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The Misleading Current Narrative On US Foreign Aid



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To the Editor:

Both amid and after the height of the pandemic, the question as to how expedient national budget spending is has arguably been debated more so than in the past.

While scrutiny of how the national budget is allocated can be reasonable at face value, the unfortunate reality is that it has become incredibly easy for clashing parties and their respective constituents to use the budget and debt as an ideological cudgel — particularly for humanitarian issues.

Surprisingly, this feud isn’t the hallmark of congressional bickering that it is made out to be, but more of a heated discussion among a politically charged populace.

Brookings.edu claims that the average American believes we spend a quarter of our national budget on foreign aid (unsurprisingly, this is also deemed too much) and that foreign aid spending is a democrat-only agenda item.

On the contrary, only 1% of the annual budget is spent on foreign aid and the spending in question has been a subject of bipartisan support even since the era of the Marshall Plan.

This is just a fraction of the rampant popular misconceptions surrounding poverty; others include the idea that all 1st-world countries spend a majority of their income on aid, all developing countries are technologically backward and politically corrupt, and that poverty is caused solely by careless overpopulation.

While we are fortunate that these can be debunked with some simple research, it may take more than that to curb the influence of an increasingly divisive — and, let’s face it —ignorant generation.

Jeremiah Harrington


Comments are open. Be civil.
  1. qstorm says:

    A portion of this ‘foreign aid’ is in the form of military hardware, training and financing the purchase of military hardware. Not to mention the $54 billion in military aid to Ukraine this year which almost doubles the $60.4 billion budgeted for ‘foreign aid’.

    1. jetches22 says:

      The letter refers to general humanitarian aid, it doesn’t necessarily negate the fact that the foreign aid budget can be subject to different ideological priorities at different times

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