The arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn got me to wondering what, exactly, America is doing funding the IMF to begin with. A wire over the weekend from David Malpass of Encima Global notes that "The IMF is providing over a quarter of Greece's $155 billion aid package and is expected to provide nearly one-third of Portugal's $110 billion package," and also that "the U.S. has made the largest contribution to the IMF." This Wall Street Journal article from 2009 reports President Obama pushing Congress to approve a $108 billion contribution to the IMF, and this paper from the Web site of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress cites hidden costs of more than $1 billion a year. America can barely pay its own bills these days. Should we really be borrowing from China to help Greece and Portugal pay their bills?
I'm all for an internationally engaged America and a strong Europe, but the Marshall Plan that helped Europe rebuild after Nazi aggression strikes me as a different thing from helping Greece and Portugal rebuild after their own errors. And the IMF doesn't exactly help its case by being run by a French socialist. I wonder whether Professor Strauss-Kahn's $3000-a-night Manhattan hotel suite and his First Class ticket on Air France were being paid for by the IMF, or by him personally. If it's the IMF, and, by extension, the American taxpayers, footing the bill, it's a scandal.