Stop the taxpayer rip-off called "foreign aid"
Last updated 11/21/2019 at 6:06pm
James D. Veltmeyer, M.D.
Special to Village News
Of all the wonderful ratholes the federal government has devised for tossing down billions of taxpayer dollars, none is more outrageous than so-called “foreign aid,” an annual rip-off costing Americans more than $50 billion. And that $50 billion does not include the hundreds of billions within the defense budget that are simply disguised foreign aid, especially to the NATO nations whose militaries we’ve been subsidizing for 60ty years.
It is ironic that the Democrats’ impeachment fantasy focuses on this particular issue in regard to the nation of Ukraine and President Donald Trump’s apparent desire to link anti-corruption investigations to handing over our money to Kiev. Leave it to the Democrats to think they are going to inspire a national uprising against the president over what is undoubtedly the least popular federal spending program ever conceived. After all, how many of you approve of sending tens of billions of dollars abroad to nations and governments that you never heard of while our veterans are dying in the streets and we have record numbers of homeless people in our major cities?
You can search the U.S. Constitution high and low and find not one word authorizing the automatic annual transfer of taxpayer money to other countries. There is not and never has been any constitutional basis for foreign aid whatsoever.
Yet, ever since the end of World War II, we have spent more than $1.2 trillion on foreign aid. That monstrous figure represents the entire size of the federal budget during former President Ronald Reagan’s second term.
A United Nations report produced in the mid-1990s analyzed the results of U.S. foreign aid spending in 70 countries. It found that every one of these countries was actually worse off than it was in 1980, most worse off in fact than in 1970. Clearly, sending American tax dollars to corrupt governments overseas does nothing to lift standards of living, unshackle command economies or deliver freedom and prosperity to their people. In most cases, these funds just subsidize and maintain corrupt and socialist governments in power, throwing them a temporary lifeline that helps them avoid making the necessary structural changes in their economies, like establishing property rights and a free market pricing system. Give a man a fish, as opposed to teaching a man to fish.
A September 2002 White House report confirmed these results, declaring that foreign aid “has often served to prop up failed policies, relieving the pressure for reform and perpetuating misery.”
Let’s look at a few more examples.
A 2003 report from a leading university in Bangladesh estimated that 75% of all foreign aid to that country is lost to corruption.
Northwestern University political economist Jeffrey Winters claimed more than 50% of World Bank aid is lost to corruption in some African nations. Former President Obasanjo of Nigeria said in 2002 that African leaders had stolen at least $140 billion from their people in the decades since independence.
A 2002 American Economic Review analysis concluded that “increases in foreign aid are associated with contemporaneous increases in corruption,” and that “corruption is positively correlated with aid received from the United States.”
And, let’s look at the mess in Afghanistan where we have been at war for 20 years. According to the Defense Department’s inspector general, more than $113 billion has been spent on nation-building in that land. Adjusted for inflation, that’s $10 billion more than was spent to rebuild postwar Europe under the Marshall Plan! Most of that money was lost to waste, fraud and abuse. The people of Afghanistan never even used one-third of the completed reconstruction projects and many of the other projects are in the hands of the Taliban. Sixteen of the 21 projects analyzed were judged to have deficiencies so severe that it was a danger for anyone to occupy them. The reports also cite unqualified contractor personnel, inferior materials, poor workmanship and inadequate oversight. Even more appalling are news reports that former Afghan President Hamid Karzai would receive sacks full of CIA “ghost money” regularly in his office.
Yes, taxpayers, that’s what you got for $113 billion.
Now, we are engaged in a Democrat and Deep State-driven “constitutional crisis” over Trump’s apparent demands on attaching a few strings to the transfer of American taxpayer money to the corrupt government of Ukraine. He actually asked that they fight corruption. Isn’t that a novel idea and it certainly constitutes an impeachable offense. Rep. Adam Schiff, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and their ilk clearly believe your money should be distributed around the world to governments of their choosing, with no questions asked.
If fighting corruption and demanding accountability for the use of taxpayer money abroad constitutes a “quid pro quo” then count me in favor of the “quid pro quo,” and while we’re at it, count me in favor of terminating the unconstitutional foreign aid program altogether and returning those funds to the taxpayers from whom those funds were illegitimately confiscated.
Dr. James Veltmeyer is a prominent La Jolla physician voted “Top Doctor” in San Diego County in 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2019. Veltmeyer can be reached at [email protected]