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Why foreign aid should be viewed as an investment

With the current economic status of the United States, the last thing on the minds of the American people and their elected officials is foreign assistance. "Why should we put more money into helping other countries when we have so many problems here at home?" This is a common question many ask in regards to maintaining or increasing the foreign aid budget.

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When assessing this question it is important to understand the facts behind foreign assistance. These facts will reveal that the money put towards developing countries has a large impact on the United States economy and national security. It will also clear up the misconceptions of how much is funded by the U.S. tax payers.

We currently live in a globalized economy. In an increasingly interconnected world it is imperative to foster relationships with other countries in order for our country to succeed and compete on international level. While many believe that we should cut "unnecessary spending" in order to boost our economy, foreign assistance is key to economic growth and should not even be an option to defund.

In a time where our exports are lagging behind our imports, our investment in the International Affairs budget creates new job markets for American goods and services throughout the world, further increasing jobs here at home. With about 45 percent of our exports going to developing countries and 1 out of every 5 jobs depending on international trade, cutting our international affairs budget would actually hurt our economy and leave more Americans jobless.

In addition to helping our economy, investing in foreign assistance would be a cheaper and more effective way in strengthening our national security. With over $600 billion going towards U.S. national defense, 84 percent of military officers agreed that diplomacy and development are critical components in obtaining US. national security objectives. They also claim funds going to national defense alone, will surely to our failure in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The most dangerous countries in the world are also among the poorest. Helping other countries out of poverty would make communities less susceptible to terrorist groups and weak institutions. With improvements in development and limiting the influence of terrorists, we can successful improve our own national security.

In order to see the influence that foreign aid has on creating a better future for us here in the United States, it is important to make sure the American people are aware the cost of Foreign assistance and how their tax money is really being used. The majority of the United States citizens believe that about 28 percent of the budget is taken for foreign assistance, and the reality is less than 1 percent is used. If you would like to see how much you pay a year for foreign assistance, click here for a quick assessment. By just typing in your yearly income it will calculate how much money you pay for each tax program.

In seeing the difference in how much money is really used compared to the programs it is quite interesting to see how our money is truly being spent. This little amount has helped millions all over the world. Imagine if we met the ideas of US people with 28 percent? we might just be able eradicate global poverty in just a few years. This may be wishful thinking, however the american people should remember the benefits of foreign assistance and urge congress to support foreign aid and development legislation to provide for a safer and more prosperous future for us all.

For more information about reducing global poverty by increasing U.S. foreign aid, visit The Borgen Project.

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