Lessons in Fiscal Management

The President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, could give the Bush administration some lessons in fiscal management, and in the unfortunate fact that facing reality sometimes means that you can not simultaneously have your cake and eat it:

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan – President Gen. Pervez Musharraf suspended a major purchase of U.S. fighter planes, saying Friday during a tour of this devastated city that funds are needed first and foremost for earthquake recovery.

The president — who has been criticized for refusing to cut the nation’s enormous military budget in light of the disaster — called on the world to send more money, saying the response to the killer quake has fallen far short of that for last year’s tsunami or Hurricane Katrina.

Musharraf said he was delaying the purchase of 77 F-16 fighters because of the need for rebuilding large swaths of northern Pakistan flattened by the Oct. 8 temblor, which killed about 80,000 people.

Note the contrast:

The government of Pakistan, when faced with the tremendous costs of a terrible disaster, makes some painful decisions and sacrifices in order to help pay for it.

The government of the US, when faced with the tremendous costs of a terrible disaster, passes the bill along to its youngest children.


p.s. Note as well that there is no excuse – none – for the failure of the developed world to provide more assistance to one of the world’s poorest countries, Pakistan, which is almost single-handedly dealing with one of the greatest disasters the world has seen in recent years. Individuals who wish to help can still do so.