U.S. spends $38 billion on foreign aid? (Not nearly enough)

May 22, 2014

Glenn Beck got all worked up over this chart, as if it revealed some great, cardinal sin:

Chart on foreign aid as a part of the U.S. budget, from http://www.financedegreecenter.com/foreign-aid/

Chart on foreign aid as a part of the U.S. budget, from http://www.financedegreecenter.com/foreign-aid/

FinanceDegreeCenter.com is a mysterious organization that does no-one-really-will-say what on the internet.  A few months ago I got a series of e-mails from the group, telling that they were changing their name from an earlier iteration and claiming my links to one of their charts jeopardized all the good work they did for people seeking higher education, merely by accurately citing where I got the chart.  That sounded fishy, so I asked them what they did, really, and I got a barrage of e-mails . . .

I think they get paid to steer people to for-profit, on-line schools.  That doesn’t mean their charts are inaccurate, though it does mean I don’t post them without a lot of checking first (this is the first one I’ve posted since then).

Which is a long way of saying, Beck sure has crumby sources.

Bad as the source may be, the information isn’t far off.  But there’s the problem.

Beck’s audience probably believes, as Beck has told them, that the U.S. pays way too much in foreign aid.  Polls repeatedly show most people think we spend anywhere from ten times to a hundred times what we do.  A great little article with charts at the Washington Post explained:

The poll result that seems to most frustrate budget analysts is the apparent belief among Americans that foreign aid is a huge cost to the federal government. The latest poll that my colleague Ezra Klein cites finds that the average American thinks the United States spends 28 percent of the federal budget on aid to foreign governments — more than the country spends on Social Security or Medicare or defense.

In reality, we spend only 1 percent on foreign aid.

This gap between perception and reality is ridiculously large. That’s depressing, but it also presents an opportunity. The case that 28 percent of the budget should go to foreign aid is very strong. And if Americans already think we give that much — well, the least we could do is accommodate them!

We don’t spend enough.  Yes, we spend $38 billion.  That’s less than 1% of total U.S. outlays, and it’s been declining as a share of our Gross National Income and Gross Domestic Product since 1960.

Glenn Beck gets outraged, and shouts away, “$38 billion,” hoping that his shouting will make the number appear larger than it is.  He thinks, and says, it’s too much.

$38 billion?  Less than 1% of the budget.  Less than one penny of every dollar.

As a nation, the U.S. does not spend enough on foreign aid.  We should spend more.

Think of the good that could be done, if our nation actually did increase foreign aid to equal 25% of the federal budget (without taking it out of the hides of poverty-struck, homeless newborn babies and baby ducks as GOP legislators would insist).  How would the world be different?

More, and resources: 


CSCOPE chart Glenn Beck doesn’t want you to see

April 2, 2013

. . . because he screwed it up.

Thanks to Morgan Freeberg over at House of Eratosthenes — shows he’s a fair player (I doubt he’s got much sympathy with the CSCOPE project).

Here’s the chart Glenn Beck, or perhaps his partner-in-calumny David Barton, appears to have mis-identified, the one that no one else who joined his witch-hunt bandwagon bothered to read:

CSCOPE chart on economics

CSCOPE chart on rise of economic systems in the 19th century that critics claim, erroneously, promotes socialism and Marxism. This is copyrighted material, posted here in the interests of correcting false claims. Will CSCOPE complain?

I’m not sure which episode of “The Blaze” this appeared on in the fuzzy version in my earlier post (anyone know?); but it’s clear that it’s been grotesquely mischaracterized by CSCOPE critics.  Think about a Texas high school kid; the readings say communism prohibits private property ownership.  Given that, how do you think a Texas high school student — generally a sophomore for  world history —  would answer the questions in the “Communism” box:

What about Private Property?

How much government control?

(Say it ain’t so, Glenn Beck:  Did David Barton really complain that Texas’s curriculum puts the family at the the foundation of our culture, and our government?  (Yes, he did.)  He fought to get that in; is Barton on drugs, or depressed, or drunk?  If so, get him help.  If not, he’s corrupt.)

More, from the rational world:

More from the irrational world, the Wall of Shameful reporting:

English: Cropped from a photo of a group of pr...

Cropped from a photo of a group of predominantly anti-Glenn Beck protesters holding home-made placards in Beck’s hometown of Mt. Vernon, Washington, outside the venue where Beck received the ceremonial key to the town. Even his home town people don’t believe him. Photo via Wikipedia


Changing Glenn Beck

October 26, 2010

Who created this?

