Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Actually, just the opposite, but you would never know it by reading the New York Times!

The invaluable Rich Galen, proprietor of "Mullings", runs the numbers:

Headline in yesterday's New York Times: "U.S. Challenged to Increase Aid to Africa" which topped a piece by reporter Celia Dugger.

The article states that the European Union has "agreed unanimously... to almost double assistance to poor countries over the next five years. Japan this week reaffirmed its pledge to double aid to Africa in just three years."

All this in the run-up to British Prime Minister Tony Blair's visit to Washington this week at which he "hopes to shake loose more American aid for Africa."

Way, way, WAY down in the ninth paragraph we read that the "United States has tripled aid to Africa to $3.2 billion since Mr. Bush took office." [Emphasis mine]

Wait. What? You mean that the Great Internationalist, Bill Clinton, presented budgets for aid to Africa which were only a third of the Great Isolationist George W. Bush?

That can't be correct, can it? Nah. Surely the New York Times would have published a series of congratulatory editorials if it were true.

Even FARTHER down in the story, this nugget: [T]he United States is still the single largest donor [to Africa], giving about a quarter of the total...."

Still not enough because the same sentence goes on to say, "[The US] is next to last in the share of national income it gives - 16 cents of each $100. On average, major European nations give more than twice as much - 36 cents of each $100."

Ok. You wanna play the statistics game? Let's go to the tape:

According to the highly respected Organization for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2001 France provided .34 percent of its GNI to aid to Africa. In 2004 that went up to .42 percent - an increase of about 24%.

In 2001 (which would have been the last Clinton budget), the donation level of the US was .11% of GNI. That has, under the guidance of George W. Bush, increased to .16 % in 2004 - a boost of over 45%!

Germany's contribution over that period has increased just over three percent. Japan, by the way, has DECREASED its donation since 2001
by about 17 percent.

See? It's not enough that the American people give 25 cents out of every dollar given by every nation on the planet. 25 percent is not a fair share.

The New York Times believes you have too much money and you should share more of it with the very excellent national leaders of African countries.

25 cents out of every dollar donated to Africa is donated by you. You also, by the way, donate 20 cents out of every dollar which goes to running the United Nations.

According to the charts and graphs, the country of Luxembourg is as close to the top of the list as the US is to the bottom - number two. Luxembourg has contributed .85% of its Gross National Income to this effort which translates to about $241 million.

The miserly United States donated $19 BILLION in 2004.

There are 191 members of the United Nations. I guarantee you that the UN representative from Upper Iguana is not wringing his hands trying to figure out how to increase UI's contribution to the UN or to Africa.

I also guarantee you that the representative from Upper Iguana is heavily involved in high-level cocktail party discussions as to how to distribute the power of decision-making at the UN more fairly; read UI gets as big as say as the US.

So long as we're inventing metrics to make our case, how about this one: In every one of these activities for each dollar your country donates you get one vote. You donate $241 million you get 241 million votes.

You donate $19 Billion, you get 19,000,000,000 votes.

Now, that sounds fair.

On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to the NY Times article which got me started on this and a link to the OECD charts showing how our 19 Billion isn't cutting the mustard. Also a Mullfoto and a Catchy Caption of the Day.

The "Blame America First" crowd (as Jean Kirkpatrick so aptly put it) never seems to miss a chance to skew the numbers. We seem to get all of the blame and none of the credit while "the world" sits on its hands awaiting an American solution to problems for which they can take credit if successful, or scourge us with blame if it is less than so. We seem to be the world's whipping boy and financier rolled into one. It makes one want to throw up one's in disgust and let "the world" hoist itself by its own petard.....but then again, that's not who we are, is it?

Maybe being American means having an innumerable nuber of cheeks to turn, maybe that's just part of being the world's "last, best hope of mankind."

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