Foreign Aid: A Bikini Is Better Than Nothing

Considering the way Congress mauled John F. Kennedy's last foreign aid bill—appropriating only $3 billion out of an Administration request for $4.5 billion —Lyndon Johnson decided to try a different approach. He sent up a "preshrunk" program of $3.4 billion, the lowest asking price in foreign aid's history. His aides compared it to a bikini —skimpy, but just enough to cover the vital areas.

Last week Johnson's strategy paid off. By a vote of 230 to 175, the House approved a bill authorizing the expenditure of virtually every penny he asked for,...

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