Glenn Beck, in a Fairey mode

The Fairey-esque Glenn Beck

Tip of the old scrub brush to Kenny and the Great Firewall of China.


“Rivers of blood,” Beck says — then denies he said it

August 30, 2010

In 1954, the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told Douglas Stringfellow that, for the sake of honesty, he had to end his run for Congress.

Is there any sense still in Salt Lake City?  Have they been listening to Glenn Beck, lately?

Tip of the old scrub brush to MediaMatters and Crooks and Liars.


Compare and Contrast assignment: Martin Luther King, Jr., and Glenn Beck

August 29, 2010

From The Other 98%:

MLK's and Glenn Beck's achievements compared - from The Other 98%

Which one would you choose to follow? Which one would you choose to emulate?

Teachers, don’t you wish a student would turn in something like this from time to time?

Tip of the old scrub brush to Earthaid3.


Kudos to Glenn Beck (oops)

July 26, 2010

Van Jones, who is a reliable source, said that Glenn Beck refused to jump on the bandwagon of those calling for Shirley Sherrod to step down — Jones said Beck had doubts about the story told by the video tape Breitbart and Fox ran.

Is that true?

Jones talked about the flap caused when Andrew Breitbart and Fox News teamed up to spread the false story that Shirley Sherrod had acted in an illegally racist fashion:

In an interview with NPR’s Michele Norris, Jones said that, although his background is “much more colorful” than Sherrod’s, he can empathize with what it is like to be at the center of a media firestorm.

According to him, “we are in an age where people can absolutely engineer false stories and inject them into the media blood system in a way that we just don’t know how to deal with very well.”

Jones said that dirty tactics — selective editing, smear campaigns and a lack of reportorial due diligence — damage American society as a whole.

“One of the things that I think we’ve got to be clear about is that these kinds of attacks are not just attacks on individuals,” he said. “They’re attacks on the democratic system.”

Listen to the NPR interview — Jones credits Beck with doing the right thing near the end of the interview.

See!  (If Jones is right about Beck) It just shows that there is hope for the temporal and secular salvation of all humans.

Good on Glenn Beck.

That’s one small step for a conservative, leading — we hope — to a giant leap for Glenn Beck, coming back from the Dark Side.

Update:  Snatching a smear from the jaws of ethical behavior:

Beck couldn’t just do the right thing and leave it there — he worked to find ways to attack the reputation of Shirley Sherrod.

Damnation!  If one of these Tea Party conservatives does something right, ethical and just, they get itchy, and have to go find a cat to throw, a dog to kick, and an old lady to push down in a mud puddle.  They are just congenitally incapable of virtuous action.  Van Jones caught Glenn Beck doing something right, so Beck, hating Jones, America’s future and the left so much, retracted it.


Top 10 Courses at Glenn Beck’s “University”

July 12, 2010

Summers for teachers fill up quickly with various training courses — right now, somewhere in America about a thousand teaches gather every morning for a week of AP course training, for example. In larger districts like Dallas, classes convene for teachers in a dozen different locations.

Some teachers scramble to complete courses for advanced degrees, packing a semester or two into a few weeks in the summer.

Our friend Jim Stanley suggested some training we might find out of the catalog of Glenn Beck’s new, for-Glenn-Beck’s-profit school; heck, anyone could profit from these:

The Top Ten Course Offerings at Glenn Beck’s New “University”

10. Chalkboard Management

09. Making Friends with Cocaine

08. How to Weep Like a Televangelist

07. Hatriotism 101: An Overview

06. How to Link Absolutely Anything or Anyone to Marx, Lenin or Hitler

05. Hysterics: Reclaiming An Artform For the Angry, White Male

04. Screw The Bible! (And Turn to Chapter Four of Atlas Shrugged)

03. How to Ban Scientific Darwinism, While Simultaneously Advancing Social Darwinism

02. Alan Keyes: Proof That There Are, Indeed, Some “Good Ones”

And the number one course offering at Glenn Beck University . . .

01. Washed Up Disc Jockeys. Is There Anything They DON’T Know?

Glenn Beck U recruiting poster, from All hat No Cattle

Glenn Beck U recruiting poster, from All hat No Cattle

Tip of the old scrub brush to Jim Stanley, with many thanks.

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