We cannot continue to dish out money to other governments without having enough cash to take care of our own. Why do we continue to give “aid” to Israel and Egypt? Neither one of them is a “developing country”. While foreign aid only represents some one percent of our budget, it is a start (but bigger than Big Bird!).
Now, now…don’t jump to conclusions and hang the sign of “Isolationist” on me yet. I am, after all, a Libertarian, which means that I am about as far from an isolationist as one can get. I believe in opening up trade with everyone, and that relationships between nations can fare well under an open market.
Before spending tax dollars on foreign aid, we must first put our own house in order. To illustrate my point, let’s pretend for a moment that your home is the United States, and that you are all three branches of government – executive, legislative, and judicial – wrapped up into one. You get to decide where your money goes, and how much is spent. And no, you can’t just print money like the Fed does…that would make this scenario too easy!
Unfortunately, like many Americans, you run into tough times. Your bills are piling up and you are going further and further into debt. You fall into a maddening cycle of borrowing money to pay your bills, (and no, you can’t just print money like the Fed does…that would make this scenario too easy!) which only leads to more bills. Things are tough enough that your children are suffering and you are scarcely living paycheck to paycheck. To sum it up, your financial life pretty much stinks!
One afternoon there is a knock on the door. It’s your neighbor from across the street. He asks you if you can spare some money, as his situation is as bad as, if not worse, than yours. He has kids too, so feeling like being the good guy, you pull out your wallet and peer inside. There’s a $20 bill in there. You look back at your neighbor’s sad face and are about to reach inside to give it to him when the image of your own kids flash in your mind. You know if you give him the twenty bucks, your own kids will suffer. You know that if you give it to him your children will go to bed hungry. You also know that if you give it to him that it is unlikely that it will change his situation, but rather will only allow him one more meal for him and his family. It won’t solve his long-term problems, and will only serve to increase yours…
What would you do? Seriously – would you give someone else money that is marked as food for your kids? And if you don’t have any little ones, how about your mother, father, sister, brother, or other beloved member of your family? Would you take from them to give to your neighbor? I submit that it’s easier said than done. I am a father, and I know in my heart that, considering the circumstances, I could not give that $20 away.
Does that make me evil? Cold-hearted? A jerk? Maybe in the eyes of some, but if taking care of my family before sending aid to others makes me appear so, then I am guilty as charged.
How does this have anything to do with our foreign aid? Well, it appears Uncle Sam wants to be the good guy…all the while bombing country after country under the guise of stopping the Enemy-of-the-Month. Problem is, he’s out of money, and we, his ‘children’ are suffering. It demonstrates that we must also use caution when heading out to save others. I believe it is morally good to help those in need, but I also believe we should continue to do so via private, willful donations to charitable organizations.
We as a nation do not yet have our house in order, and until we do we will sink deeper into debt with no end in sight. Once we do have it in order, we can enjoy enough peace and prosperity to enable all of us to give some back to our favorite charity…without Uncle Sam having to do it for us.
The message is clear: send the right people to represent us in Washington and we can get our house in order. Then we can relieve our financial burden – and increase our ability to give – one percent at a time