With U.S. aid to countries devastated by the Dec. 26 tsunami now exceeding $350 million, hardly anyone is calling the United States "stingy." But did the charge -- leveled by Jan Egeland, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, when the U.S. aid pledge was smaller -- ever have merit?
Hardly. Yet some in the international aid business cannot seem to shake their reflexive criticism of America, despite ample evidence of our generosity.
Mr. Egeland's criticism was based on his belief that America isn't providing enough development assistance -- specifically, aid as a percentage of gross national income (GNI). According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the U.S. is dead last in aid as a percent of GNI, at 0.15 percent. Mr. Egeland's native Norway has a ratio of 0.92 percent.
But there are several problems with using Mr. Egeland's formula.
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