How did the United States become the world’s source of free money?
While our economy continues to tank we send billions of dollars to nations and get very little in return. It’s like when you gave a kid in the playground your dessert so he will be your friend.
Let’s take a look at our relationship with Pakistan. In 2009 the United States enacted the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act which authorized $7.5 billion in aid over a five-year period. The 2009 appropriation tripled the rate of assistance that the United States had been sending.
What did we get in return? Some deep suspicions that Pakistani leaders were aware that Osama bin Laden was living under their noses for the past five years.
So what did our billions buy? Not very much. Now there are new revelations that Pakistan has been “padding” its invoices connected to the war on terror. In one case, Pakistan billed the United States for millions to refurbish four helicopters supposedly being used to fight the Taliban, when three of them were actually diverted to the Sudan for U.N. peacekeeping duties. For starters, that’s frauding the U.S. taxpayer.
Maybe we should also be looking at Pakistan’s relationship with the United States as a trade partner. Pakistan is our 57th largest trading partner with $5.4 billion in total two way trade during 2010. Exports totaled $1.9 billion while imports totaled $3.5 billion resulting in a trade deficit of $1.6 billion in 2010.
You read that right. While we give Pakistan $7.5 billion, we have a trade imbalance with Pakistan that exceeds $1.6 billion. The overall U.S. trade deficit is currently $563 billion up from last year's $496 billion. Can we afford to continue supplementing Pakistan’s economy and other world economies when our economy gains no benefit?
Let’s look at Pakistan’s exports. The top export categories in 2010 were: machinery ($280 million), aircraft ($220 million), arms and ammunition ($175 million), cotton, yarn and fabric ($158 million) and iron and steel products ($104 million). Do you find the $175 million in arms and ammunition exports a bit strange? If they can afford to export military goods why are we sending them more money to pay for the same thing?
I don’t mean to beat up on Pakistan. I am against all forms of foreign aid unless there is a clear economic benefit to the United States. Aid includes the stationing of U.S. forces in foreign countries allowing them the benefit to build their economies under the cover of U.S. guaranteed security. Security comes at a stiff price.
While there is so much pain and suffering in America, while so many people are out of work, while our deficit is exploding; how can we continue to supply the world free money? And why don’t the recipients of decades of American generosity reciprocate?
Japan is the United States' third largest trade partner. But it is hard to ignore the U.S. trade deficit with Japan of $45 billion in 2009 accounted for 9 percent of our overall deficit.
U.S. exports to Japan in 2009 were $52 billion, down 21.4 percent ($14 billion) from 2008, and down 4.3 percent from 1994. U.S. exports to Japan accounted for 4.8 percent of overall U.S. exports in 2009, down from 10.4 percent in 1994. Our trade relation is going backwards despite years of promises of opening up their market to U.S. exports and allowing American exporters the same access to Japan as Japanese exporters have to our market. Yet the U.S. taxpayer continues to spend billions of dollars every year on Japan’s defense.
The U.S. trade imbalance with Germany is almost $11 billion – our fourth largest trade deficit. Germany is a NATO partner but doesn’t seem to think enough of the U.S. to expand its imports of U.S. goods. Have they forgotten the Marshall Plan that saved Germany’s economy after World War II?
While we have a rare trade surplus with Egypt this is offset by the billions that we send them to support their government. Egypt is the second largest recipient of U.S. aid and yet many U.S. exports to Egypt are hit with tariffs that exceed 30 percent. Does this seem fair to you?
I am an American exporter and am not advocating isolationism.
However when we invest so much treasure overseas the American taxpayer cannot continue to be stiffed. If we give you U.S. dollars, you must open your market to U.S. goods. This creates U.S. jobs, expands our tax base and at its heart, is fair and equitable.
It’s time to stop filling the wallets of other countries when ours are empty.
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