US foreign aid

What percentage of US federal budget goes to foreign aid?

<1%
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1-5%
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5-10%
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10-20%
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20-30%
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>30%
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Holt

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By this I mean how much does the US government give in foreign aid compared to the their total spending?
Please answer the poll before reading the rest of this post. Please be honest about what you think the answer is right now. Don't go and research it somewhere just yet.

Done?
Well, according to this book I read, a survey by the PIPA in the US found that the median estimate from the sample was 20%. Sounds decent?

But what was the real figure? Less than 1%. Only one person in 20 gave an estimate of 1% or less. Even amongst the post graduates, the median estimate was 8%.
When asked what an appropriate percentage would be, the median was 10%.
Not knowing the real figures, 40% of the sample said that they wanted US foreign aid cut.

Now, this survey was taken in 2000 so by now many things may have changed. But I couldn't find any recent survey so I thought I'd do a little one myself. I just wanted to see whether these misconceptions still hold true even today, both inside and outside the US, with a sample of bright, intelligent people ;)

Now, a little data. First please note: my data is rather outdated. I believe from 2003. If eveything miraculously changed since the time of this data collection, please tell me.
Also note: This data is specific to the US, but that doesn't mean the exact same thing isn't happening in the UK, Australia etc etc.

The US government gives around $14 billion in development aid each year, only a quarter of which actually goes to "low-income" countries.
In 2003, Bush proposed a military budget of $379 billion, an increase of $48 billion on the previous year, an increase more than four times the amount they give in government aid.
Annual domestic US spending on alcohol was $34 billion, on tobacco $32 billion.
US non-government foreign aid amounts to $4 billion.

What is going on? With all the big talk of elminating poverty by 2015 and the UN set target of sending at least 0.7% of GNP as development aid to the developing countries. A target which only 5 of the 22 developed countries managed to meet or even come close to meeting - Denmark, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Luxembourg. Every other developed country falls pitifully short of this target.

What do we, many of us being citizens of developed countries, think about this?
I'm not trying to guilt people into donating money. I myself am far from a generous donator. I just wanted to bring this to attention of everyone here.
Reflect and post your thoughts please :)

PS this isn't a direct poke at the US. I just only have info on the US because they were the most pitiful of the developed donators :P

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I don't think it could be that hard to find the other figures... I have an idea of what is this percentage cause... well that's one of the thing used to put things in another measure... and usually in the news articles I read there are also what other countries do.

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  • Dec 13, 2005
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So, how much did these other countries give? Do I have to pay more tax for someone I don't even know? But anywho here is something interesting for you. Why did you pick the US of all of the countries here?-

"Official Development Assistance (ODA) from 2001 to 2004 oda in U.S. Dollars (Millions) ODA as GNP Percentage
Country 2001 2002 2003 2004 20(...) OECD Web site

Note: The U.N. ODA agreed target is 0.7 percent of GNP. Most nations do not meet that target.
1. Australia 852 962 1,237 1,465 0.25 0.25 0.(...) Austria 457 475 503 691 0.25 0.23 0.2 0.24
3. Belgium 866 1,061 1,887 1,452 0.37 0.42 0.(...) Canada 1,572 2,013 2,209 2,537 0.23 0.28 0(...) Denmark 1,599 1,632 1,747 2,025 1.01 0.96 (...) Finland 389 466 556 655 0.33 0.35 0.34 0.35
7. France 4,293 5,182 7,337 8,475 0.34 0.36 0(...) Germany 4,879 5,359 6,694 7,497 0.27 0.27 (...) Greece 194 295 356 464 0.19 0.22 0.21 0.23
10. Ireland 285 397 510 586 0.33 0.41 0.41 0.3(...) Italy 1,493 2,313 2,393 2,484 0.14 0.2 0.1(...) Japan 9,678 9,220 8,911 8,859 0.23 0.23 0.(...) Luxembourg 142 143 189 241 0.8 0.78 0.8 0.(...) Netherlands 3,155 3,377 4,059 4,235 0.82 0(...) New Zealand 111 124 169 210 0.25 0.23 0.23 0.23
16. Norway 1,346 1,746 2,043 2,200 0.83 0.91 0(...) Portugal 267 282 298 1,028 0.25 0.24 0.21 (...) Spain 1,748 1,608 2,030 2,547 0.3 0.25 0.2(...) Sweden 1,576 1,754 2,100 2,704 0.76 0.74 0(...) Switzerland 908 933 1,297 1,379 0.34 0.32 (...) United Kingdom 4,659 4,749 6,166 7,836 0.32 0.3 0.(...) United States 10,884 12,900 15,791 18,999 0.11 0.1(...) Shaw
globalissues.org

