The more we dig into President Barack Hussein Obama’s 2013 budget (only a week late), the more surprises we find. For example, we found that Obama wants to increase the electric car subsidy. Now we find, via Reuters, that Obama wants to (a) provide $800 million (of money we don’t have) to help “Arab Spring” countries hurt economically by revolutions, and (b) maintain the $1.3 billion military aid to Egypt. $770 million of the $800 million will establish a new “Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund.” The Middle East and North Africa Incentive fund is to provide incentives for long-term economic, political, and trade reforms to countries in transition. For example, the White House said, the Incentive Fund approach “expands our bilateral economic support in countries such as Tunisia and Yemen, where transitions are already underway.” The Fund will also build on other programs for the area, including up to $2 billion in regional Overseas Private Investment Corporation financing, up to $1 billion in debt swaps for Egypt.
In FY2012, Egypt received $1.3 billion in military aid, $250 million in economic aid, and $60 million aid for something called an “enterprise fund.”
Obama continues placing foreign assistance for war zones in a separate account. This account, known as the “Overseas Contingency Operations,” includes $8.2 billion for the State Department and foreign aid, and includes $3.3 billion for Afghanistan, $1 billion for Pakistan, and $4 billion for Iraq.
It was Egypt that initiated an investigation targeting American democracy group activists. Forty three people, including nineteen Americans, face trial in Egypt for their work in promoting democracy, including Sam LaHood, son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. At present no U.S. assistance is going to Egypt as some legislators favor cutting off aid to Egypt entirely if it does not drop accusations against American democracy activists. Nongovernmental US groups, such as Freedom House, are being accused of operating illegal offices and accepting funds from abroad without permission. Charles Dunne, Middle East director for Freedom House, said, “The work that we are trying to do in Egypt is to help them do what they say they want to do, which is have a democratic transition to a civilian government. And the Egyptian military is doing everything they can to shut that off and shut that down.”
By law, the Obama administration can’t give Egypt aid unless it meets certain conditions, including staying on the path to democracy.
What other surprises await us? Does Obama think that throwing money around will solve every problem?
But that’s just my opinion.