Foreign aid is one of the most contentious topics in American politics and budgeting, and it has been for quite a while. Before World War I, we did not engage in any foreign intervention efforts, and the prospect of doing so scared many Americans. President Wilson was the one to make the stance that we must eventually intervene, and on the prospect of helping not only others, and ourselves and our own self-interests. Over the next several decades, the United States began to become a dominating force in the world, and now is seemingly involved in every world problem today.
Despite all this, the United States actually gives very little foreign aid in comparison to other world superpowers, and even non superpowers. On average, Americans believe 25% of the federal budget goes to foreign aid and believe that it should be cut down to 10%. We give about $30 billion to programs that assist the world’s impoverished. This seems like a lot, doesn’t it? That is 1% of our overall budget. Yet, every single year, the budget gets smaller and smaller for this incredibly important part of our budget. For the political pressure to rise on this important issue, the public must be made aware.
Foreign aid does not only help those directly receiving the aid but causes a domino effect that helps Americans. It has been proven that impoverished countries have weaker state institutions in place that are highly prone to militant groups and cartels toppling the government. Terrorism is one of the greatest threats in our world today, with over one third of Americans being very afraid of being the victim of a terrorist attack. Increasing the aid budget is pivotal to increasing our national security, and also saving millions of lives. The programs that are being funded through this budget are pivotal in helping impoverished people be alleviated from their suffering and deserve much more than just 1% of our annual budget.