opinion   |   letters

LETTER: Bring foreign aid to center of attention during election season



As the Nov. 6 midterm elections approach, the media has begun to ramp up coverage of hot-button political issues. However, one area of policy has been overlooked — foreign aid. 

Many Americans have denied the importance of foreign assistance, claiming aid renders “no results.” This is simply not true. In recent years, we have seen strong improvements in the state of global poverty. In fact, in the year 2015, extreme poverty rates worldwide fell below 10 percent for the first time. 

We must also consider just how little the U.S. gives to foreign assistance. Less than one percent of the federal budget is reserved for foreign aid. This amounts to $30 billion annually, compared to approximately $663 billion for defense spending. 

Critically important in today’s world, foreign aid can lead to increased national security. The United States National Security Strategy is known for its “3 D’s” — Defense, Development, and Diplomacy. U.S. Military leaders affirm that “Development” creates peace in unstable communities, preventing terrorism and corruption from taking root in these vulnerable environments. 

Beyond its altruistic and strategic benefits, foreign aid improves conditions at home. Economic development leads to new markets for United States manufacturers to sell their goods to.

The Borgen Project aims to put foreign aid at the center of U.S. policy. Through advocacy, the Borgen Project fights global poverty. By informing our leaders of the benefits of foreign aid, we can help pass legislation aimed at combating poverty worldwide.

As the election season continues, ask your candidates to fight for foreign aid. Call your current legislators as well, and urge them to support the International Affairs Budget and other legislation aimed at alleviating poverty across the world. 

Kelsey Napier

The Borgen Project

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