In his State of the Union Address last month, President Trump repeated his calls for a reduction in spending on foreign aid, arguing that “it only go to America’s friends.” While wishing to protect American interests abroad is fine, he should reassess cuts to the foreign aid, and reconsider the benefits that giving aid to other countries actually benefits the United States.
Foreign aid has been a key part of U.S. foreign policy for decades, and has been helpful in allowing developing countries and U.S. allies to prosper. By increasing disposable income in developing countries, such generosity opens up new markets for U.S. exports which helps American workers. By building up struggling countries, foreign aid also prevents the expansion of terrorist groups which tend to exploit poverty and political discord, something Trump has taken a firm stance on since the campaign trail.
While many Americans believe that foreign aid comprises over a quarter of our federal budget and needs to be reduced, in fact it only accounts for .17 percent of our total GDP, well below the average of other developed countries. If Trump is serious about helping America’s workers and advancing U.S. interests, he should rethink his attitude toward foreign aid. It turns out that giving to others is the best method of putting America First.
Shane Summers, La Crosse