Opinion
Global poverty needs more attention from U.S.
Old Gold & Black
By
Guest Columnist
Thursday, September 7, 2017

The U.S. is not currently doing enough to assist the world’s poor.

In fact, the U.S. spends less than one percent of its federal budget on foreign aid. The U.S. ranks among the lowest of developed nations in contributing to foreign aid. The U.S. prioritizes military programs in its budget — the government spent $936.1 billion on the 2016 Defense Budget and the Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter Program combined. It would only take $265 billion per year to eliminate global poverty by 2030. These facts illustrate the priorities of the U.S. government.

The Borgen Project is an innovative, national campaign that is working to make global poverty a focus of U.S. foreign policy. The Borgen Project operates by contacting members of Congress in order to get them to support foreign aid funding. The Borgen Project focuses on advocacy and influencing members of Congress to fund poverty-reduction programs. The Borgen Project is a non-profit that is fully funded by donations.

People commonly ask “why should we address poverty abroad when we have it here?”

We can do both. There are more people living off of $1 a day in other areas of the world than there are here. For the same amount of money, more people will be helped in other nations. While there are certainly poor people in the U.S. it does not compare to the poverty that people in other nations face. Addressing global poverty creates jobs as the poor transition out of poverty and become consumers. Eventually, the poor will become middle to upper class consumers. Providing foreign aid will allow the U.S. to create strong trading partnerships with other nations, which will bring prosperity to the U.S. Helping developing nations will also allow the U.S. to spend less on defense. Some of the world’s poorest countries are also the most crime-ridden. If we provide aid to these countries, we can lift them out of poverty and we will not need to use bullets.

Contrary to popular belief, aid does not hurt Africa. Foreign assistance helps poor citizens transition out of poverty. Strategies such as giving small loans to women so that they can earn money selling bread will allow them to create their own profit and no longer rely on assistance.

It is my belief that many people do not donate to organizations such as The Borgen Project because they do not think that their small contribution is helping. From 1990 to 2015, the number of people living in extreme poverty has diminished from 1.9 billion to 836 million. We are making strides to eliminate poverty, but are still nowhere near the finish line. With your support, The Borgen Project will be able to eliminate global poverty.