Federal Budget should ensure international development funds

By Trevor Wallace
March 15, 2011

On Tuesday, March 15, Congress met to consider cutting into the U.S. Federal Budget; specifically, cutting into funding that goes to foreign aid and global poverty.

In fact, surveys show that most Americans think that 25 percent of the federal budget goes to this. Those same Americans say that it should be cut drastically to 10 percent.

Loquitur wants to invite you into the reality: less than 1 percent of our country’s federal budget goes to helping the hungry, the sick, the enslaved, the world’s most vulnerable.

Since so many American citizens are unaware of what actual percentage goes to those who most need it in the world, it might be safe to say they don’t know what exactly makes up foreign aid assistance.

jerry zurek / submitted photo

This funding now assists people of Haiti who are still suffering from the devastating January 2010 earthquake. In Southern Sudan, the world’s newest country is set to declare its independence this summer. This slashing could hinder progress in the new country by cutting out assistance to help small farm workers grow food for cash crop.

Programs that aid several thousand pregnant women and children with medical needs are likely to disappear as a repercussion of the cut.

This small slice of the federal budget’s pie is likely to be eaten by our government. If this happens, the consequences are detrimental.

Unfortunately, the same Americans who are ignorant to the real statistics of our federal budget will be the people to still pose questions like, “Why are we focusing on those overseas first when we have problems here?”

Good question, Loquitur does admit.

However, before you ask bold questions as this one, take a look at the reality. Foreign aid and poverty reduction together make up 1 percent. They receive the lowest percentage of assistance in the budget.

We are not helping them first. We are helping everyone at the same time. Is time the issue? No. The outstanding difference in percentages is.

The federal budget spends more money on the military than it does helping veterans, protecting our environment, educating our youth and foreign aid combined.

In times where not just America but leading nations and third world countries need just as much help as we do, why do we spend so much on protecting ourselves from others instead of aiding them?

If we took a quarter of the amount of money the budget uses for military, we could increase education by twice as much. With more of the population educated to a higher degree, more could be done about the environment and foreign aid.

In addition to this serious government decision, we are learning more details of the recent devastation in Japan. We, as citizens both of this country and this world, cannot run from everything that is wrong with it. We are a part of this interconnected world, whether we like it or not.

The Loquitur asks people to not turn away from the world’s hardships. Instead, recognize that Japan’s problems, Haiti’s problems, Sudan’s problems and of course America’s problems all matter. And all are connected.



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Trevor Wallace

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