The case against cutting foreign aid

There’s much misinformation around about foreign aid. When a 2010 survey by World Public Opinion asked Americans how much of the federal budget they think goes to aid, the median estimate was 25%. In fact, poverty-focused aid makes up just 0.5% of the federal budget, while the entire foreign-affairs budget, including the operation of embassies and the salaries of diplomats, is less than 1.5%. …

Many Americans also perceive our foreign-assistance programs to be ineffective and wasteful. I disagree. Before becoming president of World Vision in 1998, I was the CEO of Lenox, a manufacturer of fine tableware. While I knew plenty about selling china to newlyweds, I knew little to nothing about humanitarian aid. But when I flew to Uganda and met orphaned children who lived alone and without any adults—often depending on American generosity to survive—my heart was changed forever. …

Americans should understand that foreign aid strengthens democracy. A 2006 report out of Vanderbilt University and the University of Pittsburgh found a direct connection between U.S. aid and increased democratization and good governance, as measured by the Freedom House index. Evangelicals generally support promoting democracy abroad not only because they support the values on which our country was founded, but also because they are strong advocates for the freedom of religion that accompanies democratic values.