As the American economy continues to struggle through a mortgage crisis, credit crisis and job losses, part of the immense worldwide phenomenon, it would be wise for our elected representatives to consider reducing the amount of taxpayer money they spend annually. One area where substantial cuts could be made is in foreign aid. The United States spends more money on foreign aid than any other nation in the world. Some of this is beneficial in both a humanitarian and a strategic sense. Some, however, should be eliminated.
President George W. Bush's Fiscal Year 2009 Foreign Operations Budget for the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other foreign affairs agencies totals $26.1 billion. The requested amount is an 8.9% increase over the total Fiscal Year 2008 (October 1, 2007-September 30, 2008) amount enacted to date, including emergency funding. In addition, the United States contributes well over $3 billion to the United Nations, an organization which in turn welcomes our enemies to speak against us. The U.S. State Department notes that the United States is a generous supporter - in many cases the largest supporter-of key U.N. programs. In 2004, the U.S. contributed 48% of the budget of the World Food Program to help feed 104 million people in 81 countries; 17% of the budget of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to feed, vaccinate, educate and protect children in 157 countries; and 31% of the budget of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to safeguard the rights and well being of 19.2 million refugees in 116 countries. According to USAID, such large amounts of money are needed to promote "responsible sovereignty, not permanent dependency" among recipient nations.
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