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U.S. Foreign Aid Is ‘Good Value’

“Unfortunately, most Americans don’t realize what a good value our foreign assistance efforts are,” and “[m]ost would be surprised to learn that foreign aid amounts to only about one percent of the federal budget,” Carolyn Woo, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, writes in a Baltimore Sun opinion piece. She provides examples of U.S. foreign aid successes related to Super Bowl statistics, such as “for the cost of one of those entertaining, 30-second Super Bowl ads, we buy mosquito nets for 800,000 children at risk of malaria.” She continues, “These facts … put into perspective just how little it takes to make a big difference.”

“The truth is, working to alleviate poverty, illiteracy and crippling illness is an essential building block for stable families and societies — and the more stable societies are, the less likely they are to succumb to extremism and terrorism,” Woo writes, adding, “From an economic perspective, … [t]he fastest-growing markets are in the developing world, where half of our exports already go.” She continues, “As our leaders in Washington work to resolve the fiscal questions before us, I encourage them to consider how effective and efficient our diplomatic and development programs are. For a tiny fraction of our budget, our international affairs programs strengthen our security and economy, and demonstrate America’s values” (1/30).