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Op-Ed: Foreign Aid Could Be Better Spent On Reducing America’s Poverty Rate

There are several arguments that could be made for why the U.S. should spend less money abroad and more money at home. File photo: Sergey Novikov, Shutter Stock, licensed.

NEW YORK, NY – Poverty in America is on the rise and more Americans are finding themselves unable to make ends meet. So when the U.S. government announces foreign aid projects, it is no surprise that this infuriates millions of citizens who feel the aid should be send at home rather than abroad.

There are a few reasons why the U.S. spends money abroad, even though there are still many Americans who are living in poverty and facing challenges. First, America is a wealthy country with a large economy and significant global influence. As such, it has long been involved in efforts to support and promote international development, diplomacy, and humanitarian aid. This includes providing foreign aid to other countries, which can help to support economic growth, alleviate poverty, and promote stability and peace in regions around the world. From the perspective of many policymakers, these efforts are seen as an important part of America’s role as a global leader and a force for good in the world.

Secondly, it’s worth noting that the amount of money the U.S. spends on foreign aid is actually relatively small compared to the overall federal budget. In 2020, for example, the United States spent around $49 billion on foreign aid, which is less than 1% of the total federal budget. By comparison, spending on domestic programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid totaled over $2 trillion. So while it’s true that there are still many Americans who are struggling financially, it’s important to keep in mind that foreign aid is only a small part of the overall federal budget.

That said, it’s certainly true that poverty and inequality remain significant problems in the U.S., and there is much work to be done to address these issues. Many experts and advocates have called for greater investment in programs like affordable housing, healthcare, education, and job training, which can help to support low-income Americans and reduce poverty over the long term. Ultimately, it’s up to policymakers and citizens to determine how best to allocate resources and address the many challenges facing the country both at home and abroad.

There are several arguments that could be made for why the U.S. should spend less money abroad and more money at home. Firstly, there are many pressing domestic needs in the United States, including addressing poverty, improving healthcare, supporting education, and investing in infrastructure. By reallocating some of the funds currently being spent on foreign aid, the government could potentially make significant progress in addressing these issues and improving the lives of many Americans.

Second, some argue that the U.S. should prioritize spending on its own national security rather than providing aid to other countries. By redirecting funds toward domestic security efforts, such as strengthening border security, improving emergency response systems, and investing in military technology, the country could potentially become more secure and better equipped to protect its citizens.

Third, it is unfair to spend large amounts of money on foreign aid when there are still many Americans who are struggling to make ends meet. By redirecting funds toward domestic programs, the government could help to ensure that all Americans have access to basic needs and services, regardless of their economic status.

Lastly, America must hold other countries accountable. Critics of foreign aid argue that it can sometimes be ineffective, and that it may even enable corrupt governments or inefficient systems to persist. By reducing foreign aid and instead focusing on diplomacy and other means of holding other countries accountable, the United States could potentially promote positive change and progress around the world in a more effective and sustainable way.

There are many ways that the U.S. government could focus on spending more at home and work to reduce poverty. It can strengthen social safety net programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps), and Medicaid, and it can offer housing assistance to provide basic needs and support to low-income families. Strengthening these programs by increasing funding or expanding eligibility could help to reduce poverty and improve economic security for millions of Americans.

Raising the federal minimum wage could help to ensure that all workers are paid a fair wage and have a better chance of making ends meet. Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, which many argue is too low to support a basic standard of living.

The U.S. government could assist by providing access to high-quality education and job training programs. These can help to ensure that individuals have the skills and knowledge necessary to secure good-paying jobs and build a stable career. This can also help to promote economic mobility and reduce poverty over the long term.

The arguments in favor of foreign aid, including promoting global stability, reducing poverty, and supporting U.S. national interests are valid, but Americans need help. Ultimately, the decision of how to allocate funds will depend on a variety of factors, including political priorities, economic conditions, and public opinion. Regardless, Americans need more financial assistance and we should begin to think about spending less abroad and more at home.

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