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Americans Want To Cut Foreign Aid From The Budget

... amongst other items.

I was perusing my personal Facebook feed the other day and came across this gem that a friend posted copied & pasted into their profile:
Doesn't make much sense, does it??: Homeless go without eating. Elderly go without needed medicines. Mentally ill go without treatment. Troops go without proper equipment. Veterans go without benefits that were promised. Yet we donate billions to other countries before helping our own first. 1% will re-post and 99% won't. Have the guts to re-post this. I KNOW I'm in the 1%
Grammatical errors (I'm a grammar nerd, what can I say?) and the annoying 'you are not cool unless you post this too' factor aside, this type of blanket accusation does make you angry and want to click the little 'like' button! Because really, who wants to send our country's dollars to another country -- when that money is needed here? Gah!

There couldn't possibly be more to the story, could there?

What do Americans want to cut from the Federal Budget? Gallup:

Prior to the State of the Union address, a majority of Americans said they favor cutting U.S. foreign aid, but more than 6 in 10 opposed cuts to education, Social Security, and Medicare. Smaller majorities objected to cutting programs for the poor, national defense, homeland security, aid to farmers, and funding for the arts and sciences.
Clearly, Americans are no fan of foreign aid or (sadly) arts and sciences. But, I wonder, what percentage of the overall 2011 federal budget goes to foreign aid?

Here we see the federal budget in a groovy-pie-chart form:



So, understanding that monies devoted to foreign aid are held within the 'international affairs' category, we see that only 4% of the 2011 fiscal-year budget is devoted to international matters. BUT, if we dig deeper into the budget for the Department Of State And Other International Programs, we find that only a fraction of that 4% is devoted to foreign aid -- as much of the money is allocated for promoting U.S. strategies in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as Iraq.

These projects are hardly a bunch of charity and hand-outs for poorer nations...

Please don't misunderstand, it's not that I condone the allotment of this kind of money to go to other nations when clearly there is a need for that funding here at home. What I do abhor is people on f**king Facebook acting all high-and-mighty, on their virtual soapbox, when they are so obviously clueless about how our federal tax-dollars are spent.

Take a look at that groovy-pie-chart again. 53% of the federal budget falls under the 'security' heading. That means military. That means weapons. Over HALF of the money that the federal government collects goes to defense.

I'm all for keeping our country safe, don't get me wrong. I know that we live in a very dangerous world. However, my guess is that there are probably some programs in foreign aid that could be cut along with programs in defense spending.

But, that's not what Americans want, is it?

Nope.

When you look at the numbers very closely (as I think that we have), you see that what Facebook Person is complaining about is a drop in the proverbial bucket compared to other, much MUCH larger budgetary items. To suggest that simply cutting foreign aid (or arts, or science, or education, etc, etc, etc...) is the solution to our nation's financial woes is the epitome of fiscal ignorance.

Head nod to Doug for pointing to the Gallup polling.