It might be kind of hard to read the columns, but if you track down to the US, you will see that its dontation is far more charitable than any other countries. By far.
Here is something else for you-

"Side note on private contributions

As an aside, it should be emphasized that the above figures are comparing government spending. Such spending has been agreed at international level and is spread over a number of priorities.

Individual/private donations may be targeted in many ways. However, even though the charts above do show US aid to be poor (in percentage terms) compared to the rest, the generosity of the American people is far more impressive than their government. Private aid/donation has been through charity of individual people and organizations though this of course can be weighted to certain interests and areas. Nonetheless, it is interesting to note for example, per latest estimates, Americans privately give at least $34 billion overseas — more than twice the US official foreign aid of $15 billion at that time:

* International giving by US foundations: $1.5 billion per year
* Charitable giving by US businesses: $2.8 billion annually
* American NGOs: $6.6 billion in grants, goods and volunteers.
* Religious overseas ministries: $3.4 billion, including health care, literacy training, relief and development.
* US colleges scholarships to foreign students: $1.3 billion
* Personal remittances from the US to developing countries: $18 billion in 2000
* Source: Dr. Carol Adelman, Aid and Comfort, Tech Central Station, 21 August 2002."

-Anup Shaw
globalissues.org

So, this brings our grand total from 18.999 billion dollars to 52.999 billion dollars. Hmm let me add this up. The total contributions for ALL of those countries excluding the United states was, as of 2004, 59.57 billion dollars. Thats is only 6.571 billion dollars more than what the American people gave alone, privately and federally. Kind of sad when a country can almost donate as much money as 21 other countries combined and still get guff over it, don't you think?

Well, if you ask me, I don't see the big problem. XP

  • Dec 13, 2005

Holt

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Why did I pick the US of all the countries? Because I was too lazy to look up anything else. Simple. It's not a dig at the US you know.

But since you go on the subject, I don't see how it's alright to give "charity" with so many strings attached. ie. religious? political?
Why don't you go look at how much of that foreign aid goes to countries who really don't need it but are politically supported by the US?
As a proportion of US GNP, the US gives about 0.1% from what I read, including non government aid. The worst of all the developed countries and far, far from the UN target of 0.7%.

And you'd be alright paying extra tax for weapons and such but not for helping poor countries?

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JLSL

* Religious overseas ministries: $3.4 billion, including health care, literacy training, relief and development.

how much of that went to christian orgs. *cough strings attached *cough

ngo's dont count up to the 0.7% coz they arent Government org's they dont illustrate a government want to send aid.

also if ur patriotic a$$ wants to show off the FACT that $$$-wise america is the richest country then go ahead...thast why it is counted as % of GDP. otherwise ull expect Samalia to pay the same as the usa!

the fact is that those other countrie have ngo's and other foriegn aid that isnt counted. why is the USA's uncounted aid so special?

be pessimistic so that youll never be disapointed and will live a happy life.

  • Dec 13, 2005

LigerZSchnider

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Quote by HoltWhy did I pick the US of all the countries? Because I was too lazy to look up anything else. Simple. It's not a dig at the US you know.

But since you go on the subject, I don't see how it's alright to give "charity" with so many strings attached. ie. religious? political?
Why don't you go look at how much of that foreign aid goes to countries who really don't need it but are politically supported by the US?
As a proportion of US GNP, the US gives about 0.1% from what I read, including non government aid. The worst of all the developed countries and far, far from the UN target of 0.7%.

