Foreign aid is always controversial, especially at a time when the United States is broke, when U.S. government audits show that the money given to other nations is wasted and misused and when countries that receive the money frankly don’t like the United States.
The latest country under scrutiny is Pakistan.
More than $20 billion has been given to Pakistan since Sept. 11, 2001. President Obama is proposing almost $3 billion in aid for the supposed ally in the War on Terror for fiscal year 2012. That includes:
- $1.6 billion for police and military;
- $150 million for what the State Department calls "good government and democracy building";
- $122 million for health, AIDS and "family planning";
- $145 million for education.
The rest goes to economic development and humanitarian assistance.
Despite all of the aid given to Pakistan, polls show the country has a negative view of the U.S. A 2010 BBC poll found that 52 percent of Pakistanis don’t like the U.S. A majority oppose U.S. drone strikes against the Taliban, and the Pakistani Parliament on Saturday
Now with the recent discovery and death of Usama bin Laden, some U.S. lawmakers are questioning why we continue to support the nation that may have harboring the most wanted terrorist.
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher(R-Cal), who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has introduced a bill to cut off aid completely. Rohrabacher believes the discovery of bin Laden’s compound is proof that Pakistan’s leaders have been enabling al Qaida and the Taliban.
“ They’ve been arming these people to kill our troops,” said Rohrabacher. “They nuzzle up to communist China, they’ve been building nukes at our expense and now we know they have been giving aid and comfort to Usama bin Laden.”
Rohrabacher says continuing to aid Pakistan makes the U.S. look foolish.
“The fact is the Pakistanis are treating us like fools because we're acting like fools. We're giving money to someone who obviously is working against the basic interests and national security interests of our own country.”
Yet there are others who say the U.S. should continue its aid to Pakistan. They believe cutting development aid would have an even more negative effect.
“I think it's really crucial that we don’t back away specifically our humanitarian and economic assistance,” said Rebecca Winthrop, Director of the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution. “That is a critical ingredient especially things like education and job creation for a stable long term Pakistan which is in our national security interest.”
Winthrop says the U.S. needs to evaluate its aid models and make sure it is properly dispersed. “I think what we need to do is redouble our efforts in the economic assistance, humanitarian aid, education would be a great thing to fund, because that is really what the Pakistani citizens want.”
How much does the President's proposed $3 billion in aid to Pakistan cost you?
Excluding Social Security and Medicare, a married couple earning $50,000 pays $260 a year in income taxes. At that rate, 11 million Americans would have to work an entire year just to pay for the aid to Pakistan.
Fox News' Laura Prabucki contributed to this report.