Foreign Aid as a percent of US budget

How much does the US spend on foreign aid?  Before you read on, answer the question for yourself.  Really, give it a shot.  Think of a percentage of the US budget.  The rest of this post will wait.  No problem.

While you’re coming up with your guess, I’ll give you some data on other people’s guesses.  In a December poll performed by the University of Maryland, the average answer among Americans was 25%.  In the minds of Americans, that places foreign aid above Medicare and social security in terms of dollar cost.

The real answer is less than 1%.  Yep, less than 1% of the US budget goes to foreign aid, including the State Department and USAID.  In dollar value that’s still more than any other country.  As a percentage, it’s less than places like Sweden.

Here’s the pie chart of the US budget if you’re curious.  Remember, to balance the budget, you need to take about 35 of those percents out of the chart.  It’s a fun game to play if you don’t touch programs like Medicare/Medicaid, social security, welfare or defense.  In fact, you have to eliminate EVERY program besides those to become balanced.  That includes not just foreign aid, but Education, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Justice, NASA, Treasury, Transportation, Interior, Labor, EPA, NSF, and the costs of the three branches of government.

If you dip into Medicare, you can probably save the post office and the President’s Physical Fitness award.


One Response to “Foreign Aid as a percent of US budget”

  1. Todd Boyle Says:

    The chart, unfortunately, is unusable. It’s virtually impossible to connect the color key with the chart.

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