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Myths about Foreign Aid

When it comes to foreign aid, many Americans believe we spend—and send—far more than we do.

For years, public opinion polls have shown Americans think the United States spends 20-25 percent of its budget on foreign aid. The actual amount? Less than 1 percent.

That’s one of the myths John Norris debunks in “Five Myths about Foreign Aid,” which ran in Sunday’s Washington Post. Norris is executive director of the sustainable security program at the Center for American Progress.

Four other myths:

  • Republicans hate foreign aid.
  • We give aid so countries will do as we say.
  • Foreign governments waste the aid we give them.
  • No one ever graduates from U.S. foreign aid.

On that last point, Norris writes, "Nations across Latin America and Asia were dismissed in the 1960s as perennial basket cases, yet countries in both regions combined sensible reforms with a jump-start from U.S. assistance programs to achieve dynamic, lasting growth."

The short piece is worth a read.



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