Saturday, January 01, 2005

Bidding War

Well, this is one interesting way to start off the new year. After finally understanding the need for the richest nation on earth to actually contribute a substantial amount to the Asian disaster relief effort, President Bush upped US aid from $35 million to $350 million yesterday. Although that's finally a level of aid that is no longer embarassing, it would still cover only a little more than a day and a half of US occupation of Iraq. But at least it is a move that shows some leadership. Of course, I'm sure all that press about the US being the largest single donor nation to the effort was totally coincidence.

Um, about that. It seems the second richest nation on earth, Japan, has seen our $350 million, and raised us another $150 million, for a total of $500 million in aid. From CNN:
The decision to raise Japan's funding level comes one day after the United States increased its aid to the region from $35 million to $350 million, which at the time was the largest contribution by a nation.
So the stories of the US being the largest donor to the relief effort lasted for a whole day. Today the stories will be that the US was the largest contributor. At least it's not tiny Norway contributing more than the US this time. But even though Japan is the second richest nation on earth, it's GNP is still half that of the US. What will George do now that he's been outbid?

No matter what happens next, the relief effort wins.