Hey President Obama and members of Congress, read this report!
I’ve noted this before but it’s worth re-emphasizing the encouraging (and maybe surprising) findings from a public opinion survey on foreign aid and global health done recently by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The news media (sigh) largely ignored this but it deserves more attention. Here’s a good summary by Tom Murphy at the Huffington Post and another story (well, reproduced press release actually) by the Sacramento Bee.
In case you don’t want to read the report (it’s pretty good, trust me) due to your own particular form of attention-deficit disorder, here are three graphic illustrations of the findings
First, most Americans don’t know how little we spend on foreign aid.
You know that phrase about being penny-wise and pound-foolish.
As the US and British governments look for places to make budget cuts, many are concerned that the small amount (about 1 percent of the US federal budget) devoted to providing assistance to the needy and fighting disease in poor countries will be cut even further.
Sam Worthington of Interaction writes in the Guardian why this is a bad idea. He notes that the new conservative government in the UK appears to understand why foreign aid is in their national interest. But Worthington is concerned it remains a tough political sell among some in the U.S. He writes:
Many of the budget cuts proposed by the House would have a dramatic effect on development work abroad and could make it hard to respond to crises such as the earthquake that occurred in Haiti in January last year…. The harsh arithmetic here is that when humanitarian accounts are slashed, people die, whether in Sudan or the Democratic Republic of Congo.