Politicians are scum
The WSJ is asking "top political and business leaders" the following question: "How would you spend $10 billion of American resources over the next for years to improve the state of the world"? Two such top dogs gave their views in today's paper:
Here, in a nutshell, is John Boehner's (House minority leader) idea: Give a $10 billion tax rebate and shoot Nancy Pelosi so we can drill, drill, drill.
Here is a succinct summary of Harold Ford's (DLC chairman) answer: Great a vast new bureaucracy, the "National Infrastructure Bank" and convert the money into earmarks. Plus, since this is obviously such a great idea, let said bureaucracy borrow even more funds on private capital markets to "further maximize the public benefit".
So the one guy justs wants to be let alone to drill for oil and the other guy wants to combine Fannie Mae with the World Bank with the apparent goal of converting all GNP into Congressional earmarks. And people wonder why (A) Americans don't like their politicians very much and (B) the world doesn't like America very much??
These guys are either really really stupid or have an incredibly low view of their audience (or both). FWIW let me state the obvious. The world is much bigger and on average a heck of a lot worse off than America. It's unlikely that any of the $$ should be spent here (unless maybe to buy out the farmers and protectionists once and for all).
WWAD you ask?
I would appoint a commission of Tyler Cowen, Mark Thoma, Greg Mankiw, and Gabriel Milhalache. I would have private groups from around the world apply to said commission for funding of educational initiatives and have the commission award the $$ according to the quality of the plan and the underlying conditions in the host country (to help gauge the long run success prospects of the initiative). However, I would also let the commission spend the money another way if they were able to unanimously agree on an alternative.