More Effective Use of US Foreign Aid

In the Opinion page article "Foreign Aid Serves US Interests - Keep It Flowing," Dec. 31, the author argues that foreign aid is good for the United States.

Although food giveaways help US farmers and shippers, they do nothing to reduce the growth rates of already overpopulated countries. By giving away grain while giving insufficient attention to fundamental problems such as overpopulation and corruption, we increase the number of people who will be malnourished in the future.

The companies we should subsidize are the producers of birth-control pills, condoms, and other contraceptives. We should subsidize educators who can teach people how to prevent pregnancy and the consequences of overpopulation.

Many third-world countries are hopelessly in debt because they borrowed from the US. A few of the wealthy in these countries have gotten wealthier by these exchanges. The people an idealist might wish to benefit, however, often see little if any benefit from US foreign aid.

Foreign aid is in the interest of the people of the US and the world, but only if it is spent by idealists who are also smart. When it is primarily a way to subsidize US farmers or arms manufacturers, then that money could be better spent elsewhere. Steven Hill, Las Cruces, N.M.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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