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U.S. Taxpayer Money: Making Dictators Rich And Perpetuating Instability For More Than 70 Years

March 27, 2013 by  

U.S. Taxpayer Money: Making Dictators Rich And Perpetuating Instability For More Than 70 Years
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Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has been making waves in the GOP in recent months as he tries to push a more libertarian philosophy in the party. But old guard neocons like hawkish Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are hell-bent on ensuring that Paul and his legislative allies do not affect Congress’ beloved military-industrial complex — even if it means allowing American infrastructure to deteriorate as the Nation pumps billions of dollars overseas.

Last week, during the Senate budget “vote-a-rama,” Paul and Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) offered amendments that would have reduced the amount of U.S. foreign aid and freed up funding for other projects. Paul’s effort would have allocated $16 billion for repair and replacement of structurally deficient bridges and other domestic infrastructure projects through cuts to Energy Department loan guarantees and foreign aid spending.

Every Democrat present voted against the Paul amendment, as did 19 Republican Senators including McCain, Graham and Kelly Ayote (R-N.H.). A similar scenario played out with regard to an amendment proposed by Cruz that would have reduced foreign assistance to Egypt in order to provide a missile defense system on the eastern seaboard of the United States.

For their efforts, which the Senators must have known were damned from the get-go in a Congress that believes spending more is saving, “wacko birds” like Paul and Cruz were blasted with a familiar neocon criticism: Spending less on foreign aid is isolationist foreign policy that will embolden international terrorists.

McCain suggested that Republican disagreement over the appropriate amount of foreign aid is a decades-old argument exacerbated by tough economic times.

“That fight has been going on since prior to World War II,” McCain said. “It’s always been there, and it always will be. It’s exasperated and exaggerated by bad economic times.”

He added, “We’ve always had this struggle within the Republican Party going back to post-World War I when the Republicans — isolationists kept us from joining the League of Nations. The isolationists prior to World War II, which meant we were not ready — the anti-military after Vietnam … where we had a hollow army.”

McCain is right to suggest that for more than 70 years the United States has been engaged in providing big-money aid to foreign countries to the dismay of America’s fiscal conservatives. What the Senator failed to note, however, is that those on his spend-happy side of the debate have almost always won and that U.S. foreign aid has almost always been historically judged by its intentions rather than results.

Prior to WWII, American benevolence was mostly provided to foreign countries via private donors in the United States. That changed with the introduction of the Marshall Plan (officially known at the European Recovery Program), which poured more than $13 billion into Europe to help the war-torn continent rebuild. Most analysts agree that Europe would have recovered without U.S. aid, but the aid helped strengthen top-down government structures that were more willing to bend to the will of U.S. wishes.

The apparent success of the European welfare plan led then-President Harry Truman’s 1949 proposal of the Point Four Program to provide a smaller version of the Marshall Plan for poor countries in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America.

Thus, the floodgate was opened.

In the years since, the United States has provided aid to countries all over the world in the form of food assistance, economic development and even general budget support. Over the same period of time, Congress has noted and attempted to reform terrible failures in the foreign aid system that have rendered funds provided to countries ineffectual or, worse, harmful.

Despite being ineffective and a waste of American taxpayer dollars in most cases, there are some reasons why foreign aid remains sacrosanct to Democrats and some Republicans. Democrats, who pride themselves of being a sort of party of compassion, relish the idea of helping hungry children the world over and providing for the needs of the world’s poorest people. And Republicans like McCain, for their part, often see a strategic national security benefit to buying friends in certain parts of the world.

Unfortunately, Congress and financial accountability are almost completely mutually exclusive. And when it comes to foreign aid dollars that are pushed through a system of bureaucratic chutes and ladders in the U.S. and abroad, accountability is impossible.

Setting utopian goals for how foreign aid money is to be spent makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy, but the reality remains that the appropriated dollars are often reduced to pennies when they finally come to be used for the purpose for which they were intended.

If you think foreign aid is a boon to the world’s poor, consider the path a dollar must take before it reaches its final resting place in the country to which it was given as outlined by economist Peter Bauer.

