When other countries have financial hardships, governments of the richer countries frequently offer to send money or other aid to help them out. Some countries spend billions of dollars in foreign aid every year. Currently, there are thousands of refugees fleeing Syria and looking for shelter in the US, Canada, and many other places, and providing shelter for all of these people will cost millions of dollars as well. But there are thousands of people here in Canada who are living in poverty. There are people struggling to make ends meet because they can’t find a job. I saw a posting recently about homeless veterans. Does it make sense to send this much taxpayer money overseas or spend it on non-Canadians when there are people here in Canada that are in trouble?
(Note that I’m specifically talking about Canada here, but it applies to the US and probably many other countries as well.)
I say no. We should cancel all foreign aid and fix our own problems before helping the rest of the world with theirs. I generally agree that if you have the chance to help someone who needs help, you help them, end of story. Of course, it’s rarely that simple, and when you’re talking about sending hundreds of millions (or more) of taxpayer dollars overseas, that’s just far too simplistic. As long as there are Canadians with problems that can be solved using taxpayer money, it is our responsibility to help them rather than sending that money out of the country. Fix our own problems first.
First we need to define what “problems” we’re talking about. The ones that come up most often are poverty and unemployment, but we can also talk about everything from healthcare to crime to drugs and many others. How many of these problems need to be solved before we will help other countries? Maybe we could just pick the most important two or three. But if we did that, there would still be Canadians who need help with the ones we decide not to solve. Are those people less worthy of help than those who we’ve already helped? Of course not, so we can’t stop with some of these problems, we must tackle them all.
Another question is how completely the problems need to be solved before we’re willing to re-establish foreign aid. Say we have 5% unemployment and inner city poverty is a real problem. After implementing some of the plans we will have come up with for eliminating problems like poverty and unemployment, we have 1% unemployment and have cut the number of people living in poverty by 75%. That’s pretty good, huh? Things are definitely better than they were but even with that improvement, there still are Canadians in poverty and Canadians looking for jobs. The problems aren’t solved. There are still Canadians who need help – again, what makes these people less important than the ones we did help? We can’t stop yet, not until all the problems have been solved. We can’t be satisfied with just improving the situation or reducing these problems, we have to eliminate them. Fix our own problems first.
All we have to do is completely eliminate all problems in Canada, including poverty, unemployment, domestic violence, substance abuse, and crime. We have to do this quickly and without raising taxes. Once that’s done, we’ll have lots of taxpayer money that we will happily use to help others around the world who are in need of it.
So I’m sorry, people living in squalor and dying of dysentery or starvation, and people hoping not to get murdered by rampant terrorists or your own corrupt government. We have people in Canada selling expensive drugs to rich teenagers, and we need to put a stop to that. Also, some people with medical issues have to wait months for an MRI, and we need to cut that way down.
Once we solve all of our own problems completely, we’ll have the perfect society and then we’ll be happy to help you out financially, though you and your children will probably be dead by then. That’s unfortunate, but we have to fix our own problems first.