Friday, October 3, 2008

Why is foreign aid always the first thing to go?

I was disappointed to hear Joe Biden last night say that the only government spending program they would be willing to "slow down" because of the financial crisis is foreign assistance. Yes, at least he answered the question (vs. Palin), but why foreign assistance?

I know, it's election season and we're in the midst of a financial crisis, so Americans want money spent on Americans. But honestly, foreign aid gives us a tremendous bang for our buck, in both moral and security terms -- more than almost any other program.

But we don't think of foreign aid in those terms. We think we're being "generous" in helping "those other people" with aid, not that foreign assistance serves our self-interests and adheres to our best values. So public support for aid is extremely wide but very thin. Everyone wants to help people in poverty, but few are committed enough to hold our leaders accountable to these promises.

That's why I think the ONE campaign is such an important movement.

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