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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