And you'd be alright paying extra tax for weapons and such but not for helping poor countries?

Well why not pick the US? Apparently the US has been the model of everything else in the world, so let dig on!

Here is my best guess at this; the US government give most of its FEDERAL AID to countries that are supported by US interests. Ok......so what? I rather give to someone who gonna help me out later when I need it rather than give to someone who will use it against me. That isn't really the point though, however you fail to see the contributions from the US through PRIVATE DONATIONS AND CONTRIBUTIONS!

I haven't researched that, but I welcome you to it. When it came to natrual disasters and global crisis, the US private sectors gave out billions semi-annually through charity organizations worldwide. And not to be lying to you, I think that the US needs to address and solve it own problems when it comes to poverty, unemployment, and education. Not to fork out money to the world who may use it against us. Call me selfish.....I'm sorry that I am, but we need to clean our own house before we try to clean others. We don't pay extra tax for weapons, it is really for the people who work within the government. The civilian sector gets bonuses and raises, so why not the people who work for the government? Since I am in the military, I can tell you first hand how much we get for "weapons", and let me put it this way:

Every unit in a division is allocated a yearly budget. Each unit use that budget to procure ammuniton, parts, and supplies. Trust me, it isn't as much as you might think! If a Bradley Fighting Vehicle breakes down and loses an engine, it cost that unit roughly $200,000 regardless if the unit is in combat or not! If we can repair it we will, we just don't chuck the engine and get a brand new one, we either has to strip it off another vehicle that has more problems or find a way to fix the one we have. Now imagine if one burns to the ground......I know that it rough on those in charge to budget these funds and try to maintain, house and feed an entire unit of men and women.

It cost us money to shoot our rifles.
It cost us money to drive and shoot a tank.
It cost us money to fire a missle (and we better hit the target too).
It cost us money to fly a fighter jet or a helicopter.
It cost us money to eat.
And most of all.....
It cost us money just to PAY us!

Who you need to look at is the corporations who develop test, and modify these weapon systems. There is a saying (and its true) about the US military equipment:

"We are using equipment built by the lowest bidder."

Were in the world can you find a plain, $400 toliet seat? On a US aircraft carrier. A $40 dollar hammer? Must have that new laser sight to accurately hit the nail on the head......nope they aren't, and you can find the same hammer at Lowes or WalMart for $15.00......

Like I said before, I know it sucks but at least we are giving. And there are people living in the US who doesn't get half of what others are getting world wide. I guess you guys would really be mad if we just took care of ourselves.

"In the absence of orders, find something and kill it" - Erwin Rommel

  • Dec 13, 2005
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I am sorry that there was a misunderstanding. I meant in no way for the question to be a personal attack, only a rhetorical question, seeing as how 17 of 21 developed nations failed to meet their quotas. As for the government missapropriation of the funds, I would think that the practice is the same in most of the other countries as well, making it a moot point to single out only the US for this kind of behavior. But the fact still remains that the American people still give 34 billion dollars annually out of their own pockets that goes strait to the people that need it by circumventing the governments beauracratic red tape. The fact is that strings aren't attached to those donations, it is just the orginizations that collect the money. Churches recieve donations, so do schools and businesses, and they work with other similar orginizations in the recieving counties. My question is, where does your country stand on that list?
An interesting point I just found out is that the missapropriation of money goes beyond the US government. For example, why is China, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, is the second highest recipient of foreign aid. That goes to show you, that even beyond the US, people that don't need it, get the money anyway.

As for Pepeo...go ahead, count up their aid, bet is still isn't close. What's your problem anyway? Every thread that has the United States in it, you always take the side directly oppose to the US, whether it is right or wrong. Now you get all ticked off just because the US does give a whole lot more than other countries. Where does your country stand? I bet it isn't even close to America on its charity.

