Scott Tibbs
blog post
January 2nd, 2004

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The "stingy" United States

On Christmas Day, tragedy struck in Asia when an earthquake measuring 9.2 on the Richter Scale struck in the Pacific Ocean, creating a tsunami that devastated several countries and caused the deaths of over 123,000 people. In response, President George W. Bush promised $15 million in aid to the region. The United Nations complained that the aid package was "stingy", and the New York Times agreed. The U.S. aid package eventually grew to $350 million, with various Western countries also increasing their respective aid packages.

In another development, former British International Development Secretary Clare Short actually complained that President Bush was "undermining" the United Nations by coordinating a separate relief effort from the U.N. Short whined that the United Nations is the only entity with the "moral authority" to administer the program.

The audacity of this statement is stunning. Instead of whining and crying about how the U.S. is administering the aid, perhaps Short should recognize the good that the United States is doing. We are, as we have dozens of times, spending the tax money confiscated from hard-working Americans to help out other countries despite being under no obligation to do so. In fact, it was only a decade ago that heroic American troops were being massacred in Somalia while trying to relieve a famine caused by monstrous and barbaric Somali warlords.

The idea that the United Nations has any "moral authority" after the oil for food scandal that enriched Saddam Hussein with the help of our "friends" at the UN. Let's be honest here. Without the United States, the United Nations is nothing. If we evicted the UN from New York City and dropped out of the organization, it would be a lethal blow, just as it was when we refused to join the League of Nations after World War I.

Beyond the U.S. government's "stingy" offer of aid, Pfizer donated "$10 million in cash and $25 million worth of drugs" to disaster relief. Other greedy and heartless American corporations have joined in as well. Microsoft pledged $3.5 million to relief efforts. The American Red Cross had collected over $29 million in donations from "stingy" Americans to help with the relief efforts.

Some, like David Holcberg, are questioning whether the federal government should be helping at all. This is an important question to ask. Many people simply assume that the federal government will send tens of millions (or hundreds of millions) in aid to help areas hurt by a natural disaster. But should we have that expectation? None of the money the federal government spends belongs to the people who appropriate the money. That money belongs to, and was confiscated by force from, the American taxpayer. Why should other countries have an expectation that our government will automatically give when they are in need?

The Bible makes it clear that Christians are obligated to help those less fortunate than ourselves, and that obligation does not have national boundaries. Christians should donate what they can to help those in need, whether it be victims of a natural disaster, poverty, famine or disease. The Bible does not command that we confiscate our neighbor's wealth by force and use that wealth to help those in need.

Aid to disaster-stricken regions of the world should be administered by private charities, not by government. People have a choice whether or not to donate to private charities, and they are more efficient with their money than government. If government must be involved, it should be kept away from the corrupt United Nations bureaucracy.