Archive for Friday, May 12, 2017

Letter to the editor: Crippling cuts

May 12, 2017


To the editor:

In the recently proposed budget by the Trump Administration, large federal cuts have been predicted to have devastating consequences on various humanitarian programs. These cuts will potentially hurt the U.S. economy and their forefront efforts in alleviating global poverty. The International Affairs Budget is our only hope in helping save millions of lives in the U.S. and in many developing countries around the world.

Currently, this budget only makes up less than 1 percent of the entire U.S. federal budget, but nonetheless these funds continue to impact all aspects of life in America. In cutting these funds by about 30 percent, the development, defense and diplomacy of the U.S. will have harmful results that will take unnecessary steps back in the fight to alleviate global poverty. These funds are imperative in providing life-saving treatment, addressing issues of malnutrition and providing opportunities for children (especially girls) all over the world to receive education.

As a constituent and supporter of The Borgen Project, we advocate for the world’s poor and continue to emphasize a focus on global poverty reduction efforts in U.S. foreign policy. In order to truly make a difference in the world, stressing the importance of this budget is crucial in helping those struggling in the world escape the poverty that has troubled their country and give them an opportunity to lead a healthy and successful life.


Bob Smith 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Gloom and doom, gloom and doom, repeat ad nauseam. The disappointed progressives are in full cry tonight.

Ken Lassman 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Thanks, Brandon, for your thoughtful request to continue the great investment of a tiny fraction of the federal budget toward helping the poor around the world help themselves. I was not familiar with the Borgen Project and now it will be a go-to site for me to find reliable statistics on world poverty and how our investments and the investments from other countries ARE making a big difference in reducing the problem.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 8 months, 2 weeks ago

We need to take care of our own people, and especially our vets, first.

Brock Masters 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I support the cuts to foreign aid in all forms until not one child in America goes to bed or school hungry, not until every child in America can attend a school with a safe and quality environment and no Vet depends on charity for their medical needs or assistance in transitioning back into society.

I encourage everyone who puts foreign countries ahead of America to donate through the many private charities but do not tey and force me to contribute through my tax dollars.

People like Brandon are so generous with other people's money.

Ken Lassman 8 months, 2 weeks ago

So we end up clothing, sheltering and feeding our young men and women as they march off to war because of our poor relations with other countries.

"Penny wise and pound foolish" I think it goes.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 8 months, 2 weeks ago

They need to go back and study the history of the end of WWI and how it led to WWII.

Brock Masters 8 months, 2 weeks ago

We have been at war for decades. Your way isn't stopping our men and women going off to war. We are a country heavy in debt. We do not need to nation build, build schools in foreign countries and wage war to meddle in other countries affairs.

Mind our own business, take care of our own and build a strong military and not be afraid to use it and we will actually have peace.

Seriously, we have been providing foreign aid for a long long time. Name a time when we have had men and women fighting in foreign countries.

How did foreign aid stop 9/11?

Ken Lassman 8 months, 2 weeks ago

My point is that this is not an "either/or" situation--it's "both/and." If you don't fill your gas tank AND check your oil, you will pay a high price down the road.

Brock Masters 8 months, 2 weeks ago

And my point is your stayed reason for doing it has failed so their is no benefit taking resources from needy Americans to give to non-Americans. However, you are free to donate your money to do it, just don't squander other Americans money on a failed program. We cannot buy peace through appeasement and bribery.

Ken Lassman 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Why do you say it has failed? Do you think that without that foreign aid that we've contributed around the world that we would have a better world? Where's your evidence? There are plenty of successes--and yes, failures--but it's quite a leap to say that it has not been worth doing and we shouldn't do it any more at all.

Brock Masters 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Ken I was referring to your comment justifying it. "So we end up clothing, sheltering and feeding our young men and women as they march off to war because of our poor relations with other countries."

If success is measured by not sending off men and women to match off to war then we have failed because we have men and women constantly marching off to war.

What can you point to that is measurable that shows it to be a success?

Ken Lassman 8 months, 1 week ago

Barbara Lancaster, in her book that looks at the history of foreign aid (Foreign Aid: Diplomacy, Development, Domestic Politics) states that the historical rationale for modern foreign aid began during the Cold War in the 50s as a means to bring/keep countries from falling into the communist economic sphere, and that makes sense to me. While foreign aid was not the sole reason for the fall of the communist economic sphere, it certainly contributed and played a successful role.

Lancaster goes on to say that in the70s and 80s humanitarian relief to address starvation and economic collapse became a driving force, bolstered by the growth of NGOs asking for assistance in their relief efforts. Again, foreign aid in this new role saved millions of lives, which I think is a good measure of our foreign aid's success.

Lancaster said that after the collapse of the Soviet Union's economic sphere of influence, foreign aid lost some of its single minded focus, with some going toward developing stronger economic globalization structure, some building post-conflict economies in areas crippled by recent wars and some still devoted to emergency humanitarian relief. As such, evaluating the success/failure of foreign aid in the ensuing years requires that the varied goals need to be identified before concluding its success/failure.