First, it must be allocated by the donor country’s government. That government has its national political, military, and economic objectives, such as supporting friendly states, selling its food and weapons, promoting its own consultants, intervening in international conflicts, and so on. Traditionally, much of bilateral foreign aid has been tied to purchases from donor countries, although apparently this phenomenon has seen some decline (Easterly 2009).

Money provided by the United States for the purpose of foreign aid passes through many hands before it reaches its final resting place, and this often takes place in notoriously corrupt countries. In fact, a recent report produced by Transparency International illustrated that some countries receiving handsome sums of U.S. foreign aid also have the highest instances of perceived corruption. They include (listed from most to least corrupt): Afghanistan, $8 billion in foreign aid; Iraq, $1.7 billion in foreign aid; Yemen, $64 million in foreign aid; Pakistan, $2.1 billion in foreign aid; Lebanon, $232 million in foreign aid; Egypt, $1.6 billion in foreign aid; and others. For foreign aid to work as intended in these places, one must assume that government officials of foreign nations are dedicated to the welfare of their people — a tough sell for Americans who aren’t even sure their politicians are.

In addition to the propensity of corrupt governments to skim off the top of foreign aid money, another problem with U.S. foreign aid policy exists: Lawmakers are either too lazy or too heavily lobbied to re-evaluate the purpose of foreign aid when its effectiveness of use comes into question.

One good example of this is the foreign aid money still being pumped into Israel and Egypt as a result of an agreement reached during the Camp David peace accords in 1978. In return for not blowing one another off the face of the Earth, the United States offered billions of annual dollars to both countries for development.

Today, Egypt remains impoverished, corrupt and largely in the control of Muslim extremists. And Israel has used the aid money to finance the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, to implement wage and price controls, to provide subsidies for inefficient government companies and to put into place a make-work full-employment program custom-made to reduce productivity throughout the 1980s, nearly killing its economy. In essence, Israel has used the money in many of the same ways bureaucrats in the U.S. waste taxpayer dollars.

Unfortunately, many Americans continue to believe that the United States has some celestially ordained obligation to continue providing upward of $3 billion in annual aid to Israel. That, combined with the unrelenting Jewish lobbying efforts aimed at members of Congress, protects the Israeli honeypot, even as the U.S. faces economic demise of its own.

If the real goal of American foreign aid policy is, in fact, to protect allies such as Israel in harsh regions of the world, providing less monetary foreign aid makes perfect sense. This holds true because the billions of dollars provided by the United States to protect Israel are being negated as foreign aid money pumped into other, far less friendly nations in the Mideast are being used to fund an arms race.

In fact, as has been noted by Paul, the U.S. gives more aid to Israel’s neighbors than to Israel in the form of monetary aid and reduced-price armaments. So if the U.S. provides Egypt with 20 F-16 fighter planes, Israel turns around and — likely using foreign aid funds — purchases 25.

In fairness, despite the fact that foreign aid is being stolen by corrupt government officials the world over and creating arms races in destabilized regions, the money has done some historical good by way of eliminating disease in some parts of the world. Supporters point to those small victories and advocate for continued foreign aid spending at current levels (more than $56 billion annually), arguing that the money only accounts for about 1 percent of the U.S. budget. But should it not be duly noted that the $85 billion sequester that the Nation’s lawmakers — both socially liberal Democrats and military-industrial-loving Republicans — just finished wetting themselves over represents a similarly miniscule portion of the budget?

If isolationism means re-evaluating foreign aid expenditures for effectiveness, any Senator calling himself a fiscal conservative should relish in being branded as such by the likes of the McCain and his neocon and Democratic acolytes.

Though President Ronald Reagan was no reformer of foreign aid, he did give the idea lip service in 1981, saying, “Unless a nation puts its own financial and economic house in order, no amount of aid will produce progress.”

With $16 trillion in debt and budget crisis on top of crises, it’s past time to heed those words.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • Warrior

    Since “welfare” is such a success at home, it should work just as well throughout the world. BTW, did “hugo” have a “will”? I haven’t seen who he left all of his fortune to.

