Topic: foreign aid
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September 30, 2013 at 6:23 AM
We need to give more
My whole life, I was always proud to call myself an American, because I believed the United States did its best to help those who lived in other countries who were less fortunate than me.
It wasn’t until about a month ago, when I became a regional director for the Borgen Project, that I found out the U.S. actually puts aside less than 1 percent of its budget for foreign aid.
How many Americans are aware of this number? Very few. Even many of my peers studying international affairs believed this number to be much higher.
The fact is that foreign aid and efforts to reduce global poverty are believed by many Americans to be receiving much more of our country’s money than they really are.
What can we do as citizens to fix this problem? First, we can share this number with everyone we know. The first step to change is raising awareness. Second, we can let our congressional leaders know that we are not satisfied with this number. We can ask them to support legislation that promotes transparency of foreign aid and an increased focus on reducing global poverty.
Possibly the most powerful solution that is available to the American citizen is the ability to redirect the attention of the media. The media follows the news stories that we choose to follow. They track the links we click on and the articles we read.
If 90 percent of us click on Angelina Jolie instead of poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, then the media will give us more Angelina and less global poverty.
Is there a direct correlation between the percentage of news articles about global poverty and the percent of the U.S. budget that goes toward foreign aid?
The only way to find out is by changing our habits.
Kelsey Garcia, Woodinville
August 6, 2013 at 6:03 AM
Hunger is a serious issue
Neal Keny-Guyer is correct that America can do more to help feed the world’s hungry. [“Guest column: A solution for how U.S. foreign aid can feed more for less,” Opinion, Aug. 3.]
With 5 million children dying each year from poor nutrition, and millions more suffering illnesses and stunted growth, this is a crisis.
Rep. Adam Smith has been working on this issue of more efficient foreign aid for some time. The opportunity to help America’s hungry is also present, with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in danger of cuts, while currently one in five children are hungry in the U.S.
So, indeed, citizens should contact their legislators about hunger issues. August is a great time to do so; with Congress recessed, there are opportunities to speak to them while they are back at home.
Willie Dickerson, Snohomish
March 13, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Share the wealth worldwide
While reading the article about public feeling on U.S. government spending, I was saddened that so few people prioritize foreign aid [“Americans want less government debt, but also increased spending, survey says,” page one, March 9].
We, as a country, have been greatly blessed. With that blessing, I believe, comes a responsibility not just to help ourselves, but also to contribute to the masses of people in the world who suffer severe poverty.
While it is important that we spend money to protect our country and maintain our infrastructure, and while it is nice to spend money on social programs that help our own poor, the truth is that even the poorest people in the U.S. are better off than the majority of people in the world.
More than half of the people in the world live on less than $3 a day. It has been estimated that less than $100 billion a year, well spent, could alleviate the most severe problems of world poverty. This is less than 3 percent of the U.S. government’s annual budget.
I know that we have our own problems in this country, but I hope we could be inspired to use a little of our resources to more greatly bless our fellow humans.
–Travis Kopp, Seattle
March 6, 2013 at 4:30 PM
Priorities should be at home
The article on Secretary of State John Kerry meeting with Egypt’s embattled leader Mohammed Morsi is another example of our policy to bribe other nations with millions of our tax dollars to influence an ally who has already “ramrodded” Islamic focus on their new constitution with violent objections from the secular moderates who protest daily [“Kerry, Morsi meet; U.S. frees money to Egypt,” News, March 4].
Meanwhile, aging American veterans like myself are burdened with medical expenses that are not covered due to Veterans Affairs policy that federal funded Medicare health plans deny our eligibility at VA hospitals and proceed to garnish our Social Security checks to pay for services rendered.
You’d think our government would take care of its own before writing checks to morally questionable allies like Pakistan and Egypt, to name a few. “Are aging veterans all but forgotten?”
–Kip Goozee, Camano Island
Curb foreign aid
The United States needs to curb foreign aid, especially when so many of our agencies are facing huge cutbacks because of the failure of Congress to act responsibly.
Our country cannot afford to continually borrow money to give away. If an individual did that, it would [mean] bankruptcy. Beware!
–Roberta Tarr, Clinton
February 26, 2013 at 7:01 AM
Cuts not substantive
Allow me to shed a different light on this upcoming sequestration nonsense [“Threat of $85 billion in cuts is about to become a reality,” News, Feb. 24]. Let’s put it in perspective. The politicians are coming unglued because we might have to cut $85 billion out of a federal budget of $3.803 trillion. That’s a 2.4 percent cut, but not a real cut, just a reduction in the rate of increase.
We are actually still spending more in 2013 than we did in 2012. This is a joke. These politicians are insulting our intelligence as human beings. Our government is spending $1 trillion we don’t have, every year, and we are fighting over a rounding error ($85 billion). The problem is nobody wants to make the cuts necessary and become the bad guy which might hurt their chances at getting re-elected.
Yes, major cuts will hurt the economy, just as it is painful for a drug addict to go through withdrawals. Like the drug addict, our economy has been artificially stimulated for some time now by ridiculously low interest rates, three rounds of quantitative easing, money printing, a trillion-dollar stimulus package and huge bailouts. What we got was a phony recovery that will tragically end in a much deeper recession than the one in 2008.
–Casey O’Connor, Seattle
Foreign aid should be subject to cuts
While I hope that the “sequester” doesn’t happen, I’m extremely disappointed that I’ve seen no mention of whether or not foreign aid is subject to the cuts.
Why do you think the president is focusing on spending cuts that relate to diminishing first responders and air-traffic regulators? I am appalled if foreign aid is not subject to the cuts. After all, money is being borrowed on the current and future taxpayer’s backs to give to other countries.
Why does the United States have to give money away to foreign countries and our services for first responders and air traffic are degraded? Before 1 cent is cut from support of first responders and air-traffic regulators our dues to the United Nations should unilaterally be cut by half, and all foreign aid stopped.
–Mark Flanery, Auburn
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