Symposium 2012: Does the U.S. have a moral obligation to help other countries financially?

Sydney: The United States does not have a moral obligation to help other countries financially. However, our sense of fairness and our moral compass ensures that we do. There are many good reasons to assist other countries. The best one of these is to provide humanitarian relief. There are many poor nations around the world who are unable to provide adequate help to their citizens when disaster strikes. It is also interesting to consider that ‘nation–building’ is now considered important in countries where the army has been waging war. Iraq and Afghanistan are two good examples.

Self interest is also involved when we help other countries financially. Such assistance can help provide stability to a nation’s government, ensuring that they are governed by political groups who are friendly to us. Funding may also be provided to these governments so they can fight against terrorist groups operating within their own borders. Yemen is a good example of this. Of course, when America’s economy is struggling and Americans are in need of assistance it is only right to reduce the level of foreign aid provided to other nations. As we have seen the financial assistance the government provides serves some very important purposes and therefore a balance needs to be maintained between the interests of U.S. citizens and those of foreign nations.
Michigan: Moral obligation? No country in the world has given more money or lost more lives in the battles for other countries’ moral issues. When the U.S. gets involved in other countries’ issues it usually backfires. World moral issues have cost the U.S. billions of dollars and thousands of lives and never get resolved. No one likes to see innocent people starve or die, but as history proves, money and manpower is not the answer. We have been so busy fighting other peoples’ fights that we have overlooked all the humanitarian work we could be doing here.
RMC3: No. Why should the American taxpayers be on the hook for the irresponsibility of foreign nations? I don’t mind providing emergency loans to countries when they have a natural disaster or widespread devastation of some sort, but I don’t think we should just be giving money away. Honestly, we give something like $50 billion a year in foreign aid that is largely wasted. It’s not our job to take care of the rest of the world or to try to grow corn in Africa or to try to buy friends throughout the world. Our politicians, our government, has a moral obligation to be good stewards of the American taxpayers’ tax dollars and to spend those hard-earned tax dollars wisely and in the best interests of the American people.

Cartwright: We have no moral obligation to give money to any other country. We have enough people in America to take care of. When we’ve eliminated homelessness and hunger in America, then we can consider helping others throughout the world. I feel bad for the people living in poverty in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, but I feel worse that we have children and elderly here in America going to bed hungry at night. I want my tax dollars going to help my fellow Americans, and I would argue that we have a moral obligation to help our fellow citizens before we go helping citizens of other countries. Besides, with the financial situation our country is in, we don’t have any discretionary money to give to other countries.

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