Who are you calling stingy?

A mere two days after a tsunami killed nearly 40,000 people in Asia and Africa, the Bush administration has made an initial pledge of $15 million for relief efforts in Asia. But that’s not fast enough for some people:

“The United States, at the president’s direction, will be a leading partner in one of the most significant relief, rescue and recovery challenges that the world has ever known,” said White House deputy press secretary Trent Duffy.
But U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland suggested that the United States and other Western nations were being “stingy” with relief funds, saying there would be more available if taxes were raised.
“It is beyond me why are we so stingy, really,” the Norwegian-born U.N. official told reporters. “Christmastime should remind many Western countries at least, [of] how rich we have become.”
“There are several donors who are less generous than before in a growing world economy,” he said, adding that politicians in the United States and Europe “believe that they are really burdening the taxpayers too much, and the taxpayers want to give less. It’s not true. They want to give more.”

Where to begin?

  1. In what probably comes as a surprise to Mr. Egeland, tax revenue can’t be instantly increased here in America. We have this messy and inconvenient thing called a republic, where tax increases are debated by the taxpayers’ representatives, followed by something called a “vote.”
  2. An appeal to Christmas spirit coming from a European technocrat makes about as much sense as an appeal to modesty coming from Paris Hilton.
  3. Taxpayers can and do give more. It’s known as “charity”, something Americans are known for worldwide. Forcible taxation isn’t the only source of revenue known to humankind.
  4. If my memory’s correct, American taxpayers already cover something like 1/4 of the UN budget, including Mr. Egeland’s salary. That sounds like a good source of money to tap, in an effort to begin rectifying our “stinginess.” When Mr. Egeland offers to cut his own salary or make a public and “non-stingy” donation, I’ll treat him more seriously.
  5. Three words: Oil For Food.

Somebody give this guy a balled up sock, a roll of tape, and an instruction sheet.

UPDATE: David Limbaugh points out more ingratitude from our betters at the NY Times, who call America … wait for it … “stingy.”
UPDATE 2: Amen to Cliff May.
UPDATE 3: Stingy? Feh.

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