I think I’ll start cutting myself

I keep seeing things like this:

Cuts to foreign aid hurt those who need our help.

I was shocked on budget night when nearly $3 billion was stripped from foreign aid spending (”Foreign aid vow broken”, May 9). Not only has a bipartisan promise been broken, but the government has chosen to save fewer lives and to help fewer children receive basic education in the name of a wafer-thin budget surplus.

That itty-bitty surplus could have waited another year. But instead, the child who has no access to clean water will wait. The community that is afflicted by hunger, or the mother who can’t immunise her children will wait.

The government may have achieved its surplus, but there will be deficit nevertheless: the 250,000 people whose lives will be lost because of it.

Rachel Achterstraat Manly

Which is why I was happy to see this, albeit in a publication with far less views:

The politics behind the ‘cuts’ to foreign aid.

The aid program has only been “cut” to the extent that the government has not delivered on promises to ramp up aid spending so that it reaches 0.5% of GNI by 2015-16. The government has maintained its commitment to increase aid to 0.5% of GNI but pushed back the target date to 2016-2017. Sticking to the 2015-16 target would have meant aid spending in 2012-13 of around 0.38%of GNI.

I looked up the word “cut”, here is the definition that I think would apply most here:

Remove (something) from something larger by using a sharp implement

  • – I cut his photograph out of the paper
  • – some prisoners had their right hands cut off

People seem to be following EU thinking, which is not really congruent with — you know — reality. Increasing spending less than you would otherwise have done does not equal “cutting” spending, it’s still an increase.

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