Live8's Heart is in the Right Place...but it's Head....
Here's a nice opinion piece from Mark Steyn, regarding the "generosity" of those celebrity rockers and their misguided notions of redistributing your money. And this from the Heritage Foundation is worth reprinting:
Free-Market Foreign Aid? Remittances and Regulation
07/05/05 08:15 AM
What’s the biggest source of foreign aid for the developing world? For many poor countries, it is not government-to-government grants. Instead, it is remittances – money sent back home by third-world migrants working in the U.S. and other first-world nations. This form of assistance was the subject of a conference held last week in Washington at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Remittances also received some attention in a USA Today op-ed appropriately titled "A way to feed the world."
The numbers involved are staggering. A recent IDB report found that the flow of remittances from the U.S. to Latin American and Caribbean countries reached $45 billion dollars last year. For some countries, remittances are one of the largest components of GDP. Relative to traditional foreign aid, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Avoiding the top-down bureaucracy of traditional aid programs--and all that comes with third-world bureaucracy--remittances reach the poor directly. As the USA Today op-ed put it, remittances "let the world's poor decide for themselves how best to improve their lives."
This is a market-driven system that’s working, and it's working well. Competition in the international money transfer business has increased in recent years, decreasing the cost of remittances. Some, however, have called for increased regulation of this market, and bills are already pending in Congress to control how remittances are handled. So far, these bills call only for greater disclosure of fees, but there have also been scattered calls to regulate prices directly. This could muck up the system, hurting the poor most of all. Instead, politicians should be reducing regulation and thereby lowering costs for those who send and receive remittances. Allowing credit unions to offer remittance services would be a good step.
Once again, I look at it as noble liberal intentions to make you feel good about yourself, without ever looking beyond stage one thinking and examining what in fact actually happens as a result of one's desire to feed the homeless and to help the poor. Often, our liberal good will and intentions only make matters worse....not better.