Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Good People of Gringolandia

A Salvadorian lady sits behind her door and watches the world walk by

I try to have a chat with every taxi driver that I meet.  Not that they're any great fount of wisdom but they normally have some good insight into politics and the social condition.  Tonight's conversation went like this:

Me: "How's it going tonight?  How's business"?
Driver: "Slow"
Me: "Why's that? The weather"?
Driver:  "No, there's not enough money".
Me: "Oh, why not"?
Driver: "Mr. Obama isn't giving us any money".

The conversation abruptly ended there. What do you say to that?  I suppose I could go into a triad about American tax dollars belong to the American people, i.e. those who actually pay the taxes, but that will have fallen on deaf ears.  (I use "American" to mean the United States… so lets not nit-pick.  I'm fully aware of the technicalities.)

This is a common perception, at least in Latin America, that the United States is "rich", and has an obligation to give money to lesser-developed countries, like whatever one I happen to be in at the time.  I'm all for giving money for development, access, influence… something that benefits the good people of Gringolandia, but to just outright gift U.S. tax dollars goes against my grain.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It goes against my grain too but not as much as giving huge gifts to multimillionair bankers who have spent their whole lives promoting a system that has been terribly flawed.
How much important life saving equipment would 100.000 dollars buy?
Would the American people notice that 100.000 was missing from their national treasury? Now multiply 100.000 times 100. My math is not very good but I think that is a lot of money for one person. Yet I bet that the US government spends that every minute. Am I far off? Now if that was donating that amount of money to upgrade ambulances in the 3rd world was done over 10 years I bet that it would make a pretty good dent in helping the people of Latin America and Africa.
Now that does not mean that I support the US spening tax dollars to upgrade 3rd world ambulances.
I do support figuring out how our tax money can get the best bang for the buck in alliviating suffering in the 3rd world.
I do not have a specific amount of money in mind that I think should be spent to help those suffering in countries that have problems developing either as a result of their own societies mistakes or as the result of manipulation by outside forces. I do think that the billions that the US gives Israel each year should be redirected to countries that are far more in need of it.