We’re Not Going To Eradicate World Poverty With Aid

At the The Huffington Post, former Clinton Press Secretary Mike McCurry serves up a variation on an old liberal canard:

“Here’s an interesting fact: four million children die each year around the world within one week of being born. Three million (yes, 3,000,000) babies could be saved within the first 24 hours of being born if they had proper sanitation, clean water, nutrition. Simple things. Things that cost less than $10-$20 per kid. There are some good ways to save 3 million babies and it doesn’t break the bank. Any right-to-lifers out there who want to preserve these rights to life? Any liberals who want to organize about something other than arcane Senate rules? Anyone who wants to get the right and left working together on something that might make the rest of the world as proud of America as we are?”

The general idea here is supposed to be that if we here in America weren’t so greedy, so uncaring, so selfish, we could save millions of children at a cost of only 30-60 million dollars.

What baloney.

Liberals love to talk about the grandiose things we could do around the world if only the West weren’t so stingy. But, the truth is that Western governments, NGOs, and charities dole out almost unbelievable sums of money every year.

For example, the United States government alone handed out more than 45 billion dollars in economic and military aid in 2004. Here are the details:

“Leading the list of top economic aid recipients in 2004 was Iraq, which received $18.5 billion—more than the total USAID budget prior to 2002. Next comes Israel ($2.6 billion), followed by Egypt and Afghanistan, both of which received approximately $1.8 billion. Other top recipients were Colombia, Jordan, Pakistan, Peru, Bolivia, Turkey, Sudan, and Indonesia.

Additional top recipients of U.S. aid in 2004 were Sudan and Liberia as part of U.S. conflict-resolution and humanitarian aid initiatives, along with Uganda, Ethiopia, and Kenya, reflecting the president’s $15 billion Global AIDS Initiative in Africa.”

Again, keep in mind that 45 billion, which admittedly is a significantly higher amount than we’ve given out in past years, is the total from the US for just one year. Over the last 50 years or so, we — and the rest of the Western world — have literally handed out “more than a trillion dollars in aid, in today’s money,” and yet there is often little to show for it.

Just to give you one example, since 1975 we have given Egypt 50 billion dollars in — let’s call it what it is — bribe money to not start trouble with Israel.

So has that enormous influx of capital turned Egypt into an economic powerhouse? Well, currently:

“(Egyptian) (u)nemployment is estimated at 17 percent” & “50 percent of Egyptians live on less than $2 a day…”

All that money made a really big difference, didn’t it?

If you want an even better example, look to Africa. The Western world has given Africa “about a trillion dollars in aid in the past 50 years” and yet as a whole, the continent could be fairly said to have gone backwards over the last 10-15 years.

The truth is that with the US, NGOs, and even the UN around, if there are babies dying for lack of “proper sanitation, clean water, nutrition,” it’s almost always because their government wants them to die or is so corrupt that it just doesn’t care. If it were simply about money, the most beastial of conditions that people live in today would have largely been taken care of already.

But it’s really about capitalism, a free press, the rule-of-law, property ownership and all the other things that tend to go along with democracy. You can pour all the money you want into the North Koreas, Sudans, and Zimbabwes of the world, but as long as their brutal and corrupt governments are in place, we’re not going to get any bang for our buck.

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