Where I Stand Reducing global poverty helps U.S. security
Through foreign aid, living conditions greatly improve for families, villages and entire countries as global poverty begins to downsize. Further, fostering productive economies and stable institutions in the world’s poorest countries serves our own strategic interest. Therefore, the U.S. should take a leadership role in development through funding programs that address global poverty.
The Borgen Project is a national advocacy campaign that works to improve U.S. response to the global poverty crisis and make it a focus of our foreign policy. They build support in Congress for policies that improve living conditions for those facing extreme poverty. Additionally, The Borgen Project promotes innovations in poverty reduction and builds awareness of successes occurring.
The public tends to drastically overestimate the amount of funding allocated to helping the world’s poor. While Americans on average estimate that 20 percent of the federal budget goes to foreign aid, in reality it amounts to less than 1 percent. The $30 billion the U.S. gives to programs that assist the poor is minuscule compared to other foreign policy priorities, such as the $663 billion given to the military.
Further, the U.S. contributes the second least amount of its gross national income to foreign aid among developed countries. We must recognize aid as an investment in creating productive economies and stable institutions in developing countries, as development is as essential to our security as defense is.
Beyond the humanitarian imperative, it is crucial for the United States to do more to address poverty as it has the capabilities to make an impact and a strategic interest in improving the plight of the world’s poor. Downsizing poverty serves the interest of U.S. businesses as transforming those living in poverty into consumers creating new global markets for U.S. companies and creating jobs domestically.
Furthermore, development is a key component of our national security through addressing the conditions of instability that create national security concerns. As a result, military leaders have voiced their support of foreign aid programs on the grounds of national security.
The Trump administration proposed cuts to the already small amount delegated to the International Affairs Budget and programs that improve living conditions for the world’s poor. These programs support critical development and diplomacy programs around the world and serve the U.S. economic and national security interest.
I urge Sen. Chris Murphy and Sen. Richard Blumenthal to support funding for the International Affairs Budget and programs that improve the lives of more than 30 million people globally.
Laura Hornby, a Newtown resident, is a Borgen Project Ambassador and a student in the Class of 2020 at Hamilton College.