A Facebook post that got overheated about the U.S. being the most generous nation in the world got my interest and I decided to check it out for myself.
It turns out we’re second to last, just before Italy, in our aid to other countries. Japan, Germany and France all provide a much bigger share of their GDP to countries in need. Worse yet, many of the dollars that get counted are pledges and not actual cash. Remember George Bush’s pledge to provide $15BN to African countries to fight AIDS? It’s like that.
The biggest recipient of foreign aid is Israel at 12% or our aid budget. Most of this are subsidies for weapons systems. I’m not anti-Israel, so hold up on the hate mail, but Israel is literally the only place on earth where you can find venture capital, so I don’t think they’re hurting financially.
Also, most people don’t realize that most foreign aid is provided in the form of loans:
Many aid recipients in the developing world are burdened by debt payments to the wealthy nations and institutions, often for loans taken out decades earlier by dictatorial regimes that squandered the money. While the developing world receives about $80 billion in aid each year, it pays the developed world about $200 billion; it is still uncertain how much of that will be relieved.
This article is a real eye opener.