A Wise Investment for the American Taxpayer

April 15, 2015 By David Stein

The International Affairs Budget is a small investment paying tremendous returns for our economy, security, and our humanitarian values. Yet, polls consistently show that most Americans believe the federal government spends close to 30 percent of its budget on International Affairs programs.

The true number? A little more than one percent.

With Tax Day upon us, we looked into what this small percentage means for an average American family. The results? Just nine bucks per month. That is less than the cost of a movie ticket, and about the same price as three cups of coffee a month.

Yet, this small investment goes a long way. It helps promote America’s economic interests by creating a stable environment for U.S. foreign investment, leading to expanded trade and exports, and American jobs.

This tiny one percent also provides security assistance to our allies in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and everywhere in between, which helps keep America safe.

But that’s not all.

It also supports all of our diplomats and development experts who are working to end extreme poverty, save lives from preventable diseases, respond to humanitarian disasters, and demonstrate the strength of American values.

Here’s more proof:

  • Saving Nearly 8 Million Lives from AIDS: Our International Affairs programs are keeping 7.7 million HIV-positive men, women, and children alive through life-saving antiretroviral treatment provided by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
  • Feeding 12.5 Million Hungry Children: This investment helped keep 12.5 million hungry children from starving last year through nutrition interventions. It also helped nearly 7 million farmers from all over the world use new technologies and management practices to produce higher yields of more nutritious crops through USAID’s Feed the Future Initiative.
  • Responding to Global Pandemics: Following the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, taxpayer investments helped fight the pandemic at its source by building treatment units, supporting safe burial teams, and setting up community care centers to treat and isolate cases before they spread.
  • Saving Millions of Children from Preventable Diseases: This year, thanks in part to these investments, six million more children will live to see their fifth birthday than just 25 years ago.

The International Affairs Budget is one of the smallest parts of the federal budget, but it does a huge amount of good around the world. It fights diseases, feeds the hungry, and is an integral part of who we are as Americans. It does all of this – while also promoting our economic and security interests – for the price of three cups of coffee a month. To me, that is an investment worth making.