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AID: US assistance abroad pays off for us here

Letter by Donna M. Schindler Munro, Bremerton on Jan. 16, 2013 at 4:33 pm | No Comments »
January 16, 2013 4:33 pm

With the U.S. government scrambling to pay its bills, we desperately need to make responsible decisions. Many people actually believe that our foreign aid is 20 percent or more of our federal budget. In fact it is actually less than .5 percent. Less than one half of one percent of our federal budget goes to international development assistance! In 1965 it was 2.75 percent.

Microfinance; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria; and the Global Partnership for Education have empowered millions of women and their families to work their way out of extreme poverty through tiny loans, enabled AIDS orphans and girls to attend school, and reduced malaria in some areas up to 70 percent.

These already underfunded programs have brought more stability to countries than our bloated military ever could have. And now our budget sequestration is threatening to undo their successes.
Half of our exports are purchased by developing countries. The World Bank has estimated that TB has caused the gross domestic product in some countries to fall as much as 7 percent. When their economies are stronger, so are we.

Research made public in 2011 has proved conclusively that when a person infected with HIV receives treatment early enough, the risk of HIV transmission is reduced 96 percent! Treatment is prevention. We are at the tipping point of seeing the end of AIDS.

Funding for these foreign and domestic programs is an infinitesimal part of our budget yet has established positive, far-reaching results. We can do better!

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