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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Foreign aid good for the economy

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Wednesday, May 10, 2017 12:01 am

In March, a hefty cut of 31 percent to USAID and the State Department Budget was proposed by the Trump administration.

One may argue that the proposed cut would free up funds for undertaking welfare and safety measures for our own country, but what if it serves the exact opposite purpose?

A very common perception most of us hold is that the U.S. is already spending a lot on foreign aid, so the funding should be cut down. However, in reality less than 1 percent of our federal budget is allocated to foreign aid. That's less than what most of the other developed countries are spending.

Apportioning a higher budget to foreign aid is actually healthy for the growth and safety of our economy. It helps people in the developing nations transition out of poverty. When this happens, their purchasing power increases, opening up new markets for our products and thus, increasing U.S. jobs.

Our top trading partners, like Germany and South Korea, were once recipients of U.S. foreign aid. Often, poverty makes people turn to desperate measures, making them vulnerable to be radicalized by terrorist groups. It's no surprise that the world's poorest countries are also the most dangerous.

Robert Gates, former secretary of defense, said, “Development is a lot cheaper than sending soldiers.”

That's a sentiment echoed by many in the U.S. military. So rather than slashing our foreign aid budget or imposing travel bans, helping reduce poverty will work more in our favor.

As Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) says, “We need to stop viewing it (foreign aid) as aid. It's an investment.”

Roshnee Shah

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