  • Earth

    No matter how many veterans die of exposure and starvation, no matter how many children of the poor go to sleep hungry or even as the BBC exposed recently, are forced to eat rats to stay alive, the endless overt and covert aid to Israel, up to $25 billion dollars per year, is supposed to continue. Schools can close, teachers lose their jobs, nurses are laid off, millions of Americans lose their homes and yet billions in welfare payments taken from the taxes of America’s working poor floods into Israel, financing their free healthcare, their free education, their bulldozers and guard towers, endless miles of walls and barbed wire and a standard of living few Americans can come close to.

  • Bob666

    Good piece Sam.

  • JThaddeustoad

    Warrior ….. Welfare has been such a smashing success that we now have people sneaking into our country from all over the world …. Take a look at how many foreign languages are catered to by social service in California ….. A brilliant marketing plan was launched years ago … It based on the following … A liar (Politician) wants to be elected…First he panders to the municipal unions and secures their votes with raises and pensions,then he panders to Blacks,Latinos and moochers with promises of free stuff ….Then he tells us he is going to put an end to it all ….. meanwhile iam being taxed out of my home,I can’t afford medical insurance and now the cowardly bastards know we have had enough so they are coming for our guns…

  • http://gravatar.com/bychoosing WTS/JAYS

    The “celebrity trolls” who currently reign on commercial television, who bill themselves as liberal or conservative, read from the same “corporate script”. They spin the same “court gossip”. They ignore what the corporate state wants ignored. They champion what the corporate state wants championed. They do not challenge or acknowledge the structures of corporate power.

    It’s a wholly owned subsidiary of the corporate state. You have a half-dozen corporations; Viacom, General Electric, Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp, Disney, Clear Channel… that control almost everything most Americans watch or listen to. And, you know, the lie of omission is still a lie. They hold up “political puppets” as part of this charade to deflect attention from where power actually resides, and that’s in the hands of corporations.

    It’s impossible within the American political system to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs, and so we don’t hear anything about climate change, the poor — the rural and urban poor are rendered invisible in this country. And they’re really suffering at this point…

    We don’t hear anything about the assault on civil liberties, whether that’s the Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, or warrantless wiretapping, the use of the Espionage Act to shut down whistleblowers — the misuse of the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act, giving the executive branch the power to assassinate American citizens. And climate change – we should have … given the crisis which is now confronting the ecosystem on which the human species depends for its existence, we should have climate scientists on every night. And none of that appears…because it’s all driven by celebrity gossip, trivia — and yeah, okay, Fox will spin it one way and MSNBC will spin it another, but it’s all the same tawdry, useless garbage”. -Chris Hedges

  • Dave

    The Cold War and the fact that after WW2 we were the only game economically in town. We were in competition with the Soviets so how we gain “allies”? Money… Lots and lots of money.

    Everyone liked it when it served our dominance in the world. Today is a different age. We need to scale back aid, take all of our military out for foriegn countries and invest in this country.

  • Rainey Grimes

    Its a shame we have to borrow so much money just to give it away to countries that don’t even like us, but they like our money.

  • Jimmy the Greek

    Spot On Mr Rolly ! A good Start would be banning all foreign lobby groups . next we should expel all people that hold duel citizenship starting with the ones in public office .

  • Warrior

    Yea, but, I hear there’s a whole bunch of “rich” foreigner’s buying property in Miami. Now, doesn’t that make you feel better? I wonder if that’s part of “comprehensive” immigration?

  • Nadzieja Batki

    America obligated itself to take care of the world even if it impoverished its own taxpayers but notice the world does not intend to come to the aid of Americans in their need.
    Who came up with this stupid, stupid ideology of supporting the whole world?

  • vicki

    Nadzieja Batki says:
    “Who came up with this stupid, stupid ideology of supporting the whole world?”

    A politician.

  • jopa

    Yah right, Ronald Reagan put his house in order alright by robbing senior citizens of their Social Security with Alan Greenspan.The SS trust fund was never meant to be part of the general fund.

