Sending Abroad vs Helping Our Own

Generational Poverty


How much does the U.S. send abroad in foreign aid compared to government expenditures to aid the poor at home?

In 2014, the average American thought “that spending on foreign aid makes up roughly a quarter of the federal budget.”  The Kaiser Family Foundation annually surveys what Americans know about foreign aid and every year the public widely over-estimates the country’s foreign aid spending.  More than half, 56 percent, believed the U.S. spends too much on foreign aid.

Actually, the U.S. spent $32 billion, more than any other country, in 2014 helping the poor of other countries.  But that’s just 0.18 percent (eighteen-one-hundredths of one percent) of the U.S. gross national product, according to the Center for Global Development (CGD).  Top ranked Denmark spent 0.85 percent of its GNP.  The CGD looks at the effort countries make relative to their size.

In releasing its annual index in December ranking the world’s wealthiest 27 nations on how their policies “help or hurt the world’s poorest people,” the U.S. ranked 21st out of 27, behind a three-way tie between Hungary, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic for 18th and just ahead of Switzerland, Slovakia and Poland.  Denmark, tops, was followed by Sweden, Norway and Finland.

Conversely, the federal government spends $235 billion on the U.S. non-working poor, the bulk of which is SNAP (formerly food stamps) and about one-third of Medicaid.  Once you account for the fact that some of these program dollars go to the working poor, you end up with Center on Budget and Policy Priority’s (CBPP) estimate of 5 percent of the whole federal budget.

Horizonte, Salt Lake City School District’s alternative high school and adult education center, students, youth and adult, are low-income, mostly minority individuals seeking a way out of generational poverty through education.  They are the needy recipients of our government aid.  That help, their grit and good choices, plus education, will result in a world happier, more productive and secure.