A friend said to me yesterday, ‘America needs to stop worrying about helping the rest of the world, we’re going bankrupt!’
Fact is, we do give a lot (in dollar amounts) compared to a lot of other countries, but that’s not the whole picture. When you look at what percentage we contribute to help those who are trying to survive, here are the facts.
In 2009, America was next to last in the percentage it gave to help others (Japan was last). In 2010 we were last, giving the lowest percentage of any country in relation to our worth. In 2011 we are fourth from the bottom, giving an average of 1/5th of 1% of our worth to help other countries.
To put it more simply, imagine you make $100 a month and your neighbor makes $10,000 a month. You give, to charity, $10 a month. So you are donating 1/10th of your monthly income to help others. Your neighbor, gives $20 a month. Sure, he can walk around and beat his chest and talk about how he gives so much more, but the fact is, he is actually giving much less in comparison to you. By the end of the year, you’ve made $1,200 dollars and given $120 to charity. At the end of his year, he’s made $120,000 and given $240 to charity. That sounds a little less like doing what we can and a little more like what the big Corporations in America are doing, by making billions in profits but refusing to pay their fair share of taxes. We, as a country, do the same thing to the rest of the world.
Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, Denmark and The Netherlands give the highest percentages of their worth, to help others. All who also give more to their Education, provide Healthcare to their citizens and are far ahead in Green Energy. So to those who like to scream that Obamacare (or anything else that will help our citizens) is going to bankrupt America…again, proven to not be true.
Of course, you can say that those countries don’t have to sustain a military the way we do. Well, to be perfectly honest, the fact that we have over 120 bases around the world, spend such a large amount of our money on a war machine that is the size of the next 10 countries combined and don’t really have a more peaceful world to show for it, I’d say that’s not really something to be bragging about. Thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of civilians around the world have died for our need to ‘fight for our Freedoms,’ which is less an actual fact and more just a rally cry to keep Americans scared.
It’s more like we’re fighting to feed our fears.
In the end, what is going to bankrupt America, is not the amount of money we give to help other countries, or even that we may start helping our own citizens survive better with things like Education and Healthcare. What’s going to bankrupt us is the fact that we like to scream so loudly about how great we are, but when you add up the numbers, the only thing we’re excelling at is the size of our military, the numbers of wars we are fighting around the world and the number of our own citizens we are letting suffer in the meantime. We’re going bankrupt alright…morally.
Vince is the author of Einstein’s Shutter, among other works.