While many figures are being reported, Swiss bank secrecy prevents us from getting the full picture of the Mubarak family’s private wealth. (Where is Wikileaks when you really need them?). Reports vary in a wide range of between $27 billion on the low side and $70-plus billion on the high side.
What we do know is that during the repressive reign of Mubarak, American administrators, Republicans and Democrats alike, have given Egypt $50 billion, or $4,566,210 a day for the allegiance of its dictator. (Notably, this is before other sources of income from the EU and Gulf Arab countries plus other various and assorted foreign assistance.) Yet the West seems helpless to influence the outcome of current events.
For perspective, estimating the Mubarak family wealth at $50 billion to $70 billion, it works out to between $625 to $875 per Egyptian, based on a population of 80 million. Keep in mind, Egypt is a country in which 20% of the people live below the poverty line, getting by on less than $2 day day.
When the democratic dust settles, and free and fair elections have taken place, Western governments, let by the US, will have to offer even more economic assistance to help overcome the economic damage done to the Egyptian economy under Mubarak’s regime. But this comes at a time when America and the EU are mired in their own economic messes, and their taxpayers might well ask why, why should we be doing this?
There is a cheaper solution. Remember all the foreign aid that’s been pocketed by government cronies over the decades? If the West acts now to freeze those bank accounts, perhaps that money, or a good chunk of it, can be rightfully returned to the Egyptian people, to help them jumpstart an economic boom long-denied to the people at large, most importantly Egyptian youth, who represent more than half of the population.
The Swiss moved quickly, after his ouster, to freeze Ben Ali’s assets. America need not wait, as Federal courts have been known to extend their jurisdiction abroad. And it does seem that Mr. Mubarak is a just another well-paid American civil servant gone rogue.