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Cutting Foreign Aid: Smart and Safe

Neoconservative (and leading Rand Paul critic) Jennifer Rubin's latest attack on Senator Paul centers on Senator Paul's proposal to end foreign aid. Most of her article is filled with the same old clichés supporters of a constitutional foreign policy are used to hearing: foreign aid is "small" part of the federal budget (as if that somehow justifies not cutting it), and that cutting foreign aid will somehow weaken our defenses. But this part of her article really struck me:

It is hard to imagine a world — let alone aspire to one — in which the United States eliminated all economic aid. We would not send government resources or personnel, for example, to Hatti for a hurricane; to Japan for the nuclear accident; to any Middle East ally to cope with refugees from the Syrian civil war; to Ukraine for economic assistance in the wake of Russian aggression; or to our ally Colombia (which gets more than $660 million) for economic growth and  restitution/reconciliation efforts for victims of previous governments’ abuse.

It is also nonsensical to imagine that private donations can fill the gap. Even with a huge upturn in private giving for emergency relief (e.g. Haiti) from 17 percent to 32 percent between 2006 and 2010, the lion share of funds still come from the government.

What Rubin does not understand is that if the Federal Government eliminated foreign aid--as part of eliminating all unnecessary and unconstitutional overseas spending-- the resulting economic growth  caused by the reduction in federal spending, debt, and taxes would enable the American people to be even more generous in supporting private charitable efforts both for other Americans and those overseas. Since private charities are more effective in delivering aid than government "aid," eliminating government "aid" programs will improve the quality of help given to those in need.

Eliminating government "aid" programs will also help the world's oppressed since, as Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul has often pointed out, the federal foreign aid programs oftentimes prop up dictators. Eliminating government aid will also make it more likely that instead of ineffective "economic" aid, foreign countries will receive private investments that will help the people develop a thriving free-market economy.

Eliminating foreign aid is thus a good deal both for Americans and the people of the world. It is bad deal for American politicians, bureaucrats, crony capitalists, foreign dictators, and their neoconservative apologists.


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