Though I did see something sad when I looked up and was comparing Gross National Products, to what they gave, here is what I found:

GNP Top 10 (2004) (currency exchange rate) Country GNP ($ mill)
1 United States $12,150,93
2 Japan $4,749,910
3 Germany $2,488,974
4 United Kingdom $2,016,393
5 France $1,858,731
6 China $1,676,846
7 Italy $1,503,562
8 Canada $905,629
9 Spain $875,817
10 Mexico $703,080
Source: World Bank [2]

That is a lot of money of dollars. I think all of these countries could spare a little more money then a few billion each. Mexico makes 703.080 billion dollars a year, and they are number 10! If you are from a country on this list, start forking over some money!

  • Dec 14, 2005

LigerZSchnider

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The bashing of America will never stop.......................

............until they become top banana!

"In the absence of orders, find something and kill it" - Erwin Rommel

  • Dec 14, 2005

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Anti-american grudges aside, the issue I was trying to put forward here is the lack of real action and the abundance of empty promises made by the developed countries today. NOT the selfishness of the american government.
Only the 5 countries I mentioned before have really been pulling there weight of responsibility for the rest of the world while the rest of us waste money on alcohol, tobacco etc. Note the incredible spending figures mentioned above. Is alcohol more important than someone else's life?

So why should you and I care about other people in different countries anyway? What exactly are the limits of national borders? Anyone just outside the line isn't worth our care? That's what everyone used to think.
But really think about it.
The world is becoming more and more integrated into one international body. National sovereignty is being eaten away slowly by the international organisations including the WTO and the UN.
Why do we still cling to our national borders pushing ourselves into isolation? Why are nations (like the US) so afraid of commiting to world wide efforts to slow and perhaps eventually reverse environmental destruction?
We all live on the same planet so unless we start taking collective responsibilty, the economy will not be the only thing to die.

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If the world was perfect then there would be no need for countries or any other separations of different people. The world isn't fair. Just because I make more money than the guy down the street, doesn't mean I am all to happy about paying more taxes then he does. Why, for example, is China the 6th wealthiest nation in the world, and yet still recieves more financial aid then all but one other country? And yet it doesn't even have an amount that it pays into that fund? I don't give my money away because I need it myself. Just because a wealthier nation makes more money than others, doesn't mean necessarily that it is easier or cheaper to live in. For example-I could buy a house, a car, and funishings in a place like Thailand with the money I have right now. But here, I may get a down payment on a good used car, or a small down payment on a loan for a cheap house. The average house price where I live is $150,000 to $250,000. I couldn't even begin to afford anything in that range. Just a mobile home cost between $60,000 and $100,000, not counting land. A quarter acre plot for a house cost around $30,000 here on average. If I make $30,000 to $50,000 dollars a year, the payments for the house, the land, taxes, utilities, a car, insurance, food, ect, take up enough money that I really don't feel like giving any of what is left to anyone else. That doesn't even take into account if I have a wife and children. Americans contrary to common belief, work hard for what they have. Here is something for you-

"If more vacation time is what you crave, for example, go to Italy, where the norm is an astounding 42 days a year. This is unheard of in America. The French have it pretty good as well, with a solid 37. Germany, an apparent gold standard of economic efficiency, is right behind with 35. The British have 28 days at their disposal, which means that even one of the most stringent European nations in terms of time off provides twice as much as the average American company.

Another important consideration in this comparison is the fact that during certain times of the year, corporate Europe as a whole takes a vacation. Try doing business with a European company in August or even December and early January, for example. We are dealing with a totally different mentality on the other side of the pond.

And who's to say which one is better? Yes, from a macro point of view it is beneficial to live in the one country that can lay claim to superpower status. It helps to have a higher standard of living per capita than the rest of the world. But what kind of life is mandatory overtime, 50+-hour weeks and less than two weeks vacation a year? By the time you reach retirement, do you really reap what you have sown? Do you even have the strength or will to?"

-Article Suggested By:Francis Bertrand, Houston, TX

What I am trying to say is, Americans, for the most part, want to keep what they earn. I know how it feels to work tremendous hours with mandatory overtime, only to get 2 weeks off per year. What ever time or money is left after bills and expenses, I tend to want to keep to myself and my family.

