The ABC’s Leigh Sales sneers:
In 2003, the US gave $19 billion in official development assistance – more than the next two largest givers combined, according to the Organisation for Economic Coordination and Development.
But when you look at what nations give as a percentage of their Gross National Product, the US is way behind. The most generous nations – Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands – give almost one per cent of their GNP to aid. The US gives 0.1 per cent, coming in at 22nd place, when nations are ranked according to their generosity.
Like percentage of GNP makes a damn bit of difference to the people receiving the aid. As Colin Powell notes, the US will likely contribute more than $1 billion to the tsunami aid effort. And USAID chief Andrew Natsios makes this point about GNP measures:
“That’s a European standard, this percentage that’s used,” Natsios said. “The United States, for 40 years, has never accepted these standards that it should be based on the gross national product. We base it on the actual dollars that we spent.
“The reason is that our gross national product is so enormous. And our growth rates are so much higher than the other wealthy nations.”
Ignored in GNP calculations are private contributions. According to a study mentioned in the above-linked piece, Americans last year gave an estimated $241 billion to charitable causes, up from $234 billion in 2002. And look what’s happening over at Amazon, where donations towards tsunami aid have now reached $841,335. (Via Instapundit, where a reader earlier observed 1,000 Amazon contributions arriving within five minutes.)
That won’t impress Leigh Sales:
While the US Government is so far giving $44 million to the tsunami victims, the National Retail Federation here predicts Americans will spend more than $200 billion on presents, food and holiday sales this Christmas.
Picture Sales congratulating herself for landing a telling blow against the Great Satan.
(Via reader Tony Le Bas and contributor Alan R.M. Jones)
UPDATE. The Amazon appeal has now gone above one million dollars.