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson's explosive charge two years ago that the Republicans' idea of health care was wanting sick people to "die quickly." Grayson lost his Florida seat in November's midterm elections.

A mere 7% cut from a bloated $50 billion dollar budget and 30,000 children would die. That’s pure undulated hogwash. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is one of the most bloated, overrated, inefficient agencies in the US Government. Its track record is dismal a best and devastating on the whole. It is a funding source for NGOs and foundations to pad their coffers while they send bone-headed professors and college kids off to foreign lands to dig wells and promote democracy. I know, because I have had experience with this agency.

As an example several years ago USAID granted a nonprofit church organization $30 million to build a sewer system and sewage treatment plant in Gaza. The main qualification of the organization was that they had a retired civil engineer on their staff. Big deal. This was $30 million down a rat hole as the Palestinian’s still have waste running down the street.

For the life of me I can’t see how a cut of $3.4 billion will kill 30,000 African kids by allowing them to contract malaria. Did they ever hear of DDT? Oh, I forgot that remedy was discredited by another left-wing do-gooder, Rachel Carson, and eventually through her book Silent Spring and 60 Minutes got that effective, harmless, killer of mosquitos banned decades ago and 30-40 million Africans have died.

USAID is filled with left-wing do-gooders who believe hey are making a difference as the trek off to some African or Muslim nation, don a hijab or a burka and teach the locals how to dig a well or practice birth control and safe sex. These same people will take as much money as they can for the council bosses or tribal leaders, smile and nod their heads at the USAID workers and then go back to living on the dung heap and contracting AIDS when the workers go home feeling good about themselves.

USAID is where the real left-wing loonies hang out. They have such an inflated view of their do-good mission in life they can’t see the forest for the tress or realty from some college professor’s fantasy. All you need to do is write a paper loaded with charts and graphs, bind it in a slick plastic binder with a clear cover and entitled it “for the children”, “clean, safe drinking water”, “birth control for the poor” of “AIDS prevention in the developing world” and bingo, you’ve got your grant. Then off go the grant writers, usually university professors on a paid sabbatical to some hell hole so they can write a book on how they saved the world

On he other hand the Japanese don’t pass out much foreign aid unless many bamboo strings are attached. I draw your attention to a recent example when I was in Bangkok for a meeting with the US State Department economic officer. As we were driving through heavily congested Bangkok we passed the construction of an overhead viaduct that would relive the traffic congestion. The project was being constructed by a Dutch firm with World Bank money. Also the viaduct was being constructed with steel, not the more usually and more cost effective pre-stressed concrete. The economics officer mentioned how he Japanese had done the feasibility study and design for free under their economic aid program. He thought that was just a whiz bang deal for the Thais. When I mentioned that the Japanese don’t export concrete, they export steel and their designers were able to write steel into their plans and specifications the light went on in his brain.

The Japanese get it, we don’t. The Japanese do everything with the thought in mind as to how will this help the Japanese. We do with the thought in mind of how will this make us feel good and loved.

Any foreign aid we give any nation should have strings, strings that will bring us a return on investment and each USAID project manager should be evaluated on what that return is, i.e. no return, no job.

It’s time for the US government to stop tossing around our money on the whim of some do-gooder grant writer. Of all the billions we have spent on foreign aid over the years what have we gotten in return. The government is not in the charity business. If Bill Gates or the Ford Foundation wants to go about the world sprinkling their money about fine, just don’t do it with mine.

The next thing Congress should defund is Planned Parenthood. $330 million for cancer screening they don’t do. You see it’s always for the children or the poor women of the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment