On Jan 12th at 4:53PM (local time), a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti causing massive damage and loss of life. Major buildings collapsed, including the presidential palace and the National Penitentiary. With the collapse of the penitentiary, over 4,000 inmates escaped adding to the pressures of the Haitian police force, which usually numbering 4,000 is down to 1,500, with many presumed dead or unaccounted for. While an official number of deceased has not been released, there are estimates that the death toll may end up being as high as 100,000.
This was truly a disaster of epic proportions for the small island nation. Looting is rampant and many are left homeless and worried about the safety of loved ones and neighbors. We've all seen the commercials of various organizations, such as the Red Cross, NFL, and others requesting for people to donate to the cause. The American people have responded in force, with USA Today reporting that the amount of private donations is on track to break records and even surpass the charity given after the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Charity of which totaled $6.47B, thus proving once again, that Americans are the most charitable citizens in the world.
My heart goes out to all those affected by this earthquake. I take pride in the fact that so many Americans have stepped up to provide relief in a time when they are hurting financially. However, my support ends when President Obama agreed to send $100M in aid immediately (with more in the coming months) and that Haiti would be a "top priority" within his administration alluding that this disaster would not be another Katrina.
Well of course it won't President Obama! Katrina was on US soil and affected your constituents, Haiti did not. Katrina fell under the responsibility of the federal government, Haiti does not. The facts are simple, America does not have the funds to support the relief effort for the Haitian people. We are borrowing money from the Chinese to pay our bills and to fund the disastrous policies that your administration is putting in place. We are now using that borrowed money to "invest" in an area where we will never, ever see a return. I'm all for the charity of the private citizen helping those in need, but I am completely against the federal government forcing us to be charitable at the point of the taxation sword. For each penny you spend, for every dime of relief you provide, the American citizen pays an estimated 5x in taxes. It is not your right, nor within your power, to force the people to provide.
We have dealt with this situation before. In 1794, the US Congress was faced with a similar situation with regards to the funding of aid for Haitian refugees after the Haitian revolution. During this time, James Madison led the votes against the granting of assistance by denying that the Federal Government had within it's powers, the authority to provide benevolence.
From the Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 3rd Congress, 1st Session, page 170 (1794-01-10) , Madison's speech was summarized:
"Mr. Madison wished to relieve the sufferers, but was afraid of establishing a dangerous precedent, which might hereafter be perverted to the countenance of purposes very different from those of charity. He acknowledged, for his own part, that he could not undertake to lay his finger on that article in the Federal Constitution which granted a right of Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."
Most notable in this speech was Madison's quote, " I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."
Please appeal to our past Mr. President and learn the lessons of our history. Once again you are stepping outside your authority and becoming less a President, but more a dictator. The constitution does not grant you the power, nor the right, to provide charity upon the backs of the American citizen. Step aside and handle the issues that now face the country of which you were placed in charge. We have climbing unemployment rates, critical deficits, terrorist attacks upon it's people, and a albatross of a depression. Step aside and let the American people do what they do best, which is provide charity to the world. We do not need you to do it for us. Instead, we need you to handle the problems at home, not try to gain world favor by taking the lead in matters outside your jurisdiction.