  • Robert

    If “Earth” were to insert the word ENEMIES” after the word “Israel” then you would be more accurate in your statement!

  • Jimmy the Greek

    Earth You are right ! however our government is run by crazy born again christians types , they are the puppets of the there zionist masters. The last president that was not a born again crazy was JFK he said NO to the zionist and look what happened to him . He most likely was killed by the Mossad so that LBJ a Baptist could take office because the zionist had him in their pocket ! USS Liberty , one year later bay of Tonkin ( start of real war in Vet Nam ) That flattened the pocket of LBJ and his zionist buddies . One other thing to think about is how come since JFK all the presedents were the born again types that kiss the feet of israel .

  • john811c

    Have you ever lived in Israel if not How would you know what their standard of living is?
    My guess is that you have not, my guess is you live on mommy and daddy and or/ live off the nanny government.

    You know for fact that 25 billion goes to Israel, cite you source and authorizing bills for this. …My bet is you have no source information to back up your claims.

    I know of very few nurses who are laid off as a matter of fact that is one profession that has had increasing demand everywhere. If you have nursing certifications you are almost practically guaranteed a job. You may not like the hours because the demand is so high that many are forced to work overtime extremely long shifts because there are not enough qualified in certain areas of the country. So again cite where nurses are being laid off.

    Now you cite how veterans are dying of exposure without proper food or shelter and how children are dying also but answer this why has food-stamp issuance doubled?
    and where are these veterans dying, you cite examples but provide no details as to where

    It seems you just want to blame Israel and Jews for all the ills of society without proving one of your statements. Anyone can make these statements, Back them up with facts is a different matter

  • Nadzieja Batki

    Earth, you are such a pretentious TWIT. You do not care about the Vets. It is not your job to “care” about the poor little kiddies eating rats as their parents spawned them so they should maintain them. If you care so much, stick your hand in your pocket and pull out the money and support them without involving the government or coercing anyone else to do your bidding.

  • tony newbill

    JOPA heres another Lying Liberal doing the same thing !!!!!!!

    $1 Trillion in New Taxes from Health Reform Is Coming

    Read more at http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2013/03/27/1-Trillion-in-New-Taxes-from-Health-Reform-Is-Coming.aspx#cGip3XUKlAmoETm8.99

  • tony newbill

    JOPA heres another Liberal Program thats been expanded to make the People MORE DEPENDENT on Government to control their Prosperity and rate of Consumption instead of expanding the policies of Self Reliance and Individual innovations to help people be self reliant .
    These Ideologues use these programs and policies to HERD and Control the rate of consumption to meet their Environmental Goals of ZERO Growth Environmentalism !!!!!

    Another Obama Record… Number of Americans on Disability Exceeds Number of People in New York http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2012/07/another-obama-record-number-of-americans-on-disability-exceeds-number-of-people-in-new-york/

    Why can’t the 260 Billion bucks that is in the Disability Program be rolled into the Healthcare act and be part of those funds ???
    This is 1/3rd the size of the US DEFENSE BUDGET !!!!!!!!!!!

    Federal disability payments costing taxpayers $260 billion a year

    ht tp://www.whptv.com/content/Archive/story/Federal-disability-payments-costing-taxpayers-260/11JlZZ4_JE2fbwpW5cznBA.cspx

  • Capitalist at Birth

    Lyndon Johnson, and the Democrat Party that controlled both the Senate and Congress, maid F.I.C.A. funds a part of general revenue, to hide the expanding deficit caused by the Vietnam War, even with the tax increases they had imposed to fund it. Once again I find it necessary to advise you to read more, and to quit writing your idiotic and factually incorrect thoughts on this site.

