USAID and Poverty: the U.S.’s Role


WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the 113th Congress and President Obama continue to struggle to compromise over major issues, the U.S. Agency for International Development, under the direction of the Executive Office, has submitted the Development and Humanitarian Assistance budget for the fiscal year 2014. For the explicit purpose of “addressing complex threats to our national security, promote human progress, and prevent and respond to crises from conflict and disasters,” President Obama is requesting of Congress $20.4 billion for foreign assistance.

To put perspective on the amount the U.S. devotes to foreign assistance, $20.4 billion is approximately .14% of the projected GDP for Fiscal year 2014 (a .05% decline from 2010). Moreover, the estimated cost of “Obamacare,” is about $13.8 billion a year.

With an ever-growing threat of international terrorism, spread of disease, and environmental destruction, the U.S. government recognizes that foreign aid can be a way to protect national security. It is for this reason that the U.S government has continuously funded USAID since its inception in 1961.

In his farewell speech in 1989, Ronald Reagan spoke of the Shining City on the Hill: a city dedicated to peace, prosperity, and principals.  In order to maintain the ethos of the City upon the Hill, Barack Obama announced in his most recent State of the Union Address that he intends to put the U.S. on track to end poverty in the coming two decades. Through battling the systemic effects of poverty, it is the administrations hope that through battling poverty, USAID will precipitate further peace and prosperity and once again solidify the U.S. government as the Shining City upon the Hill.

– Thomas van der List 

Sources: USAID, Intellectual Takeout, Huffington Post, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Photo: Ahram Online


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