A friend of mine leads a major NGO (non-governmental organization) in Africa working on a humanitarian project being funded by the United States government. This week he gave me an interesting glimpse from his perspective of why America is in such staggering debt. In his words, here’s what happened to him the other day:
1. The U.S. government told us that they felt one of our staff member’s jobs should be done by a South African. Keep in mind this is a U.S. citizen doing work paid for by the U.S. government (your taxes). They told us that if we persisted with an American doing the job they would cut at least 90% of our staff funding. Keep in mind that our American staff member has been doing the job for two years. But we were given an ultimatum: If we hired a South African they would pay 100% of the budget. So to keep an American employed, I had to cut her hours by 90%.
2. She was going to put her daughter into our day care program. But with the 90% cut, she can’t afford that now. That reduces the number of daycare children, so we also have to cut a teacher.
3. In addition, the U.S. government told us that if we don’t spend $100,000 today we will lose it from next year’s budget. Therefore, if I don’t spend $100,000 today I will lose $200,000 for the work we’re doing here in Africa. So we pre-paid equipment, computers, and other items we don’t really need, just so we can continue the work.
Bottom line: This week we put one American out of work, cut another back by 90%, and spent $100,000 we did not need to spend, and created one South African job. And we wonder why the National Debt is $16,743,988,756,517.45.