  • john811c

    Right problem wrong president . Check your history LBJ put the SS trust fund as part of the general fund

    “”Starting in 1969 (due to action by the Johnson Administration in 1968) the transactions to the Trust Fund were included in what is known as the “unified budget.” This means that every function of the federal government is included in a single budget. This is sometimes described by saying that the Social Security Trust Funds are “on-budget.” This budget treatment of the Social Security Trust Fund continued until 1990 when the Trust Funds were again taken “off-budget.” This means only that they are shown as a separate account in the federal budget. But whether the Trust Funds are “on-budget” or “off-budget” is primarily a question of accounting practices–it has no effect on the actual operations of the Trust Fund itself.”

    LBJ was unable to find a way to pay for his two failed wars: #1 Communism and #2 poverty. Raising taxes was not politically advantageous. He managed to get the bulging Social Security surplus accounting transferred from a stand alone accounting system into the general budget accounting. LBJ integrated the SS bookkeeping into the general budget bookkeeping.”

    Do some reserach first before making a statement that is false

  • Nadzieja Batki

    jopa, the female kennel dweller, twisting history as your Leftist handlers demand will not change the facts. Who told you that the SS funds were not going to be part of the general fund? Once the money started being siphoned from the working population it was too much temptation for the government to have access to so much money.

  • vicki

    Jopa writes:
    “Yah right, Ronald Reagan put his house in order alright by robbing senior citizens of their Social Security with Alan Greenspan.The SS trust fund was never meant to be part of the general fund.”

    Jopa’s credibility rapidly approaching that of Flashy.

    Why did you lie? It was trivial to check thru google. There are lots of people here old enough to have been awake and aware of who took Social Security funds. Did you really expect such an obvious lie to slip by?

  • http://gravatar.com/plfprime GALT

    Never concern or confuse yourselves with FACTS…..

    http://www.ssa.gov/history/BudgetTreatment.html

  • Capitalist at Birth

    I would guess that you are a fan of Hitler, Stalin, and Islam. All of them hate and hated Jews as much as you obviously do. Exactly how do you think JFK was in alliance with them? I don’t think you can point to any actions that he took or anything he wrote or spoke to support your outlandish contentions.

  • Jimmy the Greek

    @Capitalist First off stalin was half jew most of the red army that killed the tsar and his were jews, jews controlled the USSR until the early 50s , Bolshevism was mostly a jewish thing , Karl Marks the father of communism a jew ! The jews of the old USSR were Khazar Jews ( converts ) As were the jews of eastern Europe ! Jews and muslims are the same people and believe almost the same thing ( there are cousins ) sons of Abraham , JFK was not a fan of israel he was holding up the sale of fighter jets that israel was trying to buy and was wanting to get rid of the jewish lobby in Washington before he Wes killed . You know that a muslim is nothing but a jew turned inside out , oh one more thing Hitler was not such a bad guy I would trust him more than your good buddy obozo !

  • Jimmy the Greek

    One other thing Capitalism and Communism are two sides of the same coin ! under Communism the 1% at the top run things , Under capitalism the same thing the 1% at the top run the show !

  • Jimmy the Greek

    And now that you fools got me on a roll i well tell you what is needed in America A new party modeled after Golden Dawn in Greece , a good far right party !

  • Capitalist at Birth

    Free Market Capitalism and Communism have nothing in common. Where did you study economics? The back of a Wheaties box? You obviously did not graduate from the sixth grade. You are incorrect in assuming that Kennedy was anti Israel. Hitler was also, supposedly part Jewish. Why did Stalin and Hitler deliberately murder Jews? the Arabs and SOME Israelis may be cousins. This can be proven or dis-proven through genetic testing, I suppose. Actually we do not know for sure until such genetic testing is done. we may find that Arabs are Jews intermingled with Negroids. Actually Karl Marx and Wilfred Engels were Catholics. There is a group you can certainly hate with all of the evil they have perpetrated over the last 1800 years, from the inquisition to the homosexual pedophiles allowed to exist in the Priesthood. Yes, the idea of Communism may have it’s roots in the Kibutz of the Hebrew faith. So what. The Japanese have a similar system. Those types of economic systems only work in homogeneous societies. Not in our type of society. Fascism and Communism are two sides of the same coin. You obviously are an ignorant uneducated heathen with a hate filled mind/heart. May God have mercy on your soul.

