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IPFS News Link • Trump Administration

Impeachment Reminder of Our Toxic Foreign Aid

• https://www.fff.org, by James Bovard

Ukraine was supposed to be on the verge of great progress until Trump pulled the rug out from under the heroic salvation effort by U.S. government bureaucrats. Unfortunately, Congress has devoted a hundred times more attention to the timing of aid to Ukraine than to its effectiveness. And most of the media coverage pretended that U.S. handouts abroad are as generous and uplifting as congressmen claim.

U.S. foreign aid has long fueled the poxes it promised to eradicate — especially kleptocracy, or government by thieves. A 2002 American Economic Review analysis concluded that "increases in [foreign] aid are associated with contemporaneous increases in corruption" and that "corruption is positively correlated with aid received from the United States." Windfalls of foreign aid can make politicians more rapacious, which economists have dubbed the "voracity effect."

Early in his presidency, George W. Bush promised to reform foreign aid, declaring, "I think it makes no sense to give aid money to countries that are corrupt." Regardless, the Bush administration continued delivering billions of dollars in handouts to many of the world's most corrupt regimes.

Barack Obama proclaimed at the United Nations in 2010 that the U.S. government was "leading a global effort to combat corruption." The Los Angeles Times noted that Obama's "aides said the United States in the past has often seemed to just throw money at problems," while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted that "a lot of these aid programs don't work" and lamented their "heartbreaking" failures. But Obama promised during his 2008 campaign to double foreign-aid spending, which obliterated efforts to reform failed programs. In 2011, congressional Republicans sought to restrict foreign aid going to fraud-ridden foreign regimes. Secretary of State Clinton wailed that restricting handouts to nations that fail anti-corruption tests "has the potential to affect a staggering number of needy aid recipients."


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