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America First Party
1630 A 30th Street #111
Boulder, Colorado 80301

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Private Sector Should Lead Haiti Relief Effort

Boulder, CO - Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti, while recognizing our immediate responsibility to aid our neighbors now in such dire need. While the federal government has no authority to spend one cent for any activity which is primarily intended for foreign aid, state governments, subject to the limits of their constitutions, as well as individual persons, are free to do so. In some cases, state governors could deploy National Guard units specifically for relief operations.

While it is permissible for the U.S. military to participate in training exercises that would indirectly benefit a relief effort, direct sponsorship of foreign aid by the federal government is not a legal option. Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution gives the only three reasons for raising revenue under our system of government. These are "to pay the debts" and "for the common defense and general welfare of the United States;" foreign aid is definitely outside of these categories.

Both the remoteness of Haiti, and the severe damage to roads and ports in that nation, impose certain requirements on a successful relief effort. Airlift, both fixed and rotary-wing, and sealift capabilities appear necessary to save the greatest number of lives. Since governments tend to possess specialized transportation assets needed in relief efforts, as well as the ability to deploy them quickly, the cooperation of the federal government may be needed. While the Constitution proscribes direct aid, transportation assets could be provided for shipping private aid under the auspices of military training exercises. Alternatively, some military assets could be provided to private aid organizations via short term leases, and operated by volunteer crews on unpaid military leave.

It is of great urgency that we all do our part to assist the people of Haiti. While there are many groups assisting, a cursory examination suggests that the three listed below are among the most effective in deploying resources and/or in the best position to do so. Please consider donating to them:

Catholic Relief Services -- -- 877-HELP-CRS
International Committee of the Red Cross -- --- 1-800-HELP-NOW
Friends of the World Food Program -- -- 1-866-929-1694

Jonathan Hill, National Chairman, 1-866-SOS-USA1, ext. 4
Michael Lynch, Press Secretary, 1-866-SOS-USA1, ext. 2


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