But I see no effort to distinguish goals in either in your blanket judgements, or in the judgement of the Trump Administration's. Furthermore, you seem to be conflating foreign aid for funding wars and foreign aid for many other purposes, so it is difficult to know what you are trying to say. I was (and am) saying that foreign aid used for nation building, humanitarian relief and economic development is a very different tool than funding totalitarian/war machines, and if we give up the former goals, we DO end up sending in our military as our "foreign aid" contribution, which is a foreign aid failure in my book if there ever was one.

Brock Masters 8 months, 1 week ago

BS Ken, your quote is right there. You said without foreign aid we'd be sending men and women to war. You brought war into it.

All I said was is I support cuts to foreign aid. It was only when you made your statement that I quoted earlier that I said if that was the intended purpose it failed because we are continually at war.

Quote some book all you want but your cannot show me a measurable outcome that demonstrates foreign is a success. I mean come on, it isn't like we don't have billions of communist in the world despite giving aid to both communist and non- communist countries.

Ken, the problem with you is you keep moving the goal line when your proven wrong.

For that reason I choose just to ignore you.

Ken Lassman 8 months, 1 week ago

BS? You asked me: "What can you point to that is measurable that shows it to be a success?" and I gave you very specific measures of success. Maybe you forgot your question?

Let me place the dots a little closer, since you don't seem to be following my foreign aid and war connections. I initially stated that without the foreign aid investments, we would be sending our troops abroad even more than we have. In our discussion, I was more specific and said that our initial foreign aid programs were to maintain/establish ties to the Western economic sphere in order to prevent countries from falling under communist influence. Do you really believe that if we hadn't done that that we wouldn't have been involved in even more wars? I don't. The numbers living under communism has fallen dramatically--you can own private property in Russia, which while still being a totalitarian government is no longer communist, and even China allows private ownership of businesses even tho they keep tight reins on ownership of property.

And speaking of China, if you don't believe in the efficacy of foreign aid, take a gander at China's foreign aid investments and goals sometime.

Next, I talked about humanitarian relief initiatives where we gave foreign aid intervene in countries facing starvation, economic collapse, etc. Once again, I have no doubt that we would have been involved in more wars had we not made those efforts.

We also have stabilized countries at risk of falling into/continuing conflict, and while sometimes our efforts were to no avail, other times our foreign aid stabilized the situation to a point short of war. The heavy infusions into Egypt and Israel come to mind here, but there are others. Foreign aid infusions have helped stabilize situations in Nigeria, Haiti, Uganda and Malawi for starters, and not so much in the Sudan and Congo, where foreign aid has not stopped the progression toward civil war. I think if we had not made our foreign aid contributions in that first list of countries, we'd be either sending in our soldiers or more likely bankrolling proxy regional UN Peacekeeping forces who have not had great success preventing the progression of civil wars without pretty heavy handed involvement by the US.

Regarding nation-building, our successes after WWII with the Marshall Plan and Japanese reconstruction were clearly good investments, and frankly, our investments in Russia post Gorbachev have helped stabilize their country and certainly their nuclear arsenal, which has clearly been essential to preventing wars of the worst kind from proliferating. The Russian example also brings up the topic of private vs publicly funded foreign aid, but that's a whole other topic for discussion.

So just because you didn't understand what I was talking about doesn't mean I have been moving the goal posts any more than you have. I think that is the purpose of discussions: to clarify what you REALLY mean.

Marc Wilborn 8 months, 1 week ago

Areas of the world that need our assistance may never change as opportunists take advantage and the benefit we bring is diluted or completely stolen. We have supported entire countries who are no better off than 50 years ago. As seen with the ME, many parts of the world are not a good investment of our precious "treasure" whether it be military or non-military aid.

As a good example, look at Venezuela which is currently circling the drain after decades of corruption at the hands of their leaders and military. A country with the some of the largest oil reserves in the world is now in chaos, left to eat what they can scrounge including their precious zoo animals. What to do? Falling oil prices couldn't have helped. Maybe similar to our own WVA coal miners?

As seen through WikiLeaks, even the Clintons couldn't restrain themselves as they fell upon the starving people of Haiti after the earthquake through the CGI. Google "Capitalistic Cowboys", it's only 35 minutes. A good documentary of what is really out there.

Richard Aronoff 8 months, 1 week ago

I can see that Dorothy knows as much about 20th century history as she knows about the Bible.

BTW, here's a question for you Dorothy. Why did my daughter name her parakeet Onan?

Armen Kurdian 8 months, 1 week ago

We don't have the money. We do have $20T in debt. That's 100% of our GDP. Debt service is several percentage points of our annual budget and it grows as a percentage every year. That is not sustainable.

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