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January 3, 2005

Stingy, schmingy

$350 million, a carrier battle group with 400 marines offering help, and millions of dollars of donations from around the world still aren't enough to keep the assholes from bashing the U.S. and its efforts to bring relief to the tsunami victims. Sandra Bullock gave $1M of her own money for crying out loud. I guess it doesn't matter what we do there is always going to be catch 22 for our actions as a nation.

Something that raised an eyebrow with me is that it seems like it is always the dirt poor countries that get rammed with these catastrophes. AIDS epidemics in poor African countries, tsunami victims in poor Asian countries, and then Florida gets hit by 4 hurricanes in close succession. I bring up FL because it seemed like they only showed the trailer parks that got hit. Being from AR I can appreciate that because the local news would always show the mutilated trailer parks after a tornado would bitch slap its way through the state.

It is tragic, it sucks for the survivors and their families, but why shit on people who are sending money, even if it isn't what other people think is the "right" amount, to help people out? That's like the Salvation Army guy waving his bell at me after I dropped some change in his bucket and saying, "Hey pal, you need to give some more."


  1. Well, I think the ruckus has died down a bit since Bush upped the offering to $350 million. The initial offer, you might recall, was a paltry $15 million. While that may sound like a good sum, the comparison was frequently made that the bill for Bush's second inaugural festivities was going to come to about $40 million. It wasn't that people were complaining about that -- parties involving a president aren't going to be cheap -- but it was just the idea that in the wake of this tremendous event we offered up less than half of what we were planning on spemding entertaining the wealthy and politically connected in our own country for a couple of days.

    However, our overall pattern of foreign aid does leave a lot to be desired. There was a great Op-Ed in the NY Times today that offers some perspectives on our national generosity. Don't worry, it's not a left-wing rant. The writer points out, "President Bush has actually been much better about helping poor countries than President Clinton was."

    Full text here:

    Highlights are:

    Americans give 15 cents per day per person in official development assistance to poor countries. The average American spends four times that on soft drinks daily.

    We gave 15 cents for every $100 of national income to poor countries. Denmark gave 84 cents, the Netherlands gave 80 cents, Belgium gave 60 cents, France gave 41 cents, and Greece gave 21 cents (that was the lowest share, beside our own).

  2. Although our intial offering might have seemed meager at least it was something that was pushed through quickly to get out to the victims of the disaster. Is there any doubt that we were going to give more? It was like, "Here is the change I have in my pocket; wait a sec and I'll get my checkbook out."

    I find it deplorable that the Arab nations, who's fellow worshippers comprise the largest population of Muslims in that part of the world, have given a little more than jack-shit to this disaster.