Accuracy in Media

“After fifty years and more than $2 trillion in aid, the West has strikingly little to show for its efforts in alleviating poverty.” This was the blurb advertising an April 25 event at the American Enterprise Institute entitled, “Why Foreign Aid Has Failed-And How to Fix It.” However, the Los Angeles Times on April 13 ran an editorial accusing the U.S. of being stingy in dispersing foreign aid. For the Times, $2 trillion still isn’t enough. The Times said it was the “moral” thing to do to spend more of our money on foreign aid.

Here’s a concrete example of where professed compassion for the poor from a liberal editorial writer supersedes the facts of the case. It’s typically liberal to pose as a humanitarian by spending someone else’s money. And that money is ours, going down the toilet.

The Times seized upon a European report finding that the U.S. ranks 21st of 22 nations in the percentage of national income devoted to foreign aid. The editorial said the U.S., in the “Monterrey Consensus” of 2002, made a commitment to boosting foreign aid to 0.7 percent of national income by 2015.

What the Times did not make clear is that, according to U.N. calculations by Jeffrey Sachs, a top adviser to U.N. boss Kofi Annan, the U.S. stands at 0.15 percent of GNP and that meeting the 0.7 percent figure requires an additional expenditure by the U.S. of $65 billion a year. Over the 13 year period of 2002-2015, that adds up to an additional $845 billion. Sachs believes the gap ought to be made up through energy taxes on the American people.

The Washington Post followed with an April 16 editorial that was slightly more honest. It noted a Hudson Institute study finding that U.S. private giving to poor countries came to $71 billion in 2004. If you add in the “official” and private assistance, U.S. help to poor countries comes to 0.61 percent of national income, “only slightly less than the 0.7 percent target urged by development advocates.” Still, the Post found fault with those numbers, saying some of that assistance came from workers in the U.S. sending money back to their native countries. The U.S., the Post said, “should invest more in the battle against poverty.” There was no mention of the Sachs plan to impose global taxes on the American people.

These two editorials ignored the phony figures on AIDS, which represent the diversion of who knows how many billions of dollars through the U.N. that also have  been wasted. Craig Timberg’s April 6 Washington Post article cited evidence that the U.N. AIDS agency has “overestimated the extent of HIV/AIDS in East and West Africa and, by a smaller margin, in southern Africa, according to independent researchers and U.N. officials.”

Timberg said critics blamed the exaggerations on “political calculations, with the emphasis on raising awareness and money.”

Now they want more of your money, in the name of morality and compassion. Our major liberal papers continue to go along with the scam.




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