To the Editor,
Although many believe that the United States spends too much on international aid, this is not the case. Most believe that the U.S. spends over 20% of its budget on global relief efforts, but the figure is actually around 1%. Foreign aid spending is minuscule compared to the whopping $801 billion spent on defense, or 11% of the yearly budget. Although military spending is important and necessary, it is not the only way to bolster national security. Senior U.S. military personnel like Defense Secretary Robert Gates and former Admiral Mike Mullen have noted that international aid helps prevent crises in the long and short term.
Furthermore, international aid protects American jobs and strengthens the economy. Examples of U.S. foreign assistance include the European Marshall Plan, aid to Mexico and Brazil, all of which ended up giving the United States more revenue in imports than it spends on aid. Investments in aid allows for developing countries and their citizens to purchase more American goods, creating higher demand for U.S. exports, and improving our economy.
While the moral appeal of assisting countries in need is certainly strong, there is an equally powerful argument that the U.S. stands to gain from sending aid abroad. The myth that international assistance is a drag on the economy limits American security and economic growth.