NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 6, 2005

Americans are accustomed to being clobbered on the issue of foreign aid. The G-8 summit at Gleneagles, Scotland, which meets today and tomorrow, is likely to bring us more of the same. But the American record on foreign aid and disaster relief is far from the disaster zone it is often claimed to be. It would be good if President Bush manages to press home this point with his fellow heads of state and with the world media, says the Washington Times.

American generosity both public and private needs no excuses:

  • The United States donates more than any other country in Official Development Assistance, to the tune of $16 billion; up from $10 billion in 2000.
  • The United States is the largest single donor to international organizations, paying $362 million (or 22 percent) of the U.N. budget.

The United States has a great tradition of private giving, unequalled in most of the other countries with whom we are regularly compared:

  • In 2004, private assistance flowing from the United States totaled $48 billion.
  • This includes charity from private foundations, corporations, colleges and universities, religious organizations and nongovernmental organizations, as well as individuals.
  • Americans donated nearly $700 million in tsunami relief to the stricken people of the Indian Ocean.

In total flows of international aid, the United States far and away leads the world. It is only in terms of an arbitrary percentage of gross national product that our numbers look inadequate. Americans have nothing to apologize for when it comes to giving. Bush ought to hammer that message home when he speaks to the world leaders today in Scotland. In fact, his administration has set a standard for others to emulate, says the Times.

Source: Helle Dale, "U.S. aid to Africa," Washington Times, July 6, 2005.


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