Uncooking the books
People (including some in these pages) have been arguing about whether the U.S. government did enough for the tsunami victims. They’ve often claimed various rankings for the United States.

On Jan. 6, the Christian Science Monitor published the figures that may help settle a few arguments.

In raw dollars, the United States ranks fourth in the world in the amount it contributed: Australia, $764 million; Germany, $680 million; Japan, $500 million; United States, $350 million; Norway, $182 million; Britain, $96 million; Italy, $95 million; Sweden, $80 million; Spain, $68 million; France, $66 million.

But that ranks the United States, with nearly 300 million people, among nations like Australia, which has fewer than 20 million, and Norway, fewer than 5 million. So the Monitor provided the more valid per-capita (per person) figures. Here are the top 10 nations: Norway, $39.35 per person; Australia, $38.37; Qatar, $29.75; Denmark, $14.04; Taiwan, $9.52; Sweden, $8.90; Germany, $8.25; Kuwait, $4.43; Japan, $3.93; Ireland, $3.43.

On a per-capita basis, the United States ranks 26th, with $1.19.

This is in line with its general foreign aid contribution, which is dead last among industrialized nations.

Dennis Myers was the news editor of the Reno News & Review. He was a journalist for more than four decades. In 1987-88 he was chief deputy secretary of state of Nevada. He was coauthor of Uniquely...