Foreign Aid: Congress Should Shift USAID Funds to the Millennium Challenge Account

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Introduction: The Heritage Foundation is conservative think tank that does research and analysis of several policy issues in order to market their findings to policymakers in the Legislative and Executive branch, as well as the media and the academic community. On August 4, 2009, the Heritage Foundation published an analysis of the US foreign aid policy called Foreign Aid: Congress Should Shift USAID Funds to the Millennium Challenge Account. This article describes the flaws and weaknesses of the traditional aid model as implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and proposes that all US foreign aid policy be implemented following the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) approach. In this critique, I will analyze the method used by the Heritage Foundation to analyze US foreign aid policy and determine whether or not it followed the policy analysis process as described by the literature. Problem definition: This article clearly identifies and defines the problem. For the Heritage Foundation the problem lies on the USAID’s approach to foreign aid. They describe this approach as ineffective and costly because it is a top-down, fragmented, and does not require accountability system, which encourages dependency on aid. As a conservative think tank, a major concern is that USAID promotes a statist and entitlement mentality and has a poor record promoting economic growth. Another dimension of the problem is that Congress continues to increase USAID’s budget with funds that expire encouraging reckless spending. Finally, the Heritage Foundation sees this problem as a waste of taxpayers’ money. As Bardach (2009) mentions, any problem definition should include quantitative measures in order to det... ... middle of paper ... ...rmine which countries will receive funding is measure enough of effectiveness. Nonetheless, the author fails to acknowledge the criticism that the MCC approach has received for the use of this objective indicators as measures of performance. On the other hand, efficiency is obtained through the promotion of transparency and accountability but the author fails again to determine how these concepts will be demonstrated and how the MCC approach will the gap. Conclusion: This article doesn’t follow the policy analysis process developed by the literature, and therefore the outcome is disappointing. The fact that the think tank’s mission is to promote conservative policies should not mean that these types of policies go unrevised and unscrutinized just because they are conservative. A more thorough process is required, especially when the audience is policymakers.

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