News flash: Many Americans want more money spent on foreign aid, global health

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.

Secondly, once Americans know how little we spend on foreign aid many say we should spend more.

Thirdly, most Americans think we should work with others internationally (you know, like at the United Nations) rather than try to do things on our own.

Okay, there’s the quick pie-chart version.

You should read the entire Kaiser report. It includes some critical analysis and not always good news. But on the whole, it’s evidence that Americans do want to play a big role in making the world a better place — and evidence, if we needed it, of how disconnected the political dialogue has become from reality.

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Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at]humanosphere.org or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.