Where does your money go? Tax reform is in the news. Tax Freedom Day has come and gone. You know the date until which you have to work to make a profit after all taxes are paid. This year that day was April 24th, one day earlier than last year. Now the money you earn is mostly yours, not the government’s. Americans pay $3.3 trillion in federal taxes each year and $1.6 trillion in state and local taxes, or just shy of $5 trillion dollars each year.
We hear of abuses in how that money is spent every year; some of the projects sound downright silly. That abuse spreads across many agencies, but let me look at one area that gets very little scrutiny, because most Americans, and to be sure most reporters, know nothing about it—that is foreign aid.
Our government gives away $35 billion of your tax money to 130 countries each year. This money is mostly doled out by the U.S. State Department with Congressional approval. Some of that money is spent for humanitarian efforts, some for stopping the drug trade (how’s that going?), and some, quite frankly just to buy friendship from governments who hate us and deprive their own people of basic human rights. Just to mention a few, we give Mexico $207 million (that would certainly help with the wall) and they criticize us every day. We give to other Latin American countries such as $65 million to Guatemala, $22 million to El Salvador, $75 million to Peru, $ 6.9 million to Guyana, and $4.3 million to Venezuela—yes, Venezuela—which starves and attacks their population and just last week seized a US car manufacturing plant. We give Somalia (remember Black Hawk Down?) $235 million, Pakistan $933 million, and they hid Osama bin Laden from us for years, Mongolia $8.5 million (why? Pray tell) and Timor-leste $9.8 million. Who among us even knows where that is?
What is wrong with this picture? It is your money! How much friendship has that money bought us over the years from countries that routinely vote against us in the United Nations? We have 50,000 homeless veterans alone, not even talking about the other 514,708 homeless men women and children in our society. It is time we bring some of that misspent largesse home. We should take care of our people first. Change has begun in Washington. With your support, I will hold all of our agencies accountable, particularly, the U.S. State Department, for how they spend your money.