25 November 2013

Americans Don't Like Foreign Aid

A new survey shows that Americans know little about the US foreign aid budget and would support cutting it to save money.

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) is back with its annual survey on foreign aid. It again finds that people overestimate the amount of money spent each year.

More than three-fifths of people surveyed said the US spends too much money on foreign aid. When told that foreign aid only accounts for 1% of the federal budget, support swung in favor with two-thirds saying the US spends too little or the right amount on foreign aid.

Support is stronger for global health spending, but when it comes to cutting budget deficits, foreign aid is on the cutting room floor. Foreign aid one of the first things Americans want to see cut, even before government employee salaries, social programs or defense spending.

Talking about global health specifically appears to get more support from people surveyed, but there is not a significant increase in support as compared to foreign aid. The majority of people continue to say that the US cannot afford to spend more money on global health. It is a trend that is relatively constant dating back to March 2009.

Political leanings are also reflected in attitudes towards foreign aid and global health spending. Self-identified Republicans tend to think too much is spent on global health by the US and what is spent won’t lead to meaningful progress. Democrats are more favorable and Independents stake out a middle space. It further affirms that Democrats are more likely to be allies in the rallying cry for foreign aid.

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