  • Jimmy the Greek

    Your a dam fool Karl Marks was as jewish as anyone could be Google his name you well see his daddy was a rabbi And when you google that google Golden dawn and see what i am about !

  • Jimmy the Greek

    I well eat crow on this one ! It was the grand parents of karl marx that were jewish , However Communism is the opposite of fascism ! A commie turd is as far to the left as one can go , a Fascist is a far right winger , Under a fascist system your factories and industries , are all privet owned However the government keeps a eye on them to make sure that what ever they do is in the best interest of the country and the people , not like here in the states were they can shut down a plant and move it to china so the stock holders can make a bigger profit , The government here don’t give a rat rear end about the working class , if they did we would tax the hell out of all imports so the the same thing made in the USA would be the cheaper thing to buy we would not have all this free trade crap , we would look out for our working class first . We should be taking the CEOs of some of the corporations out to the parking lots and shooting them in the head in front of the workers and picking a new CEO from the workers in the lot and telling them we well be back in one year to see if we need a new CEO . That is how you get things done .

  • Bob666

    Yo John,
    Very well stated.

  • Bob666

    Yo CAB,

    Is Jimmy on Earth or another planet?

  • Capitalist at Birth

    They did raise taxes. 5% surtax during the war. I think it only lasted for two years.

  • Dave

    We have always supported Dictators. Esienhower did it when he ok’s operation AJAX in Iran to install the Shah against the will of the Iranian people.

    And we wonder why people in Persia and the Middle East don’t trust us…

    Reagan comes in and sells our weapons to both Iran and Iraq during their war and then after the USSR is no longer the boogeyman to justify the defense spending we are doing, George Bush 1 invents one in Saddam Hussein, our former friend after our diplomat tells Saddam that regional land disputes are none of our business and saddam took that to mean invading Kuwait is A-Ok.

    We need people in Congress that are willing to cut the defense budget by more than half and we need a President and a Congress who are willing to cut these non-democracy counutries off from buyong our defense wares… That includes Israel (Ask Muslims how well Israel treats them)

    If we tell people we are about freedom and liberty, then we need to walk the walk.

  • Bob666

    Dave,
    “We have always supported Dictators. Esienhower did it when he ok’s operation AJAX in Iran to install the Shah against the will of the Iranian people”.

    You are correct in that statement, often because they were preferred over communist, but that policy has come back to bite us in the butt on several ocaisions.

  • Michelle Kienlen

    Cut every penny of foreign aid and keep that money here at home.MCcain and all these senators as well as congress need’s to be dragged out of office and kept out.Also if these so-called “compassionate” politicians wish to keep providing foreign aid let the money come from their own pockets instead of our pockets.Washinton never cease’s to amaze me with how generous they are with our money.

  • ROGER, Irish-Caandian LIBERTARIAN

    Is RAND PAUL getting what he deserves? As a Libertarian activist, with hundreds of email, activist,writer and purblisher contacts, I have TWICE requested Rand Paul give me his stand on,Israel,Syria and Iran and he has not even given me an acknowledgement MUCH less a proper reply…. yet he constantly emails me about every other issue at least twice per week except for those i asked about. I did not trust him before and I don’t trust him now because i believe he is the “Great Pretender”.

  • jopa

    vicki;I see you are having a hard time dealing with reality.Just Google “Reagan Greenspan” and read on and become educated.I know how much you righties are against being educated but you have to start somewhere.If all the facts about Reagan were laid out end to end he was a very bad man when it came to him trying to be a President.

  • http://siriuscoffee.com Bradster

    T-bill IOU’s are the way they’ve the funds to the general budget. Always been that way.

    “In early 1968 President Lyndon Johnson made a change in the budget presentation by including Social Security and all other trust funds in a”unified budget.” This is likewise sometimes described by saying that Social Security was placed “on-budget.””

  • Bob666

    Yo Dave,
    you are correct on this, we bought our way through the cold war.

  • javamann

    A very important point.
    Executives in government positions must have an undivided loyalty!

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