Monday, June 27, 2005

Ignorant, Greedy Americans Refuse to Give Aid to Africa

In a bizarre fundraising gambit, organizers of the Live 8 concert are insulting Americans in order to get them to contribute more. I don't know about you, but I tend not to contribute to causes that insult me as an American. Maybe the "Empty your pockets, you cheap, stupid Yankee fatass!" approach works on liberals.

I'm also resistant to fund raisers that feature self-righteous pop musicians burnishing their images. If they want to feel better about themselves they should give their money and give up the perks that are used to entice them to perform for "charity".

From Reuters:
...experts say the biggest challenge in the United States is changing entrenched perceptions that it is the world's most generous country.

"It's pathetic how low our aid budget is," said Harvard University economist Kenneth Rogoff. He noted that if Americans feel disconnected from African issues it is because "the majority of Americans have never even been abroad."

"The feeling that we are somehow doing these countries a lot of good by forgiving their debts is incredibly ignorant on some level," he said.

Rogoff said rich nations should give grants instead of loans and African nations must reform.
Of course there's no mention of the money and lives spent freeing Afghanistan and Iraq. I want to see an announcement from Rogoff that he's tithing his Harvard salary to send to African charities. He could dun his colleagues, as well. A voluntary secular tithe, now there's an idea.

Update: In the comments, reader Oyster points out a BBC News (!) article that contradicts the perception being propagated by the Live 8 organizers:
It's true that United States "official development assistance" is less than 0.2% of its gross national product (way below that of Luxembourg, Holland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, all of which exceed the 0.7% target set at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992).

But when non-governmental generosity is included, the US moves up the list - not to the top, but way above the bottom.