Thursday, December 30, 2004

Patriotic? Or Just Pathetic?

This from a NY Times Opinion Peice that puts it in perspective:
"We hope Secretary of State Colin Powell was privately embarrassed when, two days into a catastrophic disaster that hit 12 of the world's poorer countries and will cost billions of dollars to meliorate, he held a press conference to say that America, the world's richest nation, would contribute $15 million. That's less than half of what Republicans plan to spend on the Bush inaugural festivities.

The American aid figure for the current disaster is now $35 million, and we applaud Mr. Bush's turnaround. But $35 million remains a miserly drop in the bucket, and is in keeping with the pitiful amount of the United States budget that we allocate for nonmilitary foreign aid. According to a poll, most Americans believe the United States spends 24 percent of its budget on aid to poor countries; it actually spends well under a quarter of 1 percent."

Are We Stingy? Yes

I think the clear issue here is where it states what most Americans believe. Even $15 million sounds like an awful lot to most Americans . . . but put into context against other countries, etc, the truth about our unwillingness to share the wealth becomes pretty clear.


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