PBS is reporting a minor story that I’ve heard in a couple of other places, namely that the aid the US government has so far pledged to the areas affected by the Indian Ocean earthquake is less than what the Republlican party plans to spend on the upcoming presidential inauguration. Now unlike many residents of blogistan, I don’t think the amount that the government is contributing is too low, for several reasons:
- I’m sure more will follow
- US companies are doing an astonishing job, providing cash and resources that overshadows the $35 million from the government
- Private citizens are giving an astonishing amount
Having said that, I think the way the issue has been handled could have been improved considerably:
- React faster – make it look like the president was engaged from the start by cancelling his holiday. Totally symbolic, but symbols matter
- Promise more – Make it clear from the beginning that the $35 million was just a start
- Get prominent faces on the scene to show that we are there for the people of the region. And under no circumstances should they smile in what could be interpreted as gloating in any way.
The point of this post, however, is pretty minor. The explanation for the inauguration vs. aid imbalance was along the lines of “The inauguration is paid for through private funds.” So? Does that mean that the inauguration money couldn’t be spent elsewhere? Couldn’t it be better spent improving our image abroad, not wallowing in our own excess?