  • Dec 14, 2005
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And if we talked about debt ? Me overjoyful to learn that just paying the interests of the debts is the second sector my country pays the most (after education).

I think I like better the european mentality than the american one... Why working so much and enjoy time when you are old when you can have mix of the two sooner (even if it means having less money) ? The things we enjoy the most aren't the most expensive.

About China receiving some money... well business is business... and considering how many people there are and what are the quality of life of most of them... how many hours some of them work...

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  • Dec 15, 2005
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My personal opinion: Screw developing countries. The transfer of money from the rich to the poor is way to socalist for me. I have to state that I am a capitalist, in every sence of the word. I'm ashamed of my country for being so socalist in fact, sadily it's still probably the best country to live in.

I have no problem with people being generous and donating money to countries in need. Although I won't because I barley make enough money to get by myself. But as for my government giving away money, I find it offensive.

On the topic of econimics, One thing I would like to see is complete and absolute free trade. Now that would help developing countries without having to make donations to them.

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The government can do better with foreign aid. I'm not saying to take away our money more but to spend it wisely. I like the idea of spending money the help other people. They should establish a better foundation for these countries so they can stand on there own. Aid is distrubuted to just a random group most times. They bring in supplies and just leave. Those group would probably be just as well even if the supplies never came because they are still suffering.

The U.S. is losing millions of dollars everyday. The U.S. government tries to supply job to the market industry. They support unions also to keep these jobs. For example, a high school I know spent about $15 million on about a new paint job, fixing some window, replacing ceiling tiles, and taking out a heating system for 11 new one that was suppose to be "cost efficient". This was about three years ago and they say they would be done in a couple of months. A Home Depot on the otherhand recently started construction and is nearly completed by a private organization. They would a hire a private organization but they can only hire between certain restrictions according to union rules. Also a city pays "under the table" 80% of it's worker because they can't afford the cost of 30 per hour and all the benefits of a union to everyone. The city officials says they will take care of it but actually hope that it will go away and this is actually in one of the U.S. most prosperous cities.These are some ways the government throws away our money. If the government spent money more wisely we can get more money.

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  • Dec 16, 2005

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Quote by JLSLWhy, for example, is China the 6th wealthiest nation in the world, and yet still recieves more financial aid then all but one other country?


Is this actually true in terms of GNP per capita? Or are you just taking the total GNP because that would be complete utter crap, what with it having one of the largest populations in the world.

If it is per capita you're talking about, then I fully agree. It shows the massive wealth inequality in China which the rich in China should be doing something to compensate for. China is also another one who spends too much on "defense" in my opinion.

Nevertheless, you can't say China shouldn't get any aid since there are millions of very poor people living away from the cities struggling to survive. Having said that, I do think the really poverty stricken countries should be getting more and China is not using the aid for it's full purpose.

But that's my point isn't it? Rich countries like the US give pathetically little, and when they do, it goes to countries which can benefit them politically or militarilly rather than just for poverty.

Quote by Chip256 My personal opinion: Screw developing countries. The transfer of money from the rich to the poor is way to socalist for me. I have to state that I am a capitalist, in every sence of the word. I'm ashamed of my country for being so socalist in fact, sadily it's still probably the best country to live in.

I have no problem with people being generous and donating money to countries in need. Although I won't because I barley make enough money to get by myself. But as for my government giving away money, I find it offensive.

On the topic of econimics, One thing I would like to see is complete and absolute free trade. Now that would help developing countries without having to make donations to them.

Ah capitalist to the core eh? ;) I've got no problem with that.
The point of this thread wasn't to make people donate more, just to think about what's going on right now.
However, complete and absolute free trade will never, ever happen. Like pure communism, it's a dream that will never be lived.
I agree that perhaps complete free market international economy would help the poor countries, but as it stands, poor countries joining the world economy too quickly will just as likely destroy them. As the rich countries heavily subsidise internal industries which provide for things that the poor countries can provide cheaper, whilst selling necessary products like medicine to the poor countries for far too high prices. This is what caused many poor countries to fight for their right to produce patented drugs for themselves because it is too expensive to import them.

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