Trump says the U.S. spends too much on foreign aid — but what do the numbers really say?

Throughout his presidential campaign Donald Trump touted that the U.S. spends too much on helping other countries and vowed to change that. Mick Mulvaney, the current budget director, reiterated that stance. This prompts the question: How much does the U.S. spend on foreign aid anyway?

“Surveys show that many of our citizens think we devote a full quarter or even a third of our federal budget to foreign aid,” said former Secretary of State John Kerry. However, the real percentage isn’t in the double digits. Shockingly, it’s not even 1 percent. According to the Committee for a Responsible Budget, the U.S. spends 0.7 percent of its coffers on foreign aid. This coming at a time where there is a refugee crisis in the Middle East and a hunger crisis in Africa.

“At the beginning of the year we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the United Nations,” warns U.N. humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien. Many of the president’s followers hold the belief that helping other countries provides no benefit for the U.S. However, history has shown the opposite. Several countries that once received foreign aid are now trade partners with the U.S. Developing nations have also been shown to reduce violence and terrorism.

“Foreign assistance is an insurance policy. Investing over there, even though we have needs here, makes us safer,” stated Sen. Lindsay Graham. Maybe in order to truly “Make America Great Again” the current administration may need to lend out more of a helping hand.

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/13/2017 - 03:44 pm.

    Trump was elected

    by the votes of the misinformed.

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 04/14/2017 - 11:10 am.


    …to Mr. Brandon.

    That we spend a huge portion of the federal budget on foreign aid is a right wing propaganda talking point that dates back a generation, at least. Far, far more is spent on most of the federal spending topics one might name, from Social Security to Medicare to crop subsidies for farmers to oil company subsidies. They all get a larger share of the federal budget than does foreign aid.

  3. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 04/14/2017 - 02:02 pm.

    I read in today’s papers that President Trump is changing his mind on one major issue after another, from what he shouted (that was the verb used) during the campaign, as he is sat down and told about the details of the issue. He didn’t know anything concrete about most matters concerning the U.S. or the rest of the world. But as he learns, he’s coming around to more mainstream positions.

    Would that he supporters had the benefit of careful briefings from folks like the president of China!

    Look at what he’s changed: his position on Russia. His position on NATO. His position on China being a currency manipulator (it stopped doing that some time ago but he didn’t know that).

    Of course, now he’s getting perhaps too excited about using missiles and big bombs. Like a kid with new toys that he just has to press a button to deploy. He actually used yesterday the term “MY military,” which scared me blue. Does anyone remember any of our former presidents ever using that possessive “my”? Only autocrats do that, along with fierce demands for personal loyalty from all around him.

    The man frightens.

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