In light of the recent controversy over the withholding of foreign aid from Ukraine, I'd like to discuss the amount we've given in aid over the years. My first reaction to the situation facing President Trump and the possibility that he withheld foreign aid to obtain "dirt" on former Vice President Joe Biden, was "why are we giving them MY money in the first place?" Where is the form I signed consenting on the decision to take money from me and give it to other people?
It might go without saying, but I'll say it anyway- I do not consent to my money being forcefully stolen from my paycheck and then given to people in other countries. If you think taxation goes against the bedrock of our country's founding, how could you think that taxation of American Citizens for the benefit of other nations is morally justified?
Through several hours of research, I was able to find the amount we've spent in foreign aid over the years. I could have gone back to the 40's, but I chose to stop in 1969 to round out a nice 50-year period.
Since 1969, we've taken $1.8 trillion (in constant) dollars away from the American people and given it to other countries. On average, it's about $30 billion per year, while dipping down to $20 billion some years, and peaking up at $50 billion on others.
The question I want to answer is simple: If the Federal Government had been putting that money into a savings account instead of doling it out to other nations, what could we do with that money right now?
Here are just 8 of the many options:
1. We could give $26,668,642 to every homeless veteran.
"There are over 630,000 homeless people in America. 67,495 are veterans. It amazes me that in today’s society, over 1 in 10 homeless people in America are veterans." Ryan Guina, The Military Wallet. Maybe those homeless veterans could be taken completely off the street, instead we chose to give that money to people in other countries.
2. We could build that wall at the Mexican border (if that's your thing). Actually we could build it 25 times.
Trump may have won the election on his "Build the Wall" campaign, but the wall is far from finished. Some people (my self included) say the wall will never be finished, others say it will be finished if Trump wins re-election. Republican's estimated the budget for the wall at $21.6 billion. Democrats argued that it would actually cost upwards of $70 billion. I must say that's the first time I've ever seen the Democrats estimate a higher budget for something done by the government. Just so you know, my calculation was done using the Democrats $70 billion figure.
3. We could fund the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation... For 400 more years.
This, like the others, is not an actual policy proposal. I do, however, think that it's important to note what private individuals can do with a much smaller amount of money. Over the last 20 years, the Gates family has been focused on eradicating diseases in Africa. They nearly done it with Polio, and are moving on the Malaria. In addition to that, they have completely reinvented Nuclear Energy, which is about the only realistic option for solving the left's "Climate Crisis." By the way, they were able to do that with a budget of $4 billion per year.
4. We could give every adult in the U.S. $7,200.
Hey, it's not much, but I don't know anyone that couldn't use an extra $7k right now.
5. We could give $2,857,142 to every single homeless person in America.
Earlier we mentioned the fact that there are currently 630,000 homeless in the United States. If you wanted to immediately take those people off the street, you could give each of them a equal portion of the money we've given to foreign governments over the last 50 years. That's enough for them to make $71,000 for the next 40 years if needed.
6. We could pay off all overdue medical bills in America... for the next 20 years.
Overdue medical debt in America is around $1,766 per person on average. That's among about 43 million people. I'm not saying that's where tax money should go, but wouldn't that be better than other countries pockets? That overdue debt totals in the neighborhood of $80 billion. With our $1.8 trillion savings account, we could pay overdue debt for more than 20 years. Of course, instituting this policy would lead to more overdue debt, but you get the idea.
7. We could pay all overdue medical debt AND all Student Loan debt.
The medical debt is nice, but just think that in addition to that we could pay off all student loans. That debt currently sits at $1.56 trillion. There's still money left over after the institution of these two ideas.
8. We could pay off ALL Credit Card Debt.
Current credit card debt in the U.S. is a major issue. People are spending more than they earn, and they are doing it in increasing amounts. The debt for this rests at nearly $1 trillion. That's a piece of cake for our foreign aid savings account.
I'm not suggesting that these problems be fixed by the government, but I am suggesting that the government is generally terrible at making decisions on how to spend YOUR money.
The real tragedy is imagining what the private sector could have done if that money would have been left in the right hands over the span of 50 years. If it would have been invested year over year through that period of time, it would have reached $3.4 trillion by now. That's without considering the new innovations and creations we'd have if left in the hands of business investors.