Foreign Aid

July 21, 1998
Even at a time when Congress seems willing to investigate waste and fraud, there are still a few sacred cows that Congress won't investigate. Foreign aid is one of them, even though it has a record of failure and opposition from the American people.

So why does it continue? Lobbyists. Last year when the House International Relations Committee held hearings on foreign aid, all but one of the witnesses argued for continuing foreign aid spending. Well, it turns out that most of the groups testifying actually receive foreign aid. So it's not too surprising that they were all for continuing it.

So what has been the impact of foreign aid on countries that receive it? Lord Peter Bauer used to describe foreign aid as "taxing poor people in rich countries and passing it on to rich people in poor countries." Very little foreign aid helps the people. Most of it lines the pockets of political leaders and businessmen in multinational corporations. In fact, one study by the Cato Institute found that foreign aid actually harms developing countries by rewarding economic failure and delaying market-based reforms. The study found that nations that received less foreign aid actually had more economic development than those that got more foreign aid "help."

An even greater concern with foreign aid is that a lot of foreign aid money goes to agencies involved in family planning which is often merely a code phrase for condoms, abortion, and other forms of birth control. Each year the U.S. spends approximately one billion dollars for family planning just through the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Foreign aid is inefficient, ineffective, and controversial. In fact, I've got a slogan for foreign aid: end it, don't mend it.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International