Grenade or Aid – An Infographic

April 25, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

This weekend, Good magazine released a new infographic, visually depicting how much Americans think we spend on International Affairs programs each year. Titled “Grenade or Aid: U.S. Military Spending vs. Foreign Aid” this graphic representation paints a clear picture of where our budget dollars go.

This new graphic visually depicts how spending on foreign assistance, which includes disaster relief, long term poverty reduction, hunger prevention and human rights programs, clocks in at just 0.6% of the federal budget.  Good magazine’s artists use the image of a spotlight to highlight the dramatic misconceptions most Americans have about foreign aid spending. They cite a Gallup poll where in response to the question “what percent of the federal budget goes to foreign aid” the median response was a vastly inflated 25%, and in response to the question “what percent of the federal budget should go to foreign aid,” the median response was 10% — still ten times the actual amount.

The International Affairs Budget, which includes foreign assistance as well as U.S. diplomatic operations overseas, accounts for just over 1 percent of the entire federal budget.   Along with defense, homeland security, and veterans programs, the International Affairs Budget is a part of U.S. national security spending.  To meet the global challenges we face around the world, today, we cannot afford to cut back on what is already a good return on investment for the American people.