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Reply #32: Your stats aren't actually relevant. [View All]

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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-11-09 09:44 PM
Response to Reply #25
32. Your stats aren't actually relevant.
Edited on Fri Dec-11-09 09:44 PM by Igel
The problem is in the title of the chart: ODA.

Official Development Aid.

That's a couple of rather severe restrictions on what's being counted.

That means what the government gives in overseas aid to other countries for economic and social development. It says nothing about (a) private donations and NGOs, i.e., those by individuals (which is the entire point of the OP) or (b) any spending done domestically from any source.

It's a very common assertion that a lot of others give more than Americans, but what that usually means is that the governments give more in international aid. That works when the government is essentially the only game in town, when there are few contributions within a country and not much aid is used internally, but otherwise.

There are similar kinds of skewed comparisons made. My personal favorite is always average income. Most of the reports use governments' official numbers. So in France and quite a few other countries all sorts of government aid counts as income, so the poor and unemployed receive aid for housing, aid for food, aid for medical care, etc., etc., and that counts as income. In the US earned income counts as income, so any housing aid, food stamps, EIC, Medicaid, etc., does *not* count as income. It's like comparing tangerines and grapefruits--both may be citrus, but beyond that it's a bit dicey. It always pays to look at the footnotes and endnotes.
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