Chuck Simmins has been tracking private US donations for the tsunami relief effort in Southeast Asia. His Stingy List [PDF] is a tabulation of private tsunami relief donations, that now shows over $1 billion dollars in U.S. donations from individuals and companies. That amount is above and beyond the hundreds of millions already pledged by the US government.
The Stingy List was created in response to early criticism of US and European relief efforts by UN official Jan Egeland as, “too stingy.” According to Simmins calculations Americans have donated $1,030,714,108.34, though he notes that he’s most likely under-counting the total by 10% or more.
Tsunami: Final Stingy List Update [You Big Mouth, You!]
Maybe what Jan Egeland meant was that 1 billion is stingy compared to the 21 billion that the UN allowed Saddam Hussein to have during the Oil For Food scandal. That must be it. You have to admit that the UN was pretty generous with Saddam.
Good point Red. Stingy is a relative concept.
I would also much rather see my money go to a well organized private organization than the UN or something government run.
This doesn’t surprise me though-Jan may think the US is stingy, but when it comes to tragedy, the US is quick to open up their wallets and start giving.
The point is that the government did not impose a massive tax and turn over the money to the UN. That is what Jan meant by stingy. Money that goes to the actual poor does not count. It is only money that goes to the UN (and stays in UN hands) that can be counted.
God Bless the stingy and I would love to see how “stingy” we were compared to the rest of the , O’ so generous world when all costs are taken into account.
Joser, s9 and Mantis,
Feel free to hide from this thread.
The argument they always bring up is the “per capita” argument. Other nations spend more per capita than the United States. Saudi Arabia gave $30 million from the government and $82 million in private donations. On a per capita basis, that makes them more generous than America. But, would anyone really argue that is actually the case?
The US gives more than double any other nation in government foreign aid. Yet, per capita and as a percentage of GDP, we are way down the list. The reality is that the way we choose to aid others is the issue, that $19 billion in gov’t aid isn’t enough. As Jan Egeland said in his infamous remarks, our people want higher taxes so we can give more aid but our politicians are preventing it.
He didn’t have my company’s name on the list and we contriubted $100,000.
As to the per capita argument it is totally bogus. Not from a number standpoint it’s just an exercise in statistics to make a little effort look larger.
In the case of something like humantarian relief the ONLY thing that counts is real, actual, money. Not precentages. Why? Because that fresh water, or food, or shelter or clothing is not priced at varying amounts depending on who is providing it.
The US isn’t charged $10 for a loaf of bread and France $5 because the GNP is less. Nope. It’s $10 across the board.
A real simplified example–if I only had 50 cents to my name and I donated all of it to tsunami relief “per capita” I would be at t eh top of the list with 100% of donations yet 50 cents won’t do a damn bit of good for anyone.
The per capita argument attempts to pervert the concept of charity from one of how much actual help is provided to one where how much the giver sacrifices. How much the giver sacrifices is irrelevent. How much they actually help is the ONLY metric.
And we can all sleep at night knowing BILL CLINTON IS WATCHING WHERE ALL THAT MONEY IS GOING!
Hehe, here is an article about our liberal friends to the North and their holier-than-thou attitude about Americans and their generosity…
Just had to get your digs in on Cliton – eh Maggie.
Actually I’d be very suprised if more than half the money gets to the folks who really need it.
Actually, the stingy comment was directed at giving for causes that weren’t causes celebre as the tsunami was. In essence, he claimed that if Americans don’t see it on TV constantly, they won’t give much.
jpe, only, that’s not what he said. He was referring to an agreement made ath the Earth summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. It was called Agenda 21 and the 22 most developed nations agreed to target their foreign aid to 0.7% of GDP. link
Here is a PDF showing the 2004 data: link
Note that the US contributed 24.2% of the total, $18.999 billion. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Luxemburg were the only nations to exceed the .7% GDP figure, and between the five only contributed about $12.4 billion to the US’s $19 billion.
Also, please note that some of this aid is defined as loans or loan guarantees, or debt relief. It’s not aid in the sense that the dollars on THE STINGY LIST are aid.