Now with President Obama’s visit to Vietnam concluded, it’s important to understand what the mainstream media did not report about the American-Vietnamese relationship: the hundreds of millions of American taxpayer dollars already being sent to Vietnam.
With a national debt approaching $20 trillion dollars, there is an ever-growing importance to have an in-depth understanding of where our taxes go, and why. From obvious expenses to hidden costs, American taxpayers allow the federal government to cut checks to developing countries throughout the world. Based on the nature of current events, understanding the “relationship” between the U.S. and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is imperative.
Obama’s “normalization” of relations with Vietnam includes several aid projects designed “to promote economic security and development,” among other projects. However, the plans for new aid projects in the country will contribute to an already existing multi-million dollar fund the federal government has, or will have, provided to the government of Vietnam.
Consider the missions of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). USAID maintains upwards of $35.2 billion in assets with several hundred million dollars invested into humanitarian assistance operations in countries in Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Notably, Vietnam is planned to be on the receiving end of an estimated $131,912,000 out of a mere $34 billion allotment for total aid from the U.S. federal government for FY 2017. Some specifics of the nearly $132 million being given to Vietnam is based on:
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“…U.S. assistance will support governance reforms that broaden economic participation, make growth more sustainable, improve labor conditions… promote respect for human rights and the rule of law, and expand accountability and transparency.”
This is a tad vague for my liking. Plus, we all know how socialist governments scream “accountability and transparency.” It seems foolproof…
The U.S Embassy in Hanoi also indicated that, “U.S. assistance will improve social services for vulnerable populations and promote higher education… [plus] address climate change and other environmental challenges.”
Other notable spending that seems to be overlooked is our government funding Vietnam’s military development. The State Department reported that millions of dollars were dispersed to Vietnam, in FY 2015 already. Vietnam received this funding through the Foreign Military Financing account, a fund that permits, “a source of financing [that] may be provided to a partner nation on either a grant (non-repayable) or direct loan basis.” Subsequently, an additional $18 million was set aside by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, citing the inherent importance of Vietnam needing to have assistance in buying American patrol boats for the country’s coast guard.
Essentially, it’s safe to say that the taxes Americans paid this past April, could end up in the coffers of the Vietnamese government.
It is important to indicate that I recognize the importance of foreign investment in developing countries, including Vietnam; however, the efforts of the federal government shouldn’t be so expansive. Wall Street Daily reported that Vietnam is ripe for private investment. This is in part to the communistic system and how, “investors have the flexibility to sidestep the country’s state-owned enterprises and focus instead on smaller private companies that are on a high-growth trajectory.”
Foreign aid, in this situation, is government welfare for an ideologically rooted, welfare-based government. Interference of actual private commercial growth could come along with massive amounts of aid, no matter the funding source. The Obama Administration does overlook this concept, though, and it’s going to cost us, the taxpayers, in the long term.