Search Our Site

Custom Search

April 19, 2010

Government Waste Gone Global: International Aid Spending Doubles in Two Years

As we kickoff our series on spending excesses in the federal government, we should be reminded about what President Obama is saying about our federal budget woes.
"Just as a family has to make hard choices about where to spend and where to save, so do we, as a government.  You know, there are times where you can afford to redecorate your house and there are times where you need to focus on rebuilding its  foundation. Today, we have to focus on foundations."
-President Obama, February 2009 (source)

The international segment of the federal budget consists of humanitarian, security, conduct, information, and financing programs.  The financing programs usually reduced the spending as it represented interest collected on foreign loans.  In 2011, the financing segment will run a deficit for the first time in at least a decade, thus increasing the international affairs budget by about $500 million, but that does not explain the near-doubling of the budget from $29 billion in 2008 to $50 billion in 2010.  International spending is expected to continue to increase steadily to $65 billion by 2014.
Humanitarian aid is the biggest component to increase in this budget.  It represented $14 billion in 2008, $24 billion this year, and will run a $33 billion tab in 2014.  Was the United States really doing poorly in the area of international aid before President Obama took office?  Even if it had, does it justify being on the positive end of tough decisions.  Finally, what sacrifices were made in the budget to account for this $30 billion annual increase, or $175 billion over the next five years?
It’s difficult to determine where this money is going to be spent.  Therefore, I believe it is safe to assume that this money will be used to “beef up” existing initiatives.  It is also important to note that any direct aid given by the U.S. likely has to go through the governments of these existing nations.  As you will see from today’s video, this hurts the countries we are trying to help.  All the money in the world cannot help many of these developing nations if they do not have a democratic government and an open economy.
As for your expense share of the international affairs section of the President’s budget, I took the average number of hours worked (34) and multiplied that by average hourly earnings ($22.47) to get average weekly earnings.  Annualized, this equals $39,727 in income before any income taxes.  This “average American” pays 25% of their income in federal income taxes, according to’s tax bracket.  This will be used to calculate the average taxpayers share of government expenses.
For international aid, the average American’s share is $136 per year.  Take the 2014 figure into account and the average citizen will be paying $176 per year by then.  Under this President, the average American’s share has increased by about $60 per year (so far).  While this may not seem excessive, as we move across the spectrum of spending throughout this series, we will all see that each of these initiatives adds up.
Total Increase in Spending: $21 billion per year, $ 168 billion over 5 years
Total Exposed in Budget BS series: Same
Average American share increase: $60 per year, $340 over the next 5 years
Avg American Increase Exposed So Far: Same

Popular This Month