No more loans, please

America doesn’t owe us anything and the world doesn’t owe us anything. We should neither demand nor expect charity.

Kazim Alam November 14, 2011
It’s common to hear people quote the dollar amount the United States spends annually on its wars and homeland security — and put next to it the money needed to end world poverty, Aids, cancer or malaria.

One such comparison is that the US has spent $980 billion in Iraq since 2003, which is enough to wipe out world poverty for 10 years. According to another estimate, the United States can control malaria deaths in Africa by diverting 3.7 per cent of its $81 billion annual budget for national intelligence.

I’m not pro-war. Neither do I approve of heavy military spending by any country of the world. But my objection to these comparisons is that they’re fundamentally wrong. You simply can’t tell a person — or a country, for that matter —how they should spend their money.

Although it makes sense to question the almost one trillion dollars the United States has spent on the Iraq war, I think the objection should rather be made by Americans themselves. It’s their tax money. It’s their government. It’s their military. They spend money on what their politicians think is in their national interest.

The number of fiscal conservatives in the United States is on the rise — a fact corroborated by the growing popularity of the Tea Party movement. Many Americans are increasingly questioning all the money their government spends outside of their country when it can alternatively be used on the needs they have domestically.

We should take care of ourselves and not look for any handouts. The solution to our economic woes lies in being careful with the money we’ve got. For instance, the government has given subsidies of over Rs1,000 billion to the power sector in the last three years. That’s a mindboggling figure if compared to the total development budget of Rs220.5 billion for 2011-12.

Heavy subsidies mean more loans, and more loans mean a widening fiscal deficit. We’re getting our future generations into debt. Fiscal conservatism will fix our economy, American handouts won’t. America doesn’t owe us anything. The world doesn’t owe us anything. We should neither demand nor expect charity.
Kazim Alam
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


sajid | 12 years ago | Reply Our army and government should stop begging aid from America or any other nation. Even if we do get aid who knows whats done with it. America gives billions to the army yet they still could not plant enough security cameras on mehran base. Our education department gets millions from around the world yet our literacy rate is still extremely low. Womens ministry gets aid but pakistan was described as the second worst country for women in the world. So clearly this aid or loan is not used for the benefit of common man they are only there to fill the pockets of some lucky upper ones. Its time the common pakistanis wake up and demand their government to stop this slavery and stand on their own two feet.
Ali | 12 years ago | Reply More worryingly, where is this money going? Does anybody trace where this hard currency ends up. Which schemes are paid for with this aid, are these schemes devoid of corruption. At the end of the day the rich will run off abroad, it's the middle and lower classes that will have to pay it all back!
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