It’s About All People: Rants against Foreign Aid Miss the Point — An Opinion

I received one of those chain email forwards the other day that got me all riled up. The message had an interesting subject line: Who Died Before Collecting their Government Pension? With CPP a hot-button issue right now, I thought it would be something relevant to current affairs, or at least newsy.

We know it's about all people when we see, as here, young children affected by AIDS gathered, one boy in the centre carrying an ill child on his back.
Image by KHym54 [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Turns out this message has been rehashed in a bunch of different places on the internet, and it’s been going around for a year or two already. I had never seen it, though, so I read it.

You can read the complete text of the rant here. Check out the comments, too. Some are insightful.

I won’t go into why the numbers in the rant are all wrong. Another blogger has done a good job dissecting them and recalculating the math. See Misplaced Grace’s analysis: The CPP and You: Why Facebook is A Bloody Horrible Place to Get Your Facts. *

After reading that, I looked into it a bit more and found out through the Canadian Taxpayers Federation that the whole thing is a complete hoax [530kb PDF] which isn’t even about Canada at all. It was originally written about US Social Security!

What really bothers me about this rant isn’t even remotely pension-related. It’s the part that objects to foreign aid that really irks me.

Most of the countries that benefit from foreign aid would in all likelihood not be poor if first-world countries like Canada and the US didn’t pillage and rob them in the first place. Think of cheap food and textile imports, farm and factory abuses, union murders, land grabs, pollution, and other travesties perpetrated by industrialized companies representing first world countries (and backed by their governments).

But that’s not even really the point. People who think like this need to remember that it’s not about taking care of our own first. It’s about taking care of all people first. So yeah, Canadians deserve every penny of their CPP, but foreign aid investments are a socially responsible part of the national budget, too. We owe it to the people we harm through our commercialism. These people deserve every penny of the tiny amount allocated to them just as much as Canadians or Americans deserve their pension income.

Just a couple of weeks ago, a lady participating in a telephone town hall conversation made similar complaints about how seniors, veterans, orphans, and the poor are left to fend for themselves while Canadians’ money is sent abroad. That’s when I hung up. I couldn’t stand it. And then not long afterwards I got that email forward. What’s wrong with people?

Do those professing to care about others not realize their own hypocrisy when they pit one group of people against another? If someone says they care about children, shouldn’t they care about all children and not just Canadian children? Like, what’s up with that? Do they not see their own cruelty when they deem right to judge for themselves who is deserving of help?

Huge sigh. If only people would think things through instead of ranting… That being said, leave a comment below if this rant is similarly short-sighted… Lol!

* Note: Also read Why Business Owners Should Avoid the Canada Pension Plan and How the Government Sneakily Pockets Your Pension for more info on the CPP. Lots of great info on all kinds of topics, including the CPP and foreign aid (though likely not in relation to each other!), can be found in the Mythbusters resource centre of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation website.