Foreign Aid: Putting Ourselves First

Former U.S. congressman Ron Paul once stated, “Foreign aid is taking money from poor people in a rich country and giving it to rich people in a poor country.” The United States government invests approximately $750 billion per year to developing countries and to the building up of other nation’s militaries (“U.S. Foreign Aid”). While some people believe helping others will ultimately gain us allies when we are in desperate need, others believe that by investing in foreign aid we are making those countries less reliant on themselves, crippling their abilities to solve their own nation’s problems. The strongest opinion, perhaps, of those not in favor of foreign aid, is that it results in us neglecting to solve our own problems within the United States; something that could have been resolved had we not invested $750 billion in the aid of other countries. Being strongly opinionated pertaining to foreign aid, I believe we are simultaneously losing money that could ultimately be used to solve our own nation’s issues, and making other countries reliant on foreign aid to resolve theirs.

One such example of neglect is as follows. As of 2015 the homeless rate for United States veterans was 8.6 percent of the entire homeless population. That’s 49,933 veterans living on the streets (“Fact Sheet”). Men and women within our nation’s military have a greater risk of becoming homeless due to the fact that they make a shockingly low average salary of $22,259 – $82,000 per year (“Army Base Pay”), varying on experience. All the while, we are supporting other countries’ militaries with money we don’t have, just so they could potentially use it against us in a state of war.

Nineteen trillion dollars in debt is what the United States was recorded to be in as of December 2015 (Agresti). By spending hundreds of billions of dollars per year on foreign aid, our nation’s debt is constantly increasing. The United States has never been a strong candidate for receiving foreign aid. In fact, the United States receives little to no foreign aid at all. We are investing money into countries who could never possibly return the favor if we needed it. Perhaps instead of investing our money in other countries, we should strictly use it for our own well-being, and in turn our debt would be greatly reduced.

“All citizens must pay taxes, and by doing so, contribute their fair share to the health of the government and national economy” (“How Are Federal“). Throughout the year of 2016, federal taxpayers will pay $2.93 million towards foreign aid every hour (“Cost of Foreign Aid”). The government portrays taxes as a national duty, an investment – not a penalty – that benefits our nation now and for future generations. While to a certain extent that is true, they almost fail to mention the fact that the taxes which you pay, are invested in the development of other countries as well. Why would United States citizens want to support other countries with their hard earned money when there are unresolved issues within our own country?

Much discussion as well as debate follows the mentioning of foreign aid. Perhaps one of the most controversial issues about the subject is that those in favor believe that it is mankind’s duty to offer support and aid to one another. They believe that by investing money into foreign aid, we are being humane. Others believe, however, that even in doing so we are lacking compassion and benevolence by ignoring the people that are in need living in our streets. It’s no problem for our government to invest billions of dollars to aid other countries, but they won’t fix what’s broken in ours. Ultimately, we should prioritize the wellness of those concerned with contributing to our country’s prosperity rather than those who take away from it.

Foreign aid has a tremendous effect on the world and though some people believe it is beneficial and others believe it is more damaging to the part of the world we know and live in, it will always be done until we no longer have the resources to do so. When we can no longer help others nor ourselves, who is going to be there to help us? This question is the foundation of why foreign aid is damaging. When you give all you have eventually you are left with nothing; and someone somewhere has obtained what you’ve lost. We as a nation should be more concerned with ourselves, for when we have nothing left we can’t get back what’s been given. Those who depend on others will never learn to help themselves, and those who give will give until they have nothing more to offer. It will always be better for one to prosper, than for all to diminish.

Works Cited

“U.S. Foreign Aid – The Borgen Project.” The Borgen Project RSS2. The Borgen Project. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.http://borgenproject.org/foreign-aid/

“Fact Sheet: Veteran Homelessness.” National Alliance to End Homelessness: National Alliance to End Homlessness, 22 Apr. 2015. Web. 27 Jan. 2016. http://www.endhomelessness.org/library/entry/fact-sheet-veteran-homelessness

“Army Base Pay and Basic Pay Chart | GoArmy.com.” Goarmy.com. U.S. Army. Web. 27 Jan. 2016. https://www.goarmy.com/benefits/money/basic-pay-active-duty-soldiers.m.html

Agresti, James D. “National Debt – Just Facts.” National Debt – Just Facts. Just Facts, 26 Apr. 2011. Web. 27 Jan. 2016. http://www.justfacts.com/nationaldebt.asp

“Cost of Foreign Aid in 2016 to Taxpayers in the United States.” National Priorities Project. National Priorities Project. Web. 27 Jan. 2016. https://www.nationalpriorities.org/cost-of/foreign-aid/.

“How Are Federal Taxes Spent?” – TurboTax Tax Tips & Videos. Intuit. Web. 28 Jan. 2016. <https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Taxes-101/How-Are-Federal-Taxes-Spent–/INF14246.html&gt;.