A Journal for Western Man
week, Congress will vote to send more than 20 billion of
your hard-earned dollars overseas, when it passes the
Foreign Operations Appropriations bill for 2007. Our annual
foreign aid bill is one of the most egregious abuses of the
taxpayer I can imagine. Not only is it an unconstitutional
burden on America’s working families, but this yearly
attempt to buy friends and influence foreign governments is
counterproductive and actually results in less goodwill
toward the United States overseas.
Why is foreign aid so bad? Isn’t it our obligation to help those less fortunate? What is not mentioned by proponents of foreign aid is that it very seldom gets to those who need it most. Foreign aid is the transfer of US dollars from the treasury of the United States to the governments of foreign countries. It is money that goes to help foreign elites, who in turn spend much of it on contracts with US corporations. This means US tax dollars ultimately go to well-connected US corporations operating overseas.
Foreign aid distorts foreign economies and props up bad
governments. It breeds resentment among citizens of foreign
countries, who see the United States as keeping oppressive
governments in power. Also, it is important to remember that
forced charity is not charity at all. While I believe
strongly in the moral value of helping the less fortunate,
charity must come voluntarily from the heart, not under
threat from the IRS.
year’s bill is even worse than last year’s bill. Aside from
the almost 600-million-dollar increase, the bill will spend
half a billion dollars on something called the “Trade
Capacity Enhancement Fund.” This is nothing but an enormous
fund to bribe foreign governments to “liberalize” their
trade policies. As one of the strongest proponents of free
trade in Congress, I know well that open and free trade is
its own reward. Countries that trade freely with each other
are wealthier and far less likely to go to war. We shouldn’t
kid ourselves: this new program is not about free trade. Its
purpose is to encourage countries to enter into new
so-called trade agreements with the US government.
Government to government trade agreements produce
government-managed trade relationships, which are not free
trade at all. This fund is a colossal waste of money that
will result in less free trade worldwide.
this year Congress will nearly double funding for the
monstrous Millennium Challenge program. This is billed as a
different kind of foreign aid, in that it only goes to
governments that pursue “free-market” economic and social
reforms. Of course this is a waste of money: governments
that pursue wise economic policies will attract much more in
foreign private investment than the US government can send
them. The true reward for sound economic policies is
increased prosperity. Foreign aid does not purchase that
prosperity but in fact distorts internal markets and props
up inefficient companies.
Americans concerned about high taxes, out-of-control gas prices, and economic downturn should think hard about what the US government is doing with the money it takes from them. The greatest “foreign assistance” we can give to other countries is to demonstrate to the rest of the world that limited government and the rule of law ensure freedom and prosperity.
This article originally appeared on Ron Paul's Congressional Home Page. It is reprinted with his permission.
Congressman Ron Paul of Texas enjoys a national reputation as the premier advocate for liberty in politics today. Dr. Paul is the leading spokesman in Washington for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and a return to sound monetary policies based on commodity-backed currency. He is known among both his colleagues in Congress and his constituents for his consistent voting record in the House of Representatives: Dr. Paul never votes for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution.
To learn more about Congressman Ron Paul visit his Congressional Home Page.
This TRA feature has been edited in accordance with TRA’s Statement of Policy.
Read Mr. Stolyarov's new comprehensive treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, at http://www.geocities.com/rational_argumentator/rc.html.