Friday, July 27, 2007

An Expanded Peace Corps

Since it was established in 1961 by John F Kennedy, the Peace Corps has sent 182,000 volunteers to 138 different countries to carry out its' mission. The mission of the Peace Corps is:

1) Helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
2) Helping to promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the people served.
3) Helping promote a better understanding of other people on the part of Americans.

Currently their are 7,810 Peace Corps volunteers and their FY 2007 budget is $318.8 million. In my previous post, I expressed in the comment section that I would like to see the Peace Corps expanded ... going out and spreading aid, understanding and good will among the world. I have crunched the numbers and this how it could work.

If we extrapolate the numbers out from 7,810 volunteers to 1,000,000, we would have to grow the annual budget to $40.8 billion dollars. This is a daunting amount. However, in 2006 US Government foreign aid amounted to $27.5 billion. Much of this aid can be done by the new Peace Corps rather than the Military or USAID, which currently handles this, thereby saving costs in these two agencies. We could in fact eliminate the bureaucracy of USAID, saving $12 billion a year. This brings the net increase down to $1.3 billion a year, less the $0.3 billion we are already spending ... brings the increase to a little less than $1 billion a year. The savings on the use of military aircraft and naval ships to deliver and administer aid (not the most economical way to do this) would save more than that.

We would need an initial outlay of at least $50 billion for infrastructure (Buildings, distribution centers, aircraft and cargo ships). Some of this can be off-set with the liquidation of $24 billion in USAID's infrastructural assets, as well as utilizing Military Posts that have been closed due to BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure). Utilizing the closed military posts would help breathe life into communities that have been devastated by the loss of the military in their communities. The need for aircraft and ships will help communities with ship building and aircraft assembly plants. as well as all the suppliers around the country. This will increase the tax base and bring more revenue into the government coffers. Now if this plan is implemented, and a million Peace Corp volunteers march out and start teaching and helping in the communities of the world, what will our return on investment be?

Why would someone hate the people that educated their kids and helped them to properly irrigate their fields? When some despotic little mullah starts spouting off about the Great Satan (America), won't these people believe more in what they have seen and experienced than in what this mullah says? Of course there will always be those people that hate us ... but they should be totally outnumbered by the ones that like us.

We will also get better citizens out of this. We will have a collection of people who have seen for themselves what it is like in third world countries, and now truly appreciate what they have been blessed with.

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23 comments:

lime said...

i agree with the points you make that it can build goodwill in such a way as to combat the mullahs and such.

having lived overseas and worked with some of the poorest folks in the country i do have some strong opinions. one is that we not merely 'export the american way.' when corssing cultures it is important to take time to learn the culture where youare going. provide the skills needed but apply them in ways the people deem significant.

Shibari said...

I totally agree with you. Very thought provoking...

Jenny! said...

Word!

Paul Champagne said...

lime ... how can you have peaceful relations between nations without understanding? You are very correct about taking the time to learn the culture of the place you are going ... if you do not, you will just become another "ugly American".

shibari ... thank you, long time no see.

jenny ... "word"? I write a 3500 word disertation and all you can say is "word"? jk

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

I feel that there is no better country than America ... no doubt.

Paul Champagne said...

terri ... that makes two of us :)

The Lowest Rated Blog said...

I like the Peace Corps !!!

Can't join the military?

Then join the Peace Corps !!!

v/r tlrb

lime said...

ooooh even the phrase 'ugly american' makes me shudder. i saw a great many of them in my time and i worked very hard nto to be one. and i generally avoided contact with the expats i thought were the ugliest americans.

niki yokota said...

well i happened to see the photos of those dead bodies of Peace Corps on net.
its really sad how they treat them in third world...

Odat said...

Hi Paul,
just dropping in to let you know that your contribution to the Experiment was awesome!!!
Peace

Paul Champagne said...

tlrb ... and the great thing about the peace corps is that the same hardships apply to both the military and the peace corps ... roughing it in exotic (and dangerous locations) and exotic diseases.

lime ... I saw sooo many "Ugly Americans" in Europe. There were a-holes demanding that people speak English ... and the way they treat waiters and housekeepers at the Hotels made me want to crawl under the table and hide.

niki ... the Peace Corps is an alternative to the military in my pretend world, but it is definitely not a place to go because someone is too afraid of joining the Army ... In some ways, the Army is safer. You are with a bunch of guys that are armed to the teeth ... In the Peace Corps you don't have the fire-power.

odat ... thank you sooo much, it was a lot harder than I anticipated, and I had to keep to the high standards that you, mike and the others set.

David said...

I like it. Having served a two year LDS mission in Uruguay I have a tight bond with Uruguay that is similar to the bond that Peace Corp Volunteers must feel. It would improve a lot of things!

niki yokota said...

armed to the teeth?
haha! ive learned that words.
thanks paul-chan happy weekend!!

snowelf said...

"Of course there will always be those people that hate us ... but they should be totally outnumbered by the ones that like us."

Oh, yea. I totally agree. Our government does so much for the world that people don't even realize.

--snow

Keshi said...

Stellar writing!

Keshi.

Jenny! said...

Yeah, well, when I agree...with you...I find it pointless to be like, "I totally agree...you said it...right on!"

Just word!

Jenny! said...

I am jk'ing too! In case you didn't pick up on that!

Paul Champagne said...

david ... what do the people of Uraguay think of us? I might kick myself for asking.

niki ... every time I hear "armed to the teeth", I always imagine some guy carrying a knife in his mouth ... sometimes it's a pirate, sometimes a commando.

snow ... most of the times our government lets the world know exactly what we are doing for them. Our aid packages are definitely labeled. What is often overlooked is what the American citizen donates to charity. It is actually much more than the government's contribution.

keshi ... thank you ... my ego continues to grow.

Paul Champagne said...

jenny ... seems my mind control is working ... I have you agreeing to everything I say. I have just one thing to say about that ...

Word!

Jenny! said...

Word word!

Paul Champagne said...

jenny ... exactly

David said...

For the most part they like Americans. A few people assumed I was really from the CIA and a few others yelled at me for being imperialistic. They amused themselves during Clinton's impeachment by telling me all about it!

Paul Champagne said...

david ... they were amused at Clinton's impeachment? Well, I guess it was kinda funny once you got past the embarrassment.