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How much should the U.S. give to international affairs? Polls show most Americans think 20-30 percent of the U.S. budget is dedicated to international assistance. In reality, the number is less than 1 percent.
The federal budget reflects our nation’s priorities. Fourteen percent of the budget supports those living in poverty in the United States. Another 1 percent funds development, global health and conflict prevention programs overseas.
These programs did not create the nation’s deficit. Credit for that goes to rising health care costs, the inability of Social Security and Medicare to keep up with an aging population, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Yet policymakers seeking to cut the deficit all too often target the 15 percent of programs that not only provide life-giving services to people and communities today, but also prevent much more expensive problems later.
At the same time many of the same policymakers recommend increasing military spending. But how much is enough to keep us safe? Already more than half of our country’s discretionary spending goes to “security.” Instead we must call on our government representatives to use the resources that we have today to help us solve difficult problems and to provide for the wellbeing of future generations.
The Washington Office participates in the Faithful Budget Campaign. Learn more about the campaign here.