Foreign AidCommentary by Pete du Pont
February 24, 1997
Host intro: The united states has spent billions of dollars since the end of World War II on foreign aid. Have we gotten our money's worth? Commentator Pete du Pont of the National Center for Policy Analysis thinks not.
I'm not against foreign aid on principle. The Marshall plan, one of the most successful operations ever undertaken by America, was foreign aid.
But a recent Cato Institute study demonstrates that our money has often been uselessly, even criminally misspent.
Seventy developing countries -- a sad and misleading term if ever there was one -- are poorer today than they were in 1980; 43 are worse off than in 1970. Many of the biggest recipients of foreign aid, like India, Egypt and Bangladesh, are among the worst performers. Foreign aid has often subsidized corrupt dictatorships and misbegotten financial adventures.
If we're going to continue foreign aid, we need to be capitalistic, imperialistic, arrogant, bullying, choosy, selective, demanding, first world-ist -- pick your perjorative. We need to tie strings to the money that run from their treasuries to our ruthlessly efficient beancounters. We should tell them, "do you want our billions? Fine. Privatize your state industries. Cut tariffs. Slash taxes. Broaden economic opportunities. Encourage foreign investment. Let your actions reflect your understanding that democratic and economic freedom go hand in hand."
If they sign on, and the money starts to flow, they might actually turn into "developing" countries.
Those are my ideas. And at the NCPA, we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you tomorrow.
Host outro: How risky would it be to privatize Social Security? Tomorrow, Pete du Pont has the numbers.