Friday, December 31, 2004

Are We Stingy? Nope. America Delivers.

It was only a matter of time before pundits would seize yet another juicy opportunity to lash out at the current American administration. Their latest stunt? Calling America stingy, at the very same time our government was opening its wallet for an initial pledge even before the extent of the Tsunami damages was fully understood by the world community.

Faced with the reality of donations pouring into various international aid organizations from American private corporations and citizens, these accusations are now being slightly revised and directed at the American Government being stingy, while it's now being reluctantly admitted that American People are indeed being generous.

The sensationalistic-headline-hungry author of this op'ed New York Times article appears to have completely lost track of the fact that unlike certain countries with a heavy extreme liberal heritage (socialism), our tax system doesn't gouge out its citizens and corporations. Donating to charities and non-profit organizations is an American way of life, especially in the Midwest and the "Bible Belt". Private citizens and corporations can in turn write those donations off on their taxes, which is money that would otherwise go to the Government.

This is where the gloves come off.

Why are pundits suddenly so eager to depend on the government to deal with global disaster relief? If you don't believe the American government is donating enough money, then pull out your own wallet. And get everyone you know to follow suit. It's that fscking simple. What ... is it so hard to remember those tax cuts that may have saved us a few hundred bucks here and there, pull out the ol' credit card, head-over to redcross.org and make a fscking donation? Or do we need Uncle Sam to be holding our collective hands?

NAH. let's just sit around and moan. Let's blame the government. Let's write stupid editorials that sell page views. Let's milk that political angle for all it's fscking worth.

The cold, hard, undeniable fact is, America is delivering.

When 9/11 had hit, Amazon.com had raised $6.8 Million through roughly 170,000 donations during the entirety of the fund-raising campaign. That was for a scarring event that happened in OUR OWN BACKYARD.

Just days after the Amazon Tsunami Relief campaign started, as of this writing, Amazon.com is about to blow past the $9 Million mark, with no signs of slowing-down. Yesterday morning, around 9am, it was at around $4.5 Million.

Even before the whole Amazon fundraising campaign gathered steam, the American Red Cross had reported it had already received $18 Million from American citizens, just 3 days after the disaster hit.

None of these figures are including corporate donations, which are also eager to hop on the bandwagon. You can hardly beat that kind of PR.

As far as the Red Cross should be concerned, money from the private sector is just as green as money from governments.

6 comments:

Ernest Millan said...

Patience, for the truth of our nation's generosity will soon be revealed and acknowledged by the world community. Ultimately, those affected by this tragedy and their descendants will grow with a continued respect and appreciation for the generosity of the American people and its government. Governments in general are usually the recipients of most "misguided" criticism. Let them take the heat. This time the American people will represent their government for the better.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if you include Britain as one of those liberal socialist countries where donated money have passed (as you write), $100 million. Now taking into account that the population of the U.S. is 5 times that of Britain we're talking an equivalent of $500 million dollars.

It's early days yet, but with European totals (ie. similar population) predicted to be over $1 billion, I'd hold back on the self-congratulatory tone just yet.

Brett Rogers said...

Hey Chris!

You're right to take on the people who assail our giving. We give a lot to less fortunate countries, in terms of our lives, our money, and our knowledge.

Frankly, I don't really care what the world thinks of us. Not my business, and we can't aim to please them anyway because that's a never-ending pit of "Not enough!"

We'll give what we give. They'll give what they give. What matters is that the poor folk who suffered this tragedy receive the help they need, no matter where it comes from.

OakMonster said...

I don't think the stingy comment was necessary. I don't care how much any other country give or doesn't give to help. All I know is that THESE PEOPLE NEED HELP. And that's the most important thing.

But here's what pissed me off. Someone wrote a letter to The Nation, Thialand's English language newspaper, saying this: "I would suggest that it [the aid from the US] is more aid than that offered by the world to Florida after it was hit by storms in 2004 causing over US$20 billion (Bt780 billion) in damage."

Um. Hi. The US happens to be able to afford it. The US can surely help itself. Are you expecting the third world countries to cough up money to help the most powerful country in the world?

Do you think Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and South India, where people don't even have running water in the first place, where their homelands are ravaged by civil wars, with tens of thousands dead people can recover by themselves?

Look, Thailand is hit with the tragedy too, although not as bad as the other countries. And we already set up a fund to help out Indonesia. They are worse off than us.

What ever happen to compassion, spirit of giving, human kindess, and humanity here? People are actually complaining about who gives more, or who give enough, and lose focus on what is important.

GIVE to those in NEED.

Chris Holland said...

Oakz, good points, I hadn't heard about that letter to The Nation. Well i wouldn't put much weight on it anyway, I agree with you his argument was flawed considering that the U.S. never solicited or depended on such help from the World. Though I'd argue you're stretching that person's point a it far when you ask "Are you expecting the third world countries to cough up money to help the most powerful country in the world". I doubt anyone with half a brain would harbor such expectations.

Anyway, America is giving, just like everyone else in the world. If this thing turns into an ego-bidding contest then all-the-better, but let's keep it above the belt.

People are very anxious to exploit the political angle against America and put our government on trial at the very moment it's opening its wallet, and completely disregarding contributions coming-in from the private sector.

I'm attempting to put things in perspective.

Anonymous guy: no, I wasn't talking about England. I grew-up a good chunk of my life in France, both my parents are entrepreneurs who have run a business and generated a few jobs both in France and America, they're intimately familiar with both tax systems, I'm more familiar with the American one.

Nplugd said...

Colin Powell was quite right when he stated that it's not about who is giving the most really, we're not having a contest here. Not to mention that most pledges made by governments too often remains just sweet words.
With that said, I think the editorial in the NYTimes was dead on at the time of writing. The initial pledge of the US government was quite simply ridiculous ($15 M, compare that to the estimated $40 M cost of the election party and pledge), it was already quite obvious that the death tolls would be incredibly high.
I'll go with the anonymous coward on this, I'd hold back on the self-congratulatory tone, if only because there's nothing to be proud of in helping others